Your View: Shoe Boxes of Love

IN South Australia there is a movement called Shoe Boxes of Love. Generous people fill a shoebox with clothing and other articles likely to delight a child. This is then sent to an overseas country where there is need. I have seen a video showing the joy little children experience when receiving such a shoebox.

The cost of sending each box is $10, the cost of the box and contents would be about the same or more. That means the cost of a thousand such boxes would be $20,000.

There is a better way to be effective. Millions of the world’s disadvantaged people lack clean drinking water, teachers and school buildings and equipment, medical care, hospitals, basic sanitation, and training in skills and community organisation. There is another layer of misery when refugees must flee their homeland and often need food in emergencies. Sometimes parents lose children and family members are separated. Natural disasters mean there is more need for assistance.

Reliable and well-known organisations with years of experience and dedicated staff are working overseas. They give hope, training and there is gradual improvement. They must provide an audited balance sheet every year to the government so donations remain tax deductable. In New Guinea, our nearest country, a new case of leprosy is diagnosed every day. With multi-drug therapy this dreaded disease can be eradicated, as it almost has been in Australia. Only more funds for the hard-working leprosy organisation are needed. In Uganda, $500 Australian will pay a nurse in a clinic for a whole year.

To be effective we need outright giving in tens or hundreds or thousands of dollars to aid organisations. Why? Because our brothers and sisters are suffering, sorely.

Thelma Young, Ardrossan

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