When the holidays roll around we begin to make long lists of gifts for friends and relatives. We especially think of the children in our lives and want to make them smile on Christmas morning. But we also know that all around the world there is terrific want and suffering. People don’t have decent places to live, enough to eat, clean water to drink or the privilege of attending school.
There are thousands of organizations around the world that work to diminish human suffering. Why not use the holidays as a time to educate your family about some of the ways they can make a positive difference in another person’s life? Why not choose to give to an organization that has spent their time and energies making it possible to help those in need?
The following are organizations that aren’t as well known as some of the larger ones but are highly reputable. All gifts made to their work are tax deductible. You already know about the Red Cross, World Vision and many other fine organizations. Here are five smaller organizations totally dedicated to working toward a better world, one person at a time. Most have websites on which you can give your gifts directly. Take the opportunity to give the gift of hope this Christmas season.
She is Safe is an organization dedicated to restoring the lives of girls and women who have been exploited and abused. Based in the U.S., this organization helps thousands of girls all around the world in high-risk locations. They place rescued girls in safe houses where they are free to study and dream of a future. They are taken out of slavery and sex trafficking, and saved from childhood marriages. They are treated for illnesses such as HIV/Aids and other diseases. www.sheissafe.org
Forward Edge International is a relief organization sending teams to disaster sites. They work to clean and rebuild homes, churches and schools all over the world. In areas deeply affected by poverty and illness, Forward Edge also has established long-term projects to house children safely. They provide meals, clothing, medical care and safe water to children and pay their school fees while taking care of them. They have homes for children in Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua and on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. www.forwardedge.org
Shared Hope International works to eradicate sex trafficking and to restore its victims to a new life. The organization got its beginning when founder Linda Smith toured the brothels of Mumbai, India in 1998. She immediately began to provide housing in safe homes where a new life could begin for these girls caught in the web of sexual slavery. The organization now works worldwide to educate, lobby for appropriate laws, and provide safe housing and education for young girls. Shared Hope works in the U.S., Fiji Islands, Nepal, India and Jamaica. www.sharedhope.org
The Girl Baby Home of Chennai, India is simply a young couple living in Chennai, India. They are addressing the issue of female infanticide by rescuing baby girls one by one. This little home has taken in fourteen little girl babies and is raising them in safety and love. In India and elsewhere girl babies are seen as bad luck and as a financial drain on the family, thus many are killed at birth. The Girl Baby Home seeks to educate Hindu families on the value of human life and to help find safe housing for unwanted baby girls. www.girlbabyhome.com
Oceans of Grace in Hubli, Karnataka, India trains women to begin small businesses to feed and educate their children. Classes in sewing, candle-making, detergent making and other small business concepts are taught in poverty-stricken villages. In addition Oceans of Grace makes small loans available to women with a business plan. Women who can generate modest income can give their children a good education and feed them nutritious meals. Donations to Oceans of Grace can be made at www.onehandfulofrice.org.
The holidays are a joyous family time. Giving to those less fortunate in our big world is a good way of sharing the joy by lessening the suffering one small gift at a time.