ShoeBox 2012 Spreading Across Romania
Six years ago, together with my wife, we have done what any parent in Romania, or any country, does at some point: we thought that, at age 4, our son should learn how to share. He should learn how to share some of his things with a child who has nothing.
We randomly chose to stop next to a landfill in Cluj and we let him give an old shoebox, wrapped in colored paper, full of candy and other goodies, to a child who was barefoot and shivering on a pile of rubble.
Don’t think that what we try to teach our kids is lost! Not at all. When he got to his kindergarten the next day, he talked to the other kids and they told their parents who approached us at the kids’ Christmas play asking if we had set up an NGO and if we were undertaking any projects?!? We were not running any NGO and we are still not running any NGO…
In 2007, remembering the interest people had the previous year, my wife and I decided to update our Yahoo Messenger status saying that we are collecting shoe boxes filled with gifts, for orphans in Cluj and the surrounding area. We managed to collect 512 boxes!!!
We were very pleasantly surprised. We said to ourselves, Romanians are wonderful people. We started collecting shoeboxes in other locations in 2008 and 2009. With iQuest’s help, and the support of Cornelius Brody, iQuest CEO, who allowed us to remove computers and desks from one room in each of our locations in Romania, and organise collection centres there.
That was just the beginning of our “conquest” of Romania. We also bought the shoebox.ro domain in 2009 and launched the site. We thought it would make it easier to spread more varied information about the project: locations, partners, updates, etc.
However, the explosion was brought on by facebook. We created the shoebox facebook page in 2010. People could “share” our story and we were able to collect boxes in 21 boxes around the country. We collected over 7000 boxes in 2011 in 8 locations.
Let’s not just be “likers”, let’s be true Romanians offline too: united, caring and with a big heart, to help out these kids that don’t even receive a kind word all year long, not to mention presents.
Thank you in advance for your box, which will turn into a gift for you, for you heart.