Through my job I am lucky enough to have met a gorgeous colleague who lives and works in the Côte d’Ivoire in Africa. She has been out to Melbourne twice and it’s been lovely getting to know her.

This year Doris was recognised at work for a charity she has set up, ‘Gift your birthday’. People pledge their birthdays to the charity, and instead of presents their family and friends donate money or goods. The ‘Gift your birthday’ organization then arranges four events each year to pass the money and goods on to people in need in Côte d’Ivoire – orphans, handicapped children, those living with ill health or in poverty.

Doris visited Melbourne for the second time in September and spent a fun day with our family – bbq breakfast Aussie style overlooking the water and the city views, fiercely contested soccer match (turns out Doris loves her soccer as much as my son loves his), stroll through the local market, all topped off with ice cream in the sunshine.

Lots of fun and also a great opportunity to hear more about the charity Doris has set up, her motivation and her experience.

As a result, our September donation was made directly into the bank account of ‘Gift your birthday’. The money goes towards their last event for 2017, the ‘Make them smile for Christmas’ campaign. The event aims to provide 150 children who are handicapped or living in difficult conditions with Christmas presents, as well as equipping the canteen of a local centre in Côte d’Ivoire.

Our pale blue dot is definitely a kinder place thanks to people like Doris.

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