A new project

Today I would like to introduce you to a new mini project,  the Eid gift box appeal 2010. 

The vast majority of  the people living in Algeria are Muslim and one of the most significant celebrations in the Islamic calendar is Eid ul Fitr, the event which marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. 

As you would expect Eid is a time of great joy and celebration, it is a time when friends and family gather together, people eat delicious sweets and cakes and traditionally everyone wears new clothes-particularly the children.  It can be an expensive time for everyone not least the poorer families.  

So, I thought that it would be a nice idea to give each child a little gift bag containing a few treats and an item of clothing to wear.  I had in mind  pencils or crayons, something crafty, a pencil-case with a few bits inside perhaps or some hair clips, a matchbox car that type of thing. 

Not including babies (under the age of one year) there are currently 176 individual children who we are currently helping.  I’m sure that the figure will rise as the year progresses but it is something of a starting point.  It would be great to be able to give them all a little bag of goodies. 

The bags will need to be ready by the beginning of August to ensure that they will all get there on time for the end of that month.  

So, to start us off my ten-year old niece has generously donated a bag full of pens, pencils and cases which are all in ‘as new’ condition.  Thank you Sophie! 

I will post a breakdown of age groups and gender shortly so that they can be ticked off as we go. 

If anyone has any ideas of what could be put in the gift bags please leave a comment, it would be great to hear your creative suggestions!



Filed under algeria, projects

24 responses to “A new project

  1. Helen

    I think I remember reading somewhere that Eid coincides with the need to buy school uniform in Algeria, with the required colours being very specific and the clothes beyond the pocket of many – is there anything we could do to help with this?

    I can send crafty/art stuff, hair bobbles and bits for girls… I never know what ‘small’ thing to get for boys that’s as nice to have as hair bands for girls! A small toy, maybe – marbles or silly putty or something?

  2. This sounds like a lovely idea. I always enjoying making up a Christmas shoe box but would be very happy to put together a bag or two in the summer as well. Did you have any thoughts on the bag itself. Would having a set/approx size be a good idea? and any particular style?

  3. Emma

    Thank you for your comments Helen and Jane.
    Islam follows a Lunar calendar which means that the date of Eid varies from year to year. As it is expected to fall around the beginning of September 2010, this year it will coincide with the children going back to school in which case it will be extra expensive for families. I will look into the school uniform thing, perhaps we can do something to help.
    Marbles and silly putty are great ideas, I agree it is much easier to get small special things for girls!
    Jane, it was thinking about the shoe box appeals that started this idea. I just thought it would be easier for shipping to change it to bag. I guess the bag would need to be about the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
    Thank you both for your offers to help!
    Best wishes, Emma x

  4. Isabel

    I know what you mean about it being difficult to think of ideas for small gifts for boys. I went to Tesco today and bought some bags of very bouncy balls which I thought could be split up and put in some of the boys’ bags. They also had other items which might be suitable – packs of 6 bubbles, pencils with animal erasers on the ends and sponge painting sets. I am wondering for the item of clothing in the bag if this should be a special party garment to be worn at the festival?

  5. I think it is a great idea to use a bag, that in itself will be useful as well as being easier to send.

    Would a simple bag like the PE bags we used to use at school (with the drawstring at the top) be ok?
    If so I will make a couple soon and then add bits as and when I find them so they are ready to send off when you need them. Would it be ok to include a small packet of sweets or are there any problems with customs and food?

    I’m quite looking forward to putting these together.

  6. Emma

    Jane your full of fab ideas! I had imagined a tote shape type of thing but the drawstring P.E. bags would be so much more appropriate for kids and it would be like an extra gift too!
    Sweets are great. I often include funsize chocolate bars with the things that are sent over.

  7. Emma

    Hi Isabel,
    It sounds as if Tesco has some great things that would be just perfect for the gift bags!
    Algerian boys love, love, love balls so you made a great choice!

    The item of clothing doesn’t need to be fancy, just an item that is new to them. A t.shirt, shorts, cardigan …………..

    Best wishes, Emma x

  8. Frances

    A little shop in our seaside village has lots of things for sale to amuse children when it is wet. They have bubbles which I think would be suitable for both boys and girls of all ages, but as they contain liquid I wonder if they would be acceptable for Customs and also there is the weight problem for postage.

    Next week I will go to have a look to see what else might be suitable.

    Best wishes


    • Emma

      How nice it must be to live in a ‘seaside village’!

      The children could have a lot of fun with bubbles but I think it might be a bit risky not just for the customs issue but because of potential leaks.

      Thank you so much for helping with this.
      Best wishes, Emma

  9. Rebecca

    When I went to Morocco, the mountain children were absolutely amazed by balloons. They had never seen them before. Would this apply to children in Algeria at all?

    • Emma

      Hi Rebecca,
      Ballons are available in Algeria, but only really during Eid. They are expensive to buy, around 25p in sterling but that is an equivalent value of about £3 per balloon. The children love them!
      It is an excellent idea to include them in the bags as not only are they inexpensive to buy here but they are light!
      I had forgotten about balloons, thanks for the reminder.
      Best wishes, Emma

  10. Angela Deakin

    I will get shopping this week for things to pop in the bags, but I’m just wondering if anyone can advise me on what the climate will be like at the time of Eid. Sorry to seem so dense but does the algerian summer and winter occur at the same time as ours, the other way around or does it not get so cold?


    • Emma

      Hi Angela,
      Firstly, you do not sound dense, you ask a very valid question!
      Algeria has the same seasons as the UK and at the same time. But the Summer there is much warmer than here. At the time of Eid lt should be quite hot.
      Thank you for helping with this project, it’s so lovely to hear peoples’s enthusiasm.
      Best wishes, Emma

  11. Would halal sweets be okay?

    • Emma

      Halal sweets are great but really most sweets and chocolate are fine- just avoid anything with gelatine in it.
      Thanks for the thoughtfulness.

  12. Rebecca

    Another thought Emma, I have some new hairy wool scarves that I knitted. Does it get cold enough in Algeria for scarves? If so I will send you a couple for Eid.

  13. More boxes coming down to you this week Emma – this time filled mostly with our Bags of Love and items to put in them. We had a challenge recently (December to April) whd the ladies to produce cloth bags (the size of kids pe or swim bags) which would be filled like shoe boxes for all ages to make it easier for our charities to hand them out to the recipients. Your Eidd gifts fit right in with this so when I spotted you needed them I knew exactly where to send all the extra bags and items to fill them. There are lots of clothes and toys as well – of course!

  14. mrs mohammed

    Dear Emma

    very impressed by your eid project……I have coolected loads of toys and cloths. Please let me the last date we can send them…… I have also e-mailed you………Thank you keep up the good work and we will help you as much as we can…..

    mrs mohammed

  15. Pingback: Hello April | Algerian Action

  16. Lynn Blake

    I’m just wondering if making up some knitted square teddies would be acceptable to be put into the bags? Would it be ok to just post some to you to put into the bags please?

    • Emma

      Hi Lynn,
      Square teddies would be great! Yes, of course it is ok to just post some in, I’m not asking people to make whole bags up. Thank you so much!

  17. Lynn Blake

    Hi again, sorry another question, would hand puppets be of any use to you, also little covers or small purses with a few hair bobbles or packs of paper hankies inside? Also where do I send them when I have made some please?

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