A guide to What to Donate when Travelling

How long is a piece of string? The answer is the same. You could go on and on. But by taking a little time to think about it before you go, can make a big difference to the community you are visiting. Aim to give responsibly and in a sustainable manner, respecting the community you are giving to.

What to donate to a school or orphanage in Africa
What to donate to a school or orphanage

Just taking some stationary along to a school can make a world of difference to each child. The playing of games forms a huge part of the curriculum and teaching children to play together is an essential way to bring some fun into their lives, so taking along a frisbee or a cricket set, would be ideal.

I have based these recommendations on requests from a number of actual volunteer projects in Africa, and on personal observation.

Volunteering on a Teaching Project or at an Orphanage

There are so many pre-schools, primary and secondary schools and orphanages, all of them in need of volunteers willing to help.   Unsurprisingly, they are also very limited in terms of supplies and educational material, and the staff will warmly welcome any new resources that are taken to them – from pencils to games to innovative ideas. Other suggestions which will be very well received are:-

  • School bags
  • Vitamin C for children from 2 years
  • Exercise books, pens, pencils with rubbers, stickers
  • Basic reading books
  • Crossword, puzzle and colouring books – particularly those that focus on maths, English and geography
  • Water based paint sets and coloured pencils
  • Educational posters or postcards eg my body, health, family etc
  • Games – such as frisbee, tennis balls, pack of cards, juggling balls, a cricket set, or even a small radio
  • Disposable nappies
  • Shoes (children and adults)
  • Clothes (children and small adults)
  • Underwear for both boys & girls
  • Blankets and cuddly toys for babies
  • Towels
What to pack when volunteering at a wildlife conservation project in Africa
What to donate at a wildlife project

Volunteering on a Wildlife Project

  • Disposable gloves
  • Syringes (1ml, 2ml, 5ml)
  • Needles (18 – 23 gauge)
  • Digital Thermometers
  • Darts (DanInject & Pneu-Dart)
  • Microscope Slides and Slide Stain
  • Egg Flotation Fluid and Flotation Kits
  • Anaesthetic (Ketamine, Medetomidine, AntiSedan)
  • Antibiotics (Tablets – Synulox, Amoxycillin)
  • Eye Ointment (Virbac ISEE)
  • Antiseptic Wound Spray
  • Batteries (Duracell AA)
  • Medical Supplies (Plaster, gauze, cotton-wool, etc.)
  • Disposable nappies
  • Baby bottles and teets
  • Infant formula and milk
  • Multivitamins (preferably plastic casing) for Samira and Chiquita
  • Electricity testers
  • Flash lights
What to donate when travelling abroad
What to donate on a medical project

Volunteering on a Medical Project

  • Disposable gloves
  • Bandages
  • Vitamin supplements, particularly Vitamin C
  • Alcohol wipes and gel
  • Eye protection goggles
  • Tongue depressors
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Adult oxygen portable sats monitor
  • Cannulas
  • Urine dipsticks
  • Shoes
  • Iron tablets
  • Sterile dressing packs
  • Tympanic ear thermometer with batteries
  • Towels
  • Soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Oral rehydration solution
  • Children’s clothes
  • Washable babies nappies

Obviously baggage restrictions will dictate what can be taken but all donations will be so gratefully received. So, please, the next time you plan a trip away, whether it is to volunteer abroad, or just to visit a new country, take a little time before you go,  and think what little things that you can take, that will make abig difference to those you are visiting.

I’d love to hear what you found useful when you went abroad. Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Happy travels !


A truly life changing experience, working on wildlife and community volunteering projects in Africa over 15 years ago, convinced Gemma Whitehouse to give up her job as a Marketing Manager for an international organisation and use her skills and expertise to set up a company that would offer others the same amazing opportunities with a service second to none - thus Amanzi Travel was born.

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