We send around 1,200 items in each container - this depends on larger items! If banana boxes only, we can send 1,300.
These contain various items, such as - clothes, baby knits, tools (mainly hand tools) to help establish small businesses, sewing machines and craft material, school and other books, medical books, bicycles, toys, bedding, medical stuff including walking aids (never drugs or other things with use by dates which might expire en route), stationery and pencils (these are actually best bought out there - we can take/transfer money), sports equipment and strips, computer equipment (but not too old - we recently got a machine that ran on Windows 2000), household goods and lots of others.
All work in the UK is done by volunteers. Nobody is paid.
We open most Saturdays from 10 am to noon to receive boxes. Once in, we label them and then stack them according to size. This helps on the packing day. There is a rota and we often have 3 people on duty. On packing days, there can be 15 to 20 people and we have a small "staff" who provide teas, coffees, sandwiches, soup if it's cold and other goodies to keep the team working.
We pride ourselves on welcoming people to Shed 11 on Saturdays - if the kettle is not hot when someone arrives, then it soon will be! And it's amazing how many people are coming to Dundee anyway! Many family and friends are visited and the V & A gets lots of visitors. Not sure if we are the chicken or the egg on that one!
The route taken from Dundee is to Grangemouth by lorry, then boat to Antwerp or Rotterdam, then another boat (which stops at various places such as Portugal!) to Durban in South Africa, a third boat to Beira in Mozambique, then a truck to Lilongwe where it clears customs, then a final truck to Ekwendeni where it is unpacked a whole lot quicker than it was packed in Dundee - and it will be warmer!
12,741.04 kilometres - the total distance travelled! Breakdown of this is on our website.
The cost of each container varies with exchange rates - transport is largely in dollars and local costs are in Malawi kwacha. The cost of the actual container is usually around £7,000; in country costs can vary wildly depending on how much duty we are charged - these costs typically are £4,000, give or take. The rent for the shed is £6,000 per annum and other running costs of the trust are around £2,000.