Looking to support a new charity or challenge yourself in the name of a good cause in 2012?
Gulf For Good In 2012, this local fundraising organisation will be running a new series of exciting (and likely exhausting) challenges, which will see adventurous participants travel to a variety of exotic locations around the world to raise money for numerous charities supporting disadvantaged children. Sign-up starts immediately, and the race will be on to raise the necessary Dhs18,000 in sponsorship money to participate in the first ‘Wild Wall Challenge’ along the Great Wall of China. Other challenges throughout the year include a trek up Kilimanjaro in July, an expedition through Transylvania in August and a hike and cycle through Myanmar in October. An information evening will be held on January 18 in Dubai – keep an eye on the website for venue info. www.gulf4good.org Himalayan Cataract Project A team from the Tilganga Eye Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal, are looking to raise Dhs146,000 for a project that will help them establish a remote outreach eye camp in the Himalayas, screening between 1,000 and 5,000 patients. While there, the team hopes to restore eyesight to between 200 and 800 people in Nepal, Tibet, China, Bhutan and Northern India through cataract surgery, while working with local medical personnel to provide training for future and further cases. Restored sight will allow the local people (many of whom have families in precarious financial situations) to return to work. For more information and to make a donation, visit Justgiving and search for ‘Himalayan Cataract Project’. www.justgiving.com
Mayan Families This small, non-profit organisation supports a number of families through its project in the highlands of Guatemala. Funded entirely by public donations, the group helps the community through a variety of initiatives, including a sewing project that helps women to generate their own income by training them in the use of sewing machines, as well as teaching them financial literacy and life skills in order to help them make the most of their new vocation. The group also offers microloans to help women start their own businesses, as well as providing basic family aid through items such as water filters, fuel-efficient stoves and food. English and Spanish speakers can help out from anywhere in the world by translating English and Spanish documents and web pages, or just fund the purchase of items through the organisation’s online portal. www.mayanfamilies.org
Omwaana Ono Omwaana Ono, which means ‘This Child’ in Lugosa, one of the indigenous languages in Uganda, is building a girls’ school in Nabitende. At present, children in the village walk more than 45 minutes to get to school, where they are squeezed into classrooms with between 80 and 120 other pupils. The final school will house 350 girls, in classes of 30 students, and will contain a well and medical clinic. The whole project will cost around Dhs1.28 million. In many developing countries, girls are the ones who are most likely to drop out of education, instead taking on household tasks or caring for younger siblings. The group, organised by a team of Western women working with the Ugandan group Inner Wheel, believe that women who receive education are more likely to educate their own children. Working with Ugandans, there is also a sewing programme, training women past school age in valuable skills. Why not donate a sewing machine for the organisation’s programme? Machines are purchased in Africa, but you can sponsor one directly. www.omwaanaono.org
Sleeping Children Around the World Now in its 40th year, the organisation provides bed kits to children of all races and religions around the world. Founded by Canadians Murray and Margaret Dryden in 1970, today they have raised more than Dhs84 million and helped kids in 33 countries – their millionth child received a bed kit in 2009. The kits contain a mattress – something many of the children have never had – plus a set of clothes, a pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net (if applicable), towel and school supplies, and other items depending on the local needs. Items are purchased in the country where the bedkits are distributed, so not only are the kids benefiting, but local manufacturers are as well. With zero overheads and 100 per cent of donations reaching people in need, the Dhs125 cost of the kit goes a long way. You can also volunteer to travel overseas to help distribute bed kits. www.scaw.org