I fucking hate Christmas. It's a three month long celebration of commercialism centred around a myth. With that in mind, as in previous years, I've decided to ask my friends not to buy me stuff this year, but instead to spend any money they would have used to buy me a present that'll do some good in the world. My wife and I sponsor a child in Africa through Plan International, a wholly secular organisation doing good works where it's needed, regardless of religion, and without wasting any of the money given to them indoctrinating children into foreign religions. They have a selection of gifts you can buy for disadvantaged children all over the world at a range of prices. Here are some of my suggestions for things you might like to purchase for them on my behalf this festive season, please demonstrate your goodwill to all men (and women obviously) by not buying me something I don't need, and instead giving to those do really need stuff.
P.S. Plan's wish list feature is a bit rubbish and won't tell me that you've given anything on my behalf. I'll just assume that my friends have given something and that other people haven't, but if you would like to let me know what you've given, please feel free to post a comment on this blog.
Merry Mythmas everyone. :)
Register a child (includes mosquito net)
Give a child an identity. In Burkina Faso, if a child isn’t registered at birth, they are not officially recognised. This means they won’t be able to receive any health care, urgent medical treatment, go to school, own their own land or vote. Just £6 will give two children birth certificates and a big mosquito net to help protect them from malaria.
This gift will provide one child at school in the Philippines with three text books, covering Maths, English and Science. As a result, the quality of their education will be greatly improved. They’ll no longer have to share with lots of other children in their class, making the learning process much more enjoyable.
Water for school children
Give a child in Ethiopia access to safe, clean water at school. This gift will help to install water systems in two primary schools, providing safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. Children will no longer have to travel long distances during lesson time to fetch water and will be less likely to catch water borne diseases from a dirty source.
Sight for sore eyes
Give the gift of sight to two children in Nepal. They will be screened for eye problems and receive treatment they may need in the form of glasses or medicine. What’s more, you’ll also be helping to set up and maintain special eye clinics which make these much-needed tests possible.
Chickens for change
Give a family in Uganda a feathered friend. This cracking gift will provide a family with a hen or cock and training on how to keep livestock. By breeding the chickens and selling their produce, the family will be able to earn an income. Plus the eggs will help to improve the diet and health of the children.
Be a life saver. Help to improve the health of young children and their families in Burkina Faso. This precious gift will not only immunise 30 villagers from meningitis. It will also help to raise awareness of the importance of meningitis vaccinations throughout the communities.
Accessible education for girls
Help give girls in Nepal better access to education. This special gift provides a girl with essential materials for a whole year and includes text books, school bags and stationery. If parents can’t provide these basic materials children can’t go to school and where there are several children, it’s often the son’s education that takes priority. This gift will give girls the same opportunities.
"Little doctor" training
This gift will provide 2 children with special healthcare lessons in Niger, so they can promote better personal hygiene, first aid and healthcare practises in their school. Teachers will be given lesson materials and training on these subjects, as well as the child to child teaching approach. The children will be encouraged to pass on their knowledge and will be able to use the school health and hygiene kit provided.
Fruit tree seedlings
Help a child to grow. By learning how to grow trees from seedlings, Ugandan children and their families will eat more fruit, improve their health and even earn an income by selling the surplus produce. Every child receives 20 seedlings and the community as a whole gets agricultural management training.
Food for thought. This gift will provide 50 nutritious school dinners for girls in Sierra Leone who have been left vulnerable with little or no family after the civil war. This is a vital part in a project that aims to give girls their final years of education and board, before they are old enough to leave. It will provide them with more chance of getting a job and having a safer future.
Help malnourished children have a better chance of survival. This gift will help to buy cows, goats, chickens and ducks for families in the Philippines, providing eggs and milk as well as a source of income. They will be trained on the care and management of these animals. And community-based enterprises will be set up, so that they will be able to generate a shared income across families.
After-school education for girls
Help send girls in Senegal to the top of the class. This gift will provide a practical opportunity for girls who have missed out on education and want to catch up with their learning and maximise their potential in their community. It will encourage girls to stay in school and acquire basic skills, as well as allowing them to achieve some educational independence.
Keep a family fit and well in Pakistan with safe drinking water. This gift gives one family access to a safe local source of water by helping their community to build a well, fitted with hand pumps. They'll also learn how to look after and maintain it. Women and children won't have to travel for miles to get water for basic household use and having safe drinking water will help to prevent disease.
Tools for teaching
Give teachers the tools to teach. In Indonesia teachers need tools and training to encourage a child’s educational development. It will help them achieve better results and make lessons more interesting. This wonderful gift provides books, school supplies, play and art materials and teacher training activities.
Vocational training for girls
Improve girls’ lives in Bangladesh. This gift will help to increase their chances of employment, as well as their earning potential, by allowing them to take part in a structured vocational training programme. Not only will they learn a new skill – either dressmaking or electronic technology. They’ll also receive expert support to help them get a job at the end of the programme.
Along with Sponsorship, Plan’s Forgotten Children programme is one of the ways in which people support our work with children through monthly contributions. This special gift is unique because it runs for a whole year and gives support to a range of projects focussed on helping children in extremely vulnerable circumstances, such as those who have been trafficked into illegal labour or are living and working on the streets.
It also includes the opportunity for your friend or family member to receive two updates on some of the projects they have supported during the year, to see how their gift is really helping.
Support a school for disabled children
Help a school for disabled children in Tanzania. You could give these children a much richer school experience by providing specialist help and equipment. Your gift will help to improve the facilities at a school for disabled children and provide specialist teaching aids for children with special needs.