On 1st March I’ll be leaving for Ghana, to work in an orphanage with over 100 children aged 2-16 years. I’m asking YOU to help by donating an item of clothing for one of the children. Please choose something suitable for hot weather and add a gift card or note with a message and your name.
Alternatively you might donate a packet of pens, pencils or crayons for their school.
I will accept only one item from each person so please choose carefully. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details about where to drop off your gift. Donations accepted until 28 February.
Since I began telling people I’m going to Africa to work in an orphanage, lots of people have told me they’ve always dreamed of doing something like that. Like me, many people are aware of the huge numbers of people in the world who live in less fortunate circumstances and they feel a desire to help in some way.
But there are a number of obstacles to overcome between thinking it’s a nice idea and actually doing it. First, the timing has to be right. Responsibilities at home, such as children or parents, understandably come first.
Then there’s money. We can never quite afford all the things we think we need. Most of us will never reach the point where money is not an issue – and it’s considered irresponsible to stop earning before then.
Another consideration is what a tiny difference one person can make in a world that’s so fraught with problems. Not to mention the hardship of living without the physical comforts we’re used to.
For me, the ideas that underpin Happy Nation overcome all the objections. First, if I am responsible for my own growth and happiness, it’s more important to fulfil my dreams than to be successful according to other people’s rules. And growth comes from extending yourself, so I welcome the opportunity to escape from my comfort zone.
Second, as citizens of the world we all have a responsibility to one another. Too often we think individualistically; we don’t attempt to make a difference unless assured of a measurable outcome. I prefer to think of myself as part of, and connected to, the thousands of others who are doing similar things. And in the spirit of reciprocity and participation, I know I will gain as much or more from the children and workers in the orphanage as they will gain from me.