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It all started from Cambodia.

2008, the year I turned 21, was the budding year for Shiny Munchkins. It was the year I decided to do something more than just travel. We gather some donations, color pencils, books and headed down to a shelter for the underprivileged children. On our backs, we also carried about 100 overgoody bags for children we meet along the way. It turned out to be the highlight of the trip. Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh and all the stopovers in between. We met so many street children, we had watergun fights, singing sessions, coloring fun and all sorts of games. It was nice to be giving away little gifts and for the children to let down their baggages of things they were carrying (Most of them were either selling items to tourists or helping out with household duties)  and be the kids they ought to be! We had countless conversations with the kids, learning about school, street politics, territorial gangs, their families and siblings and of course, who we are and where we are from. During one of the conversations, a little girl told me – what is outside, look is no good, what is inside, the heart, is good. She was 8, maybe 9.

There were no ambitious ideas about changing the world and saving the children. It was just an earnest idea of spending time together with children, getting to know one another and having some good time together. Since then, every year we try to improve for a better quality time spent!

-Kase, on Shiny Munchkins Welfare Travellers Cambodia Trip 2008

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Children of Sindhupalchowk.

The volunteers were very enthusiastic with the trip. We planned the entire journey and worked together as a team. Tasks were allocated to every member, such as fundraising, logistics, budget, volunteers orientation and training. Some of us had previous experience working with children and were thrilled to be able to share that experience with others.

We will be working with underprivileged students belonging to mixed community like Bramin, Chhetri, Newar, Tamang and also other marginalized community. Their age varies as they start their schooling very late but most of the children are below 16 years. For this trip, we worked with Shree Bankali Lower Secondary School and the volunteers from Girls Empowered by Travel.

The 2 day educational camp was a fantastic experience for the children and the volunteers. The bond formed during trip were dynamic and we hope for the upcoming trips to be as fruitful as this. We enjoyed the time spent with the local children and may this camp be rewarding to them as well. Truly appreciative with the effort from the local volunteers from the school and Girls Empowered by Travel!

-Dhaniah, on Shiny Munchkins Welfare Travellers Nepal Trip 2017

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Shiny Munchkins Passport

The Little Kind Passport by Shiny Munchkins Welfare Travellers is one of our latest initiative.

The former ‘The Little Kind Passport’ received an awesome revamp from the good people at ONO CREATES. With volunteers and contributors from the community, we re-designed the passport for the children at Shiny munchkins. Every child will receive the passport with a themed drawstring bag that revolves around being a Global Citizen.

Combining our Flight Theory of C.A.R.E ( Courage. Acceptance. Respect. Empathy), Environment (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and Global Citizenship. We believe the only way forward is to share the ideas of Diversity, Community and Belonging. Activities from the passport will consist all the elements to encourage each child to practise these principles. We hope to share this experience with as many children as we can. For interested parties, please contact shinymunchkins@gmail.com to find out more.

For PDF Version: shinymunchkinspassport_FA

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Nameste Nepal.

I have joined the team on the Nepal trip in May 2016. We have planned a 2 days camp with the children at Happy Kids Shelter and also made donations of books and materials collected from all the good people in Singapore to a local library.

The trip was one of the most meaningful trips I had as apart from being able to spend some time with the children and teaching them things that they hopefully grow up to remember, it also helps me to reflect on how much we could do to create better memories for others in less privileged situations. The children that we met came from very diverse backgrounds; some were Nepalese, some Indians, some still schooling and most were slum kids who roamed the streets to help support their families. The shelter then provided a safe and nurturing place for these children to attend other lessons, have fun activities and make friends other than the roam the streets.

One of the interesting things about this volunteer was the interaction between donors and the children through a postcard activity. Prior the trip, donors were asked to fill up a side of the postcard and share their story with the kids. And these postcards were taken to the shelter where we told each kid about what the donor wanted to say to them. The kids were then asked to share their dreams with the donor. Many of the kids were happy and excited to learn something about the donor and also very appreciative that someone across the planet contributed to buying the materials that were being use during the camp for them. It helps donors to learn more about the children when they received the postcards and I found this very meaningful. (P.S. many of them wanted to be cricketer and doctors!)

Combining charitable work with traveling adds more purpose in traveling and these experience does help to put things into perspective and helps me to stay humble. Sometimes from where we came from, we do forget how privileged we are. If given the opportunity, everyone should try this!

-Chloe Quek, on Shiny Munchkins Welfare Travellers Nepal Trip 2016

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A memorable trip to India!

สมัยตอนเรียนมหาวิทยาลัยชั้นจำได้ว่าชั้นได้ไปช่วยทำค่ายสร้างอาคารโน่นนี่ และไปเล่นกับเด็กๆอยู่หลายครั้ง
แต่หลังจากเรียนจบมา 7 ปีก็ไม่เคยได้สัมผัสชีวิตแบบนี้อีกเลย แล้ววันหนึ่ง เพื่อนที่ทำงานชั้นก็มาชวนไปเที่ยวอินเดีย
แต่ไม่ได้เที่ยวเฉยๆนะ เค้าให้ไปสอนศิลปะให้เด็กๆที่อินเดียด้วย!
บอกตามตรงว่าตอนแรกชั้นกลัวและกังวลกับเด็กอินเดียและประเทศอินเดียมากเพราะมีแต่คนขู่ไว้เยอะ
แต่พอไปจริงๆประสบการณ์ที่ได้รับทำให้ความคิดที่มีต่อเด็กอินเดียและประเทศอินเดียเปลี่ยนไปเลย
เด็กๆที่คิดว่าจะดื้อและร้าย(แบบเด็กไทยที่ชั้นเคยเจอมาตอนทำค่ายสมัยเรียน) กลับกลายเป็นว่า เด็กๆกระตือรือร้นและเชื่อฟังเรามาก
ถึงแม้ว่าบางคนจะพูดและฟังภาษาอังกฤษไม่ได้ ก็จะมีพี่ๆที่โตกว่าคอยแปลให้ฟัง
รวมถึงอาสาสมัครชาวอินเดียที่มาช่วยแปลให้ด้วยอีกทาง เด็กๆสนุกที่จะทำทุกๆกิจกรรมกับเราถึงแม้ว่าบางกิจกรรมจะเฟลก็เถอะ
สรุปว่าทริปนี้ที่เรากลัวนักหนากลับกลายเป็นทริปนึงที่มีความหมาย และจำได้ไม่ลืมทริปนึงเลย

When I was studying in University, I got many chances to attend charity camp in different provinces of Thailand, mostly built the shelter for schools, as we were in faculty of architect. But after I graduated, I have never had any chances to do such thing anymore. And one day after 7 years of graduation, one of my colleagues invites me to charity trip in India with her. To be honest, I heard a lot regarding to difficulty of taking trip in India plus experience with kids in Thailand from university camps were quite challenge. That’s why I slightly worry about handling with Indian kids in this trip. But surprisingly this trip turns to be one of the most remarkable trips for me. The kids were very enthusiastic to participate and ask us many questions about our country. Even though they can’t speak fluently English, but whoever could understand more like the older kids or local volunteers would help to translate between us. We had very fun and good time together especially on the second days after we were more familiar with each other. Finally, I would say that this Indian trip became a memorable trip that I would never forget.

-Chanunya Nitiwong, on Shiny Munchkins Welfare Travellers India Trip 2015

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Beach bucket full of memories!

私がShiny Munchkinsに初めて参加したのは2013年、プーケット在住のミャンマー移民の子供たちを訪問しました。ボランティアのために海外に足を運ぶのはこれが初めて、また普段子供に接する機会がほとんどないこともあり、出発前は少し緊張。しかしいざ子供たちに面会してみると、そんな心配が一瞬でなくなり、非常に有意義かつ楽しい時間を子供たちと過ごすことが出来ました。

ある日は子供たち40人ほどを集めてのイベント開催。新しく習った遊び歌やフェースペイントを楽しみ、ゾウとふれあい、また滅多に食べられないアイスクリームを手にしての笑顔、笑顔、笑顔・・・もうそれを見ただけで来てよかったと思ってしまえる時間でした。

常日頃、ボランティア=飢餓・紛争・天災などで必要最低限のものが不足している人への物資・医療サポートが最優先、と思ってきたのですが、その一方で、教育や余暇になかなか恵まれない子供たちに実際に会いに行き、彼ら・彼女らの「特別に楽しい1日」を作ってあげることもまた、有意義なボランティアの形だなと、身をもって経験できた良い機会でした。

– Minami Ueda, on Shiny Munchkins Welfare Travellers Phuket Trip 2013

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I have so many brothers and sisters here, which is just joyful.

I was extremely excited for my first Shiny Munchkins trip to the Philippines, I had absolutely no idea
what to expect. I was truly glad to be part of it and was one of the best experiences of my life! The children were so incredibly sweet n eager to learn. It was interesting to see what it was like to have 100 sisters n brothers. It was really amazing to see how close they are and how grateful they were just to have us visit them. The kids and the program are wonderful and I would do it again in a second!

-Pauline Lee, on Shiny Munchkins Welfare Travellers Manila Trip 2011

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Spreading the love of Saigon.

日子一天一天的过,等待已久的志工团队旅行终于有了消息。这个志工团队是由‘Shiny Munchkins Welfare Travellers’举办的,也将由我们5位志工一同前行。而此去的国家是越南一个极为繁华的城市‘ Ho Chi Minh ’,这是一个我从来都没到过的国家,让我对这个国家感到特别的兴奋和期待。此去也想到那里好好的探索这个美丽的城市及完成我的志工任务。

到达越南的第一天,我们安全的抵达越南机场,从领队的带领下我们到达了这个繁华的城市‘Ho  Chi  Minh’当时我的感觉极为兴奋,一心只想好好去摸索这个城市及了解当地的风俗习惯。事不宜迟,我们也没浪费太多的时间,在当地的集市我们开始寻找及购买一些可以给孤儿院小朋友的所需物品及粮食。我发现这里的摩托车真的好多,很繁忙的城市。
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The Southern Comfort.

Before our trip to Chennai, we were introduced to Udavum Karangal as a reputable and established non-profit social service organisation that was providing quality care for orphans and special needs children and adults in the area. We were touched by their cause and contacted them to ask what their needs were and decided then that we would be able to help the 300 children there by buying them a meal and providing them with some essential school supplies.

When we reached Chennai, we got in contact with a volunteer there named Niranjan and other volunteers from Couchsurfing Chennai to locate stationary stores in the area that sold stationary in bulk and spent the day purchasing and packing various school stationary and books for the children. It was quite a sight for the customers and staff at the shop to see us wheeling a cart full of school supplies out of the shop but for the people who asked why, they were all very enthusiastic about the cause and wished us well.

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A Promise to the children.

It’s a promise I made when I could not make it for the 2014 trip, and it’s a promise I’m glad I didn’t forget.

I got to know one of the main organisers from my internship and we got in touch again last year in regards to her volunteering trips, unfortunately I couldn’t make it in 2014 because of work commitments, so I promised her to attend this year.

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Advocating welfare travelling since 2008

Singapore shinymunchkins@gmail.com