Friday, 4 May 2007


This is the continuation after my previous blog - What can we do when visiting old folks' home?

Same as visiting
Home, there are two scenarios when visiting

1. You are going on your own or with a small group or
2. You are going on a group basis

Things to do and prepare when you are going on your own or with a small group:

1. Identify the home(s) that you intend to visit. Speak to the administrator or person in charge.
2. Firm up a date and time as most of the homes send children to church on Sunday morning and some may have prior engagement or pre-planned activities.
3. Check out the age groups and total number of children.
4. Decide on the items and amount of money to . (Try to contribute some cash to help if possible. Most homes need cash to pay for utility bills, medical bills etc.)
5. Buy essentials for the children (Please see LIST OF ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR ORPHANAGES below).
6. Learn to do some simple handicrafts. Animated balloon sculptures, flowers made of straws, little pillows or blankets sewed from unwanted cut pieces of cloths can be good ideas to give as individual gifts and it's cost effective. (I am sure you will be rewarded with grins in these children's faces stretching from North Pole to South Pole!)
7. Bring a hair dresser along if possible. I was told by a home administrator that they couldn't afford monthly hair cuts for everybody; As such, they only give hair cuts to the children whenever they need to attend certain 'official functions'. This has prompted me to learn simple hair cutting, any volunteer out there who can teach me?
8. If you have a family member celebrating birthday around the corner, do it in conjunction with this visit. Bring paper cups and plates, a cake, some snacks, some bottle drinks (or ask the home caretaker to mix a drum of syrup for you.) some simple finger foods, and don't forget, get the children to dance and perform their talents to your audiences. Most homes trained their children very well and these children will perform their talents whenever they get invited to functions organised by groups or individuals.
9. Share some I.T. knowledge with the older children, chat with them over internet issues. You may show them ways to solve their problems if both time and accessibility to computer are permitted.
10. Discuss school activities or homework with them. Most homes are facing shortage of tutors to guide the children in the academic field.
11. Encourage and praise them whenever they do well, be it mentally or physically. These are the words that they missed hearing from their parents!!

Things to do and prepare when you are going on a group basis:

When you are going on a group basis, you would not be able to offer your affection and attention so closely. However, there are many things that can be done on a group basis and still achieve the similar objective of bringing cheers and happiness to these children!

1. When going in a group, you have a bigger budget. So make full use of it!
2. Decide on home(s) with more children.
3. Check out the age group and their needs. Obtain a wish list from the home administrator.
4. Organise a donation campaign to collect items/cash from the group, colleagues, friends and family members. After gathering all the items, sort and organise them accordingly. Do ensure that all items to be donated are child proof to avoid bodily injuries/harm to the children. The above is certainly a worthwhile effort and it will ease off the cash requirements to purchase the same items and with the amount saved, you can now donate more cash to the home.
5. Assign responsibilities to the participants. Split into small working groups to handle food and beverages, games and entertainment, logistic, love and care (haircut and hygiene check) and photography.
6. Remember to bring kids along.
7. If you have a Doctor or Dentist friend, bring him/her along.
8. Hire or be a clown yourself?
9. Meet everyone at the home and conduct a friendly briefing before any activities. Invite the home administrator to give a briefing to everyone on the home.
10. Do an Icebreaking Game to start the day's activities.
11. Celebrate festival or birthday bash to those born in that month.
12. Prepare a power point or video presentation on educational clips.
13. Exchange address with the . Have the participants or their children to write a post card to them after returning home to tell them you enjoyed their companies (or do it yourself, regardless).
14. Be generous with your hugs and kisses.


Health and Hygiene
- Toiletries (shampoo / shower gel / soap)
- Lotion
- Tooth brush and tooth paste
- Antiseptic cream
- First aid kits

Food and Beverages
- Milo / tea / coffee powder / nestum cereal
- Children milk powder
- Condensed Milk
- Sugar
- Salt
- Barley
- Eggs
- Onion / garlic / potatoes
- Sardine / tuna / baked beans
- Jam / butter
- Cooking oil
- Ketchup
- Rice / meehoon / mee
- Anchovies
- Wheat flour
- Syrups / cordial

- Book wrappers / cellophane tape
- AA /AAA battery
- A4 size paper
- Plastic folder
- Computer disc
- Colour pencils
- Colouring books
- ABC books
- Numbering books
- Pencils / erasers / rulers / sharpeners
- Exercise notes
- Scientific calculator
- Geometry set
- School bag / uniforms / shoes

- Soap powder
- Washing machine liquid
- Dishwashing liquid
- Floor detergent
- Bleach
- Mosquito spray
- Rubbish bags
- Bed sheets / Pillow cases
- Blankets
- Towels

Note: The above listing is not exhaustive and you are encouraged to request a wish list from the respective Home Administrators for specific items required.

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