Saturday, June 02, 2007

Charity

A recent discussion at Triton's about giving to charity sparked this post. Specifically what was mentioned was how LiveAid hasn't helped Africa at all despite the tens of millions given. It is truly sad to see people with such good intentions having their money go not for good, but to enforce the status quo there. But there are good charities. Ones that are responsible with their funds and do a good work for the communities that they serve.

Two of the greatest needs every man has is nutritious food and clean water, but these two things are lacking in many parts of the world. Due to droughts, disease, pollution, poor economies and oppressive governments many people of the world don't have these two basic building blocks of life. The following two charities address these problems admirably.

Heifer Project International
Founder Dan West came up with the idea while giving milk to hungry children during the Spanish Civil War. He realized “These children don’t need a cup, they need a cow.” So in 1944 the first shipment of heifers left the shores of the United States bound for needy families abroad. But HPI doesnt just give animals. They train the families to properly care for the animals, and as part of the agreement they must give an offspring to another family that they also train. The families then have a source of income and nutrition.

HPI gives different animals depending upon the region and need. They also provide superior specimens to help diversify the local population and because they are more productive. Examples of animals are cattle, oxen, goats, rabbits, chickens and even bees. All are viable way of improving the quality of life for people across the world.

Water Missions International
WMI was created to bring clean water to people in areas where clean water simply isn't available. Here in America it is rather hard to comprehend that people don't have access to clean water but there are approximately 1.2 billion people who don't. This lack of clean water kills as many as 9 million people every year due to water borne illnesses. Aside from the possibility of death, there is a near assurance of illness due to this lack of clean water. WMI focuses on simple solutions that can be easily maintained and powered by the community. Like HPI, Water Missions also focuses on training the community. WMI teaches the people of the importance of clean water for drinking and cooking and also trains two members of the community to maintain the unit so there is never a need to bring someone in to service their mini-utilities. Each unit can provide clean water for up to 3000 people, some 10,000 gallons a day.

There are others who perform a similar mission such as WaterHealth International altho WaterHealth seems to be just as focused as providing a business (not to say that is wrong, just not necessarily charity)

I would strongly encourage anyone looking to give to a charity to consider these. Make a difference in many peoples lives by giving the gift of life. And you can rest assured that your donation is actually going to what you thought it would.

I would be remiss without mentioning shelter. Obviously this is also of great importance. Habitat For Humanity does an excellent job of providing low cost housing (altho not free, housing in some countries costs as little as $800) If you guys know of others I will post them here.