Saturday, November 14, 2009

Charity Choices

Deciding which charity or charities to give to is quite the undertaking.
How do you decide? No matter how wide-ranging the charity you choose
you'll be leaving out large segments of the population.

Every week another request for funds comes in the mail: Red Cross,
Easter Seals, War Amps, World Vision, FH Canada etc etc.
Every week at school fundraising is going on: Jesse's Journey,
The Humane Society, Run for the Cure - there's just no end to it.

The choices I made about which charities I want to support have come out of my
trip to Jamaica. I started
with giving toys to a new daycare called "Happy Feet Daycare".
While in Jamaica I met with a government official whose portfolio covered
both education and Aids. I felt my heart strings being tugged the hardest by
those children who were HIV+ through no fault of their own and
for whom there was no place to go. No one wants them - there is still huge

fear and stigmatism in Jamaica for those known to be HIV+ and most end up on the
street. In Jamaica testing for aids in mothers-to-be is not mandatory
as it is here in Canada. Thus an infected mother passes the virus
on to her baby through the process of giving birth or by
breastfeeding. I also found out that there is a strong
correlation between domestic violence and women contracting HIV.

Women are unable to say "no" to their sexual partner because
of the fear of being beaten up and the fear of losing the person who supports
them financially. Culturally it is
expected that they
will submit.

So my choices became clear. I want to direct my support
to women and children who are: hungry, poor and living with
the HIV virus or living in fear of contracting it.
I want to help women get on their feet financially so that
they don't have to be dependent on someone who may beat them. I
want to help them get the medical care and preventative information
that could save their lives. I want to help children get an education.
And I want to feed them because
the need for food for over 1 billion chronically hungry
people is immediate and desperate.
(making micro loans to women to start up a business)
(feeding the most vulnerable/aids)
(campaign for female education/aids)
(United Nations programme on HIV/Aids)

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