Posted by Jerry Nelson
On 6 August 2018, I had an opportunity to sit and chat with Nel de Betue, our great friend from ‘down under’ who brings us Trekker Teddies for the children we serve. Nel is responsible for distribution of the completed dolls, but there is much more to the story.
The project was started by Shelly Piper in 2013 as a fundraiser. People would come to Shelly’s shop, see the Trekker Teddies and often make donations and also offer to contribute their time and talent knitting. The project has evolved.
Now most of the Trekker Teddies are made in the Sylvan Glades Retirement Village. Six or seven ladies do the knitting. They have modern children and grandchildren. The Trekker Teddy program gives them an opportunity to be involved helping disadvantaged children, giving them a sense of real purpose. As one lady put it, “we have evolved in an international charity project”.  
Anne Hoogeboom is the current knitting organizer. She supplies patterns and wool to the knitting team. CMIRC is so happy to be involved in a project that helps retired folks in Australia and to needy children here. Can you imagine the joy when a photograph like the one above, taken of a children receiving a Trekker Teddy, makes its way back to the creator?
Since we have been involved, CMIRC has given Trekker Teddies to children in Chiang Mai (BMCF B.K.Kee House) and Mae Hong Song (Toys for Thialand). They have also been distributed by Mae Tao Clinic and by Burma Children’s Medical Fund in both Thailand and Burma. While these dolls are really intended for young children, occasionally we happen upon an older child watching the young ones with a sad expression. Sometimes they have never or seldom had a toy of their own and are delighted to receive one even at the ripe old age of 15. 
If you are coming to Thailand from Australia, especially Melbourne, perhaps you would be willing to help transport some of these wonderful toys?  Contact me for details.