Improving the quality of the lives of children & providing hope for a different future.
HOW IT BEGAN
Before a trip to Asia in 2011, Deanna Koebernick was made aware of the Deak Kum Pa orphanage in Luang Prabang, Laos. After watching a short video, she was compelled to do something, so she began gathering clothing from her daughter Kaelyn that no longer fit her. Kaelyn was 6 years old at the time, and when Deanna explained that they were going to take the clothing to an orphanage, Kaelyn asked how many children were there. When she realized it was about the same number of students in her school, she said, “Mom, if there are 550 kids in my school and I have that many extra clothes I don’t need anymore, then wouldn’t all the kids in my school also have extra clothes they could give to the children in the orphanage?” And so it began.
What we do
Give A Shirt Society has evolved into a Canadian registered charity (2017) that aims to ship a seacan full of clothing to Laos every two years. So far, we have managed to ship 5 seacans and are currently filling the 6th. It takes 50,000 items of clothing to fill a seacan, so it wouldn’t be possible without generous donors and volunteers! We’ve managed to make a positive impact on two orphanages in Laos, and the surrounding villages.
Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an average income of $900 per year. During the Vietnam war, American planes dropped 260 million cluster bombs on Laos, making it the most heavily bombed country in history. Many of these bombs did not detonate and still remain, resulting in much of the land base not available for agriculture. The average life expectancy is 47 years, leaving many children with no parents. Other family members take these children to orphanages as a way for them to obtain food and shelter. Most arrive with nothing other than the clothes they are wearing. The government of Laos contributes only $20 per month per child to the orphanages, leaving many of their basic needs unmet.