As we approach the two-week mark for the Christmas holiday, we think many of our friends and clients might be looking for some gift ideas for people who might not be so easy to buy gifts for. I humbly suggest honoring them with a donation, in their name, to a nonprofit organization fighting hunger, financial hardship, and abuse in some of our world’s poorest places.
Earlier this year, I found out about a nonprofit organization named KIVA that essentially makes small business loans to entrepreneurs around the world who serve populations in dire poverty. I contributed to a loan for a 48-year-old mother of 15 in Cameroon named Atanga.
According to information posted on the organization’s website (Kiva.org), Atanga is using the money for the following:
Given a loan, she will continue doing crop cultivation and pig farming. She will also fry gateaux. She thinks these businesses will succeed because they are very profitable and also because she has the necessary experience in them. This … activity will be of great help to the community in that the sale of manure from her piggery will help to increase yield on farms in her locality. It will also provide employment opportunities for retailers who will buy food stuffs from her to retail.
KIVA has several other loan-making opportunities, and when people pay back the loan, you can keep it in your KIVA account to roll-over into another nonprofit opportunity serving people and communities around the world.
The San Francisco-based nonprofit envisions “a world where all people—even in the most remote areas of the globe—hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.” They “believe providing safe, affordable access to capital to those in need helps people create better lives for themselves and their families.”
What I like most about KIVA is that their mission for a sustainable world very closely mirrors our own for education. We envision schools where all people, even in urban, suburban, and rural districts, from the poorest towns to the most affluent suburbs, hold a creativity where they can develop opportunity for themselves, locally.
We believe providing a website where access to shared knowledge, lesson plans, and even student contributions by all education stakeholders will create better schools—and better lives—for students and their families, now and in their future.
There are many women’s rights groups working in Africa, in locations like South Africa and the sub-Saharan nation-states, where rights for women are severely limited. However, the fact that these organizations get so much attention caused us to direct our focus on human and community development this year.
Based in New York, the International Rescue Committee, here, features a way that $52 can supply the tuition, books, and other materials to send a young Afghan girl to school for a full year. This will help give her the chance of a better, brighter life.
Sometimes crises force parents to make tough decisions about sending their children to school, and young girls must stay home. But in places like Afghanistan, girls’ schooling is critical: educated girls become smart, strong women committed to leading their communities toward recovery and peace. The organization helped more than 210,000 girls attend school in 2011, many for the first time.
FAIR Girls, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit focusing on the elimination of sex trafficking, tries to accomplish its mission of education and empowerment by giving girls opportunities to become confident, happy, healthy young women.
They provide prevention education, compassionate care, and survivor-inclusive advocacy to prevent the exploitation of girls in Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, Uganda, and the US, with a special emphasis on girls who have experienced homelessness, life inside the foster care system, sexual abuse, and trafficking.
New York Times columnist Nicholas D Kristof wrote about FAIR Girls in March, and the story moved me to a point of trying to help as I could. One of its founders, Andrea Powell, travels to dangerous areas and looks at disgusting websites to search for enslaved girls. She’s fearless against pimps and has been occasionally successful in prying girls out of the sex trade.
On the website, you can also buy jewelry items as gifts, and your purchase will also support FAIR Girls’ nonprofit work.