Occasionally I have brilliant ideas. They usually come to be on the long drive from home to HHA. In that time I manage to avert many accidents whilst also thinking about ideas that will either improve the ability of our staff, increase the outcomes of our projects or raise funds for HHA.

The last brilliant idea I had came to me a couple of weeks ago, and after chatting to Salin, our Education and Community Manager, we agreed to move in it. Basically, like most NGO’s we have accumulated a mountain of items we don’t use. These items are spread across our office and library or shoved into our storage room. Personally, I am a very organised person and get the team to live by the motto “organisation is the key to success”, so this was driving me crazy. Hence, we decided to hold a market stall at HHA, selling all of our unwanted/non-required items, ranging from duplicate books to unsold sewing items to fault laptops.

It was a big team effort which first involved identifying what we didn’t need. I am ashamed to say that some items we were holding onto were broken long ago, yet still kept, or were in perfectly good condition but never used. The memories of cleaning out our storage room still haunt me, especially the image of a rat the size of my forearm scurrying on the wall and a box full of baby mice.

The next step was determining prices for the items. We all had different opinions on this, so it took quite awhile. Then of course, we had to advertise the stall. We wanted to reach the wider community so more people could know about HHA and our projects. So we decided to promote the stall by putting signs in the community. On the day we saw this hadn’t been so effective, which also explained why many villagers still don’t know HHA exists. It was a good wake up call for the team that our strategy to reach the community needs to be worked on.

On the day of the market stall it was all hands on deck, with each staff member being allocated a couple of tables with items to sell. We set up the market like my primary school used to when we had Mother’s Day stalls, with each table holding items of a certain price. Our students and their friends came early, and we opened at 8am. I had set up a TV playing videos about HHA, which was a good way for villagers who turned up to learn about us, and our Director, Thai, also walked around chatting to people with unfamiliar faces about our work.

All up we raised over $300, which will be put into our English, sewing and salaries budgets. The remaining items will be sold at heavily discounted rates (I refuse to store the items again) at our upcoming end of semester ceremony on Wednesday.

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