We value in-kind donations and they can be a great win-win gift, but they are not always practical.
Supporters often ask if they can donate items that could be useful or uplifting to a family fighting cancer in the developing world. The most common offers involve clothes, shoes, toys, medicines and artificial eyes. For practical reasons, we are unable to accept these gifts, and explain why below. Please check our wish list for items or skills we are currently need.
Clothes, Shoes, Toys etc.
Clothes and toys are among the many items we can sell on eBay to raise funds, but we do not send clothes or toys overseas, however good their condition. This is because storage at both ends, customs regulations, import duty, fumigation, shipping and communications make the process of exporting items very complicated, time-consuming and expensive.
It is much easier to buy these items in the countries where they are needed, with the money our supporters donate. This reduces the cost to us, helps stimulate local markets and economies, and we can be sure the goods we source are appropriate – both for the local environment and the local culture.
There are many local initiatives in developing countries where women make clothes and toys, and we try to support these businesses by buying local and distributing the products through our activities. This ensures women can learn new skills, earn an income and support their families, buy crops, send their children to school, and access the healthcare they need.
That’s why making a cash donation is one of the most effective ways to support our work.
The export and import of medicines is highly regulated. As with importing clothes and toys, the process of exporting medicines is complex, time-consuming and expensive, including sorting and assessing viability of the medicines, storage at both ends, customs regulations, import duty, shipping and communications.
Medicines offered for donation are often expensive and hard to source in Africa, meaning that random small donations are unlikely to be helpful. While we deeply appreciate these thoughtful offers from individuals, we are unable to accept medicines at this time for export and donation.
Instead, we help our hospital pharmacist partners work with established drug donation initiatives.
Generous survivors of retinoblastoma and parents of young children often ask if they can donate their artificial eye to a child in a developing country. While this is a beautiful gesture and did indeed help Rati receive her first eye in Canada, it is not a practical approach to helping many children.
Most children in the developing world have dark brown or black eyes, while most eyes offered for donation are blue, grey, green or light brown. Most eyes in developed countries have been custom-fit for the original wearer and will require adjustments to fit other children, yet this is not possible in most developing countries, including Kenya.
The process of matching donated eyes with recipient children would be very time-consuming and difficult, with few children receiving the eyes they need. Shipping, import and insurance fees will cost more than buying new eyes in bulk in the correct sizes for the children in need of them. Therefore, we focus on bulk-buying new eyes to ensure the specific needs of young patients in Kenya are met and eyes are always available.
Our Wish List
We will add here any items or skills we currently need. Please check back for updates!