Wondering how best to give back this festive season? As you tick off hefty lists for Christmas gift shopping and scour the stores for present ideas for your little ones, it’s worth remembering that the season of giving extends to the less fortunate too. Instead of busting your annual Christmas budget and battling it out with the Orchard crowds, why not give a charitable donation in your child’s name or make a contribution to help empower others who don’t have the same opportunities as your family? From buying a goat and chickens for struggling families to being an animal benefactor, these meaningful presents will teach your children empathy and the value of helping others.
Give your helper the gift of education
Where would we be without our right-hand women to help us juggle the kids, home and careers? Our helpers do an amazing job, and we love the idea of being able to gift them something that could make a big difference to their future. Aidha provides financial literacy programs including money management, computer courses and entrepreneurial lessons for helpers and lower-income women. Give the gift of education this December by signing your helper up to newly discounted courses with Aidha and help raise funds in support of the organisation’s life-changing financial literacy and empowerment programs.
Make a donation to a local charity
Instead of splurging on beauty or fashion products for Xmas presents this year, look up 100 Women Doing Good. Founded in 2015, this organization brings big-hearted expats together to support local charities of their choice. Stay tuned for upcoming events – you and your friends can each make donations in each other’s name for a fab and meaningful gift idea.
100 Women Doing Good; www.100peopledoinggood.com
Help supply clean water to struggling communities
While we give little thought to our constant supplies of clean water, millions of families, including young children, are forced to walk many miles each day for water that will be far from clean and that is likely to make them sick. Unsafe water contributes to more child deaths per year than AIDS and malaria combined! A gift of $150 will contribute to a deep well to provide communities with clean, lasting water to help restore health and vitality to all. The good news is World Vision is reaching a new person with clean water every 30 seconds!
World Vision; www.donate.worldvision.org
Foster an orangutan
According to wildlife organisations and monitoring groups, orangutans are a highly endangered species. The constant destruction of rainforests (resulting in the amazing kids vs the haze initiative to fight the resulting haze) for the establishment of palm oil plantations is the main reason for this. Aside from boycotting products using unsustainably produced palm oil, you can do your part to help save orangutans – a keystone species in tropical rain forest habitats – by being a foster parent. For $100 a year, you can help buy food, medicine and care for the orangutan babies. In return, you’ll receive an adoption certificate, a photo and biography of your foster orangutan, and even give your orangutan a name. You’ll be sent an update every six months so you know how your little friend is doing.
Orangutan Foundation; www.orangutan.org
Provide job training and skill sets for women
Empowering our own daughters is very important to us, and we love the idea of giving the gift of career training to women who are struggling to support their children. Donations will be used to provide girls with gifts like education, bicycles and skills training so they can make a living from careers in weaving, jewellery-making, baking or dairy farming.
World Vision; www.donate.worldvision.org
Make a donation to Cat Welfare
If your child loves visiting Singapore’s cat cafes, this is the purr-fect gift. Stray cats are an all-too-common sight in Singapore, and while they’re thankfully taken care of by kind-hearted feeders and the community, they’re still vulnerable. When Cat Welfare first started, 13,000 stray cats were being put to sleep every year because of the population explosion caused by too many cats being un-neutered. Cat Welfare works towards sterilising community cats as a measure to reduce the number of strays breeding and your donation will be extremely valuable to help this fantastic initiative.
Cat Welfare; www.facebook.com/catwelfaresg
Provide medical care to the vulnerable
What better charitable gift could your child give to another than that of an increased chance of survival? For just $25 your donation can help children around the world who are suffering with diseases such as malaria, and conditions like malnutrition, have a fighting chance of a healthier life. Child Survival Kits are created on a case-by-case basis according to need, and are used to help heal children with urgent and specific medical problems.
World Vision; www.donate.worldvision.org
Be an animal benefactor to distressed animals at ACRES
Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) is focused on tackling crimes against wildlife, promoting love for all things furry, slimy, feathery and scaly plus raising awareness about animal exploitation. In order to rescue and rehabilitate animals, the organization requires funds; the public can choose to contribute either a one-off donation or with monthly contributions. You can also become an animal benefactor and help distressed animals by contributing just $1 per day or $30 per month which will go towards helping our animal friends lead happier, healthier lives. Donations are used to cover costs including full physical check-ups, medication and transportation costs for when it is time to release the animal back into the wild.
Animal Concerns Research and Education Society; www.acres.org.sg
Sponsor a four-legged friend
Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket rescues and cares for thousands of dogs every year and sadly not all of its residents end up with a forever home. For some dogs the results of cruelty and abandonment have lifelong impacts which prevents them from finding a family to live with, but with your sponsorship donations Soi Dogs guarantee that these special needs furballs will have a safe and happy life at the shelter. Soi Dog treats every animal in its care equally whether sponsored or not, so it should be noted that your gift will be used to help all the dogs including the one you have chosen to sponsor. For just $29 a month, we picked out our own sponsor dog, Diva, when we visited the shelter ourselves, and she is now off in America enjoying a new life with her very own forever family. Oh, how we love a happy ending!
Soi Dog Foundation; www.soidog.org
Buy a goat and two chickens
Now here’s an Xmas gift that you won’t have to wrap! For just $110, give families in impoverished conditions a gift they’ll never forget: a goat and a pair of chickens to provide them with food and extra income. One goat can produce up to 16 cups of milk a day while still flourishing in harsh climates in countries like Uganda, plus their manure is essential to fertilise crops. Chickens are also easy to raise, will naturally multiply and therefore provide an invaluable source of food for generations to come. Other livestock options include pigs, sheeps and even cows!
World Vision, www.donate.worldvision.org
Support an underprivileged child
Across the world, poverty forces families to settle in slums where the conditions are appalling, and sadly it is often the children who suffer the greatest of all. To address this tragic issue, the Salvation Army Child Sponsorship Programme will use your donations to provide an underprivileged child with essential food, shelter, clothing, medical care and education. The cost of sponsoring a child in Myanmar or Malaysia is $720 a year or $60 a month – a small sum compared to the enormous change you could be making in a child’s life.
Salvation Army, www.salvationarmy.org/singapore
Empower people with disabilities
Help people with disabilities achieve equal status in society by making a contribution to The Disabled People’s Association. This non-profit, cross-disability organisation aims to be the voice of all people with disabilities, and will help implement policies that encourage better social integration and create awareness here in Singapore. Your donations will help fund DPA’s research and public speaking initiatives, plus help towards costs involved at inclusion training workshops. Make a contribution to this worthy cause by following the procedure listed here.
The Disabled Persons Association; www.dpa.org.sg
Gift food, toiletries or toys to help families in need
Food From The Heart (FFTH) is a non-profit charity that feeds the hungry through its food distribution programme. It was established in February 2003 after Singapore-based Austrian couple Henry and Christine Laimer as a reaction to a report they read about bakeries discarding unsold bread, which in turn moved them to start an initiative to channel that waste into good by distributing it to those in need. This has grown exponentially to not only include the food distribution programme, but also to deliver toys to disadvantaged children. Help out by gifting either cash donations, non-perishable food items, clean toys in good working condition and toiletries.
Food From The Heart; www.foodheart.org
Before you donate… be an informed giver
To make sure your donation will be effectively used, read the tips below on how to be an informed giver.
- Do your homework
Research the nonprofit of your choice. Verify if the charity is legitimate by asking for documentation. For Singapore charities, check out SG Gives, The Charity Portal or The National Council of Social Services. Find out as much information as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions like how much of your money goes directly to the needy and how much is used for marketing.
- Test communication channels
Make sure that the charity lists their phone number or email address. Try to send an email to find out how responsive they are. In order to be effective, a nonprofit organization must be easily contactable to answer any questions donors may have about their investments.
- Be cautious about sharing personal or financial info
When writing a cheque for donations, never make it payable to an individual; rather, it should be made directly to the organization.
- Don’t forget you have the right to say no
Give generously if you can, but if you’re uncomfortable or uncertain, don’t be afraid to say no, or ask more info and take your time to make a decision.
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