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5-year-old boy sends handwritten letters to more than 200 countries, wants the world to be a 'better place'

Published: Monday, Sept. 23 2013 9:20 a.m. MDT

Toby Little is a 5-year-old boy from Sheffield, England, on a mission to help the world be a "better place." It all started when his mom read him the book "A Letter to New Zealand," and Toby decided he wanted to write a letter to every country.

Although Toby only came up with the idea a few months ago, he has already written a letter to 243 countries and has received 66 responses. In each letter, the 5-year-old asks a question either about his new pen pal's job or location.

"Depending on when you ask Toby and what's going through his head at the time, he will tell you that he started the project A) to learn more about the world, B) to show other children how amazing the world is, C) to help people in the world understand each other better, and therefore D) to make the world a better place," Toby's mom, Sabine Little, posted on Facebook.

Sabine Little also posted on Facebook that Toby loves to learn about interesting jobs, and he is fascinated with archaeology.

According to the family's website, Toby is currently looking to hear from anyone who works as an archaeologist, palaeontologist, disaster specialist, wildlife conservationist, marine biologist, wildlife photographer/cameraman/filmmaker or male ballet dancer in any country.

Although Toby is young, his mother said he is excited to learn about the world around him. On Facebook, Sabine Little expresses how Toby makes many of the decisions regarding whom to write to and what to ask them about.

"Yesterday, Toby was in bed reading a book about castles, when he bounded downstairs to tell me that there is a castle on the Isle of Man," Sabine Little posted on Facebook. “ ‘And it's called Peel Castle, Mummy. And it's on the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man!!! Can we ask about that?’

"Well, luckily, we'd got an email from a lovely lady called Victoria towards the end of last week, so, 'yes, we can!’ ”

Toby's mom has also updated their website to express her appreciation for the support their family has received.

"Oh, wow!" Sabine Little wrote, "We are absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness people have shown Toby — thank you! So, so many of you are offering to be his pen pal."

During this process, Toby and his family have learned about many who are less fortunate than themselves and have begun to raise money for the international charity Shelter Box.

Sabine Little said in a comment on Facebook that connecting with the world has been one of the greatest blessings of this project:

"One of the things I love most about Toby's project is how suddenly the world connects."

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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