Suitcases for Africa began with a trip to Kenya in 2006 during which we distributed 50 suitcases of supplies and 7 medical packs which is how the name originated. Suitcases for Africa now also operates many development projects in several communities but we still maintain our suitcase deliveries.
When our members and volunteers visit the projects in Kenya each year they bring with them very large suitcases which are filled with items needed in our communities at that time. They contain books for school libraries. Most poor primary schools have no books. We set up a library room and stock it. Beautiful new books are donated by publishers, book stores and individuals. Gently used, appropriate books are screened by our librarian volunteers.
We also send sheets and medical supplies for hospitals, clinics and orphan homes in great need. Wheelchairs and physiotherapy items are brought over for the disabled children we support in struggling institutions. Hand knitted teddy bears for orphans are also packed. They are knitted here in Canada with great love by volunteers. They are usually the only toys these children have ever owned and they bring the children great joy. Similarly we bring knitted squares the children sew together to make themselves a colourful blanket.
One much loved gift is that of hundreds of colourful soccer jerseys for the children in our programs. We have been fortunate to have soccer clubs in Canada donate complete sets of new soccer uniforms for school teams and the random jerseys for other children, in a rainbow of colors, are worn with great pride and happiness. The suitcases themselves are left behind to provide practical, portable, clean storage in schools and clinics.