Obviously, the more letters we wrote, the more likely we were to encounter "tricky" countries, countries where understanding their circumstances is difficult for grown-ups, never mind a five-year-old boy. We research these countries just like all the others, and it didn't take Toby long to decide that he wanted to help. A friend suggested that Toby might get sponsored for writing the letters, and we went in search for a charity. ShelterBox is a charity which focuses on getting aid to those in need - each Shelter Box contains the necessary equipment for a family who has lost everything - shelter, tools, blankets, a stove, cooking utensils, water purification, and small gifts for children. They are also doing a great job to share their work with young people, via a very accessible website for children, volunteering speakers who visit schools, and the possibility to "trace" each box to its final location, giving immediate feedback on where the money goes. Toby has decided that he would like to try and raise enough money for one complete box, which costs £590. Please note that we did not begin this journey with view to him gaining sponsorship for writing his letters, and we will engage in other fundraising activities - we see this as a long-term engagement, which will hopefully endure long beyond the project. More people than we ever thought possible are already helping us - by finding addresses, asking friends, and offering encouragement. Should anybody feel inclined to help Toby go one step further and raise the money for a ShelterBox, you can find Toby's JustGiving page here: http://www.justgiving.com/writingtotheworld.
NEWS! Collins Big Cat, the publisher behind the book that started it all, have very kindle said that they would match-fund Toby's ShelterBox - so, if he does manage to raise £590, they will put in another £590 - meaning TWO boxes. Toby is over the moon, and very grateful (as is Mum, of course)!!!
For further information about ShelterBox, and some great resources for children, please visit the charity at: http://www.shelterbox.org/