It’s a sad fact of life that there are an abundance of countries around the world where people endure a standard of living that doesn’t meet modern expectations. The lack of running water, lengthy walks in unbearable heat to source food, and unsanitary conditions leave populations prone to severe and often traumatic crises that elevate them to worldwide status. While problems are often created by lack of knowledge and education or lack of equipment and experience, there are sadly a number of large scale natural disasters that hit unexpectedly and reduce previously modern and often technologically advanced communities, to basic conditions.
In an attempt to counter these problems, numerous charities advertise for volunteer help, from local issues to worldwide concerns. But with so many on the lookout for assistance, how do you choose the one that you’re going to sign up with? It may seem a little cruel, but you have to be selective when it comes to picking your chosen charity. There are simply too many out there for you to help them all.
Choosing by Problem
Are you big on helping the poorest people in the worlds most impoverished countries escape from the long term issues they face, or do you feel more of an urge to get off the sofa and raise money for a challenge that you have a personal connection to? It can be difficult to ignore the plight of people who have suffered loss through natural disasters of lack of modernisation because their issues are emblazoned on every TV channel around the world, but it’s even harder to ignore a charity that’s close to your heart. You’ll be more on board with raising money or giving up your time if you feel a special connection to the charity you work with, so don’t ignore the smaller, under subsidised causes that don’t often get into the limelight if they call out to you.
Home or Away
Depending upon how much time you have available, and if you’re prepared to travel or not, you might be able to make a decision based upon whether you want to help a charitable cause that’s local to you or on the other side of the world. The greatest need is generally abroad, where long term problems which aren’t likely to be resolved quickly, and tend to exist in countries like Cambodia and Kenya. If you want to volunteer abroad then you could find yourself working in local communities or replenishing supplies with major charities. On the other hand, working with a charity at home will see you make a real difference in your local area. There’s work available in charity shops or children’s centre, to name but a few types of meaningful work, and you’ll be able to fit the work in around your current commitments.
Long Distance Assistance
If you want to help but simply can’t afford the time, then you’re looking at charitable donations with the aim of having other people do good work with your money. Most large charities have a monthly donation scheme where the money they collect is pooled into large projects that are designed to help as many people as possible, from digging wells to teaching communities about cultivation. For the personal touch, you can sponsor an individual child living in a third world country. A little bit of research on the internet will take you to any number of orphanages with kids who simply can’t afford to get an education. Kenya is one example, where kids are now all entitled to a free education, but are only allowed into school if they’re wearing the school uniform and have all their own books, most of which they can’t afford. And if you decide later on that you’d like to do some work abroad, then these orphanages are always happy to have their sponsors come out to visit, to get hands on and to see exactly where their money is going.
Fiona Galloway is a travel writer who does work abroad in Kenya with a local charity.
Image Courtesy: Microsoft