KAOS, Kids Action Overseas, is a charity society based at UEA which organises a number of events throughout the year to help raise money for children living in poverty abroad.
The money raised through events such as the KAOS charity fashion show goes directly to help fund volunteers from the society to travel to orphanages in Kenya and Uganda and help children directly.
However, during the Christmas period KAOS organisers its annual shoebox appeal for children in Romania.
The shoeboxes are sent to the poorest parts of Romania, such as the rural town of Dorohoi in Botosani County.
Before the fall of communism in Romania, Dorohoi had a strong workforce in its factories and almost no unemployment. Today, things have drastically changed and all the towns’ factories have been closed for years.
Cristina Gherghisan from the UEA Romanian society has been helping to promote the KAOS shoebox appeal.
She said, “I’ve seen children with no proper clothes for winter, no food or even no adults to shape their future. This makes me very sad and disheartened whenever I think about what the heavy winter will be like for them.”
The wrapped shoeboxes will be handed out directly to the children in Dorohoi by volunteers from the charity RCHF-UK who will be dressed as Father Christmas.
Photographs from last year’s shoebox appeal show children receiving their gifts, but also the poor conditions of their housing. Mud brick houses and apartments are the norm in the rural parts of Romania and it is not uncommon for homes to be without gas, electricity or a decent water supply.
Those interested in sending a shoebox to Romanian should either email KAOS at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the KAOS Facebook group. KAOS will then send an email with information on what items should be included in the shoebox.
Items to be put in shoeboxes will vary depending on the gender and age of the child. Common items include colouring pencils, paper, games and Christmas chocolates. Boxes should also include hygiene products for boys and girls, such as a hairbrush, toothpaste and toothbrush.
Shoeboxes should be covered in wrapping paper and KAOS asks for at least a £3 donation with every shoebox to cover the cost of shipping, which will be over £400.
Volunteers from KAOS will be in the Hive during the last week of November to collect shoeboxes and any help will be greatly appreciated.