A Wagga woman is doing her part to help the international community by encouraging the tour groups she brings to India to donate essential items to an orphanage.
Kim Heffernan is a practice manager at Active Physiotherapy but has a passion for the culture of India. She takes female tours groups there once a year and they always visit an orphanage.
“It came about because I was taking some tours of ladies to Wagga and we realised we had plenty of items here that we could take across,” she said.
“I’ve been to India a number of times, but I took my first tour over in 2015.
“I think the reaction from the ladies is one of the most exciting things.
“They get excited getting to collect so many items, they put things together and I think getting to give these items is great.”
The items that are most often taken over include shoes, toothpastes, toothbrushes, soaps, colouring books, pencils, balls and shirts.
Ms Heffernan said being able to interact with the children is incredible.
“They squeal in delight when they see the gifts, they just get so excited,” she said.
“We also do a lot of tourist activities, but the orphanage that we go to is in Jaipur, it’s called the Ladli Girls Home.”
Ms Heffernan is all too aware of the need to ensure the organisation they go through is legitimate and did a lot of research to be sure of her choice.
“We are very fortunate to take ladies over there and develop that relationship,” she said.
“It comes down to trust too because you have to be careful you’re using a validated home.
“They’re a girls home where they work so they can earn an income.”
For their work, all children at Ladli receive payment. The ones living in the Ladli home are paid money into bank accounts that have been opened in their names and those living on the street are paid cash.
The women will normally spend one afternoon with them and get involved with their learning.
“Their English and what they’re taught is incredible,” Ms Heffernan said.
“As a community we try to give a lot to our community which we do as part of this business, but it’s nice to step outside of that and help another country,” she said.
The latest tour group are in the midst of organising a fundraiser for the home with details soon to follow.
The organisation can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/Experience-Mother-India-Tours-942303162498795/.