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Donating books/pens

Dubai, United Arab...
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Donating books/pens

I'll be traveling from India to Kenya in August for a 7 day vacation to various national parks, which will end in Mara.

I have been reading about how Donating books and pens to childern there makes them happy.

I was wondering where exactly I should donate? Should I give it to my tour guide there or when I visit a village in Mara, should I give them there? Or should I give it to camp staffs?

Nairobi, Kenya
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1. Re: Donating books/pens

It's natural to want to help these kids, but it's simply not recommended because whomever you give the books, and pens to will inevitably turn around and sell them. Furthermore, it spoils the kids they will then equate all foreign visitors as gift givers. This is not only true in Kenya, but throughout the third world; ironically, I first discovered this during a visit to India 30 years ago when a houseboat owner in Kashmir

complained that foreign tourists were spoiling the local children by giving them pens.

The only way to help the impoverished locals is to give to your guide, and staff for good service. You'll see many posts here about how much you should give. Anything will be appreciated, and encourages hard work and a determination to improve their living situation.

Edited: 15 July 2014, 11:36
Nairobi
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2. Re: Donating books/pens

Africanman, i partly agree and partly not, yes it spoils the children but they still need them, it is a tall order for most people in the rural areas to spare a shilling to buy a pen or book. Why not donate to a school where the headteacher will identify the needy cases and distibute accordingly, it will work better this way.

All the best

Glasgow, United...
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3. Re: Donating books/pens

I agree that I wouldn't just be handing out gifts to children. On previous visits it's scary to see the impact that our well-meant gifts can have - when we drove through places that have little tourism the children would just smile and wave at us, but when we drove through tourist routes the children would run up to the car with their hands out and beg for presents.

We need to be empowering these children and providing them with things they actually need, rather than merely teaching them to "beg" for goods they can sell. One way of doing this is by supporting a local school or orphanage. You could try packforapurpose.org/destinations/africa/kenya to see if any of the lodges or camps you are staying at are listed.

In addition, instead of packing pens etc in your luggage, why not buy them cheaply in Kenya when you arrive? That way you would also be helping the local community, supporting jobs etc.

Dubai, United Arab...
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4. Re: Donating books/pens

Thanks all of you for your inputs. I definitely will donate them. Will check out from where to buy and also the link which was shared.

Yes, tipping is different for the service we get, I wanted to get something for the kids specifically.

I'll also take the inputs from my tour operator about it. He is a trustworthy person.

Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: Donating books/pens

Another organisation to check out alongside the admirable Pack for a Purpose is stuff your rucksack: http://www.stuffyourrucksack.com/ Also ask your camp/lodge if they are involved in any community projects as they may well be able to guide you towards things that the community needs most.

Alexandra Matts- Travel Director- Extraordinary Africa

6. Re: Donating books/pens

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