We are fortunate that
many supporters kindly bring us clothes which we can
distribute to disadvantaged children. Some of the
clothes go to the children that Mango House supports
throughout the year but thousands of others are
distributed to local communities who are in need.
We know we can’t turn up in a slum to give out
clothes unless we have plenty available so that all
children will get something so we store clothes in
our loft until we have plenty available. Every
couple of months or so we’ll get them all out and
start sorting them out in our Dining Hall. We spend
a day or two sorting the clothes into girls and
boys, tops and bottoms and approximate ages. If we
haven’t given clothes out to the Mango House
children for a while we will let them know to come
to the House. Staff and volunteers match clothes to
children. The children rarely bother much what they
are given as long as it looks like it’s more or less
the right size.
Once this has been done we start to pack and label
baskets ready for the first foray to give out in the
local community. We have to be very organised to
ensure that when we arrive at our destination we can
quickly assess a child’s age and find suitable
clothing and avoid something of a scrum developing.
We load the van with sufficient clothes for an
entire slum/group. Ali knows where the slums in the
local area are and we will visit several over the
course of a week. Volunteers take turns to assist.
Sometimes we visit a slum or we will arrange to meet
families from a slum at a prearranged location. If
everything goes to plan after explaining who we are
and what we are doing and that there will be enough
for every child the children will line up and we can
quickly judge size and locate suitable clothing from
the baskets. On other occasions it’s a bit more of a
challenge as the parents of the children can’t wait
and get somewhat overeager to grab clothes for their
families. It’s not surprising this happens from time
to time - the people we are helping have very little
and the gift of some clothing for their children
means a great deal.
It can be an overwhelming experience for volunteers
who have never given out clothes before but no one
taking part could have the slightest doubt about
what the clothes mean to the families of the
children receiving them.