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Personalized desks at the CHETI school. copy

Photo by Alison Fraser

Anne Frank once said “No one has ever become poor by giving”. What a beautiful thought to keep in mind as we celebrate Giving Tuesday on December 3rd of this year. The act of giving can do wonders for a person’s spirit, soul and general well-being. Whether you give time, financial support, a lending hand, a listening ear or encouraging words, the act of giving is unique in that it often benefits the giver as much, or even more, than the receiver. This is something that I can attest to now more than ever before.

A few weeks ago, I visited Tanzania. I run a small Canadian Not for Profit Organization that works to fund the educational needs of women and children in and around Arusha. This was my first trip to Tanzania and the first time to meet all of the wonderful families that are involved in my organization. Helping these families has always made me feel good. I always felt like it was an equal partnership where I would provide financial assistance through fundraising in Canada and the Tanzanian women and children would allow me a glimpse into their life from afar. However, what I realized from spending ten days with these amazing people is that the partnership really isn’t equal at all. In fact, I truly believe that what I have received from these incredibly strong, spiritual, kind, compassionate and caring families is much more than what I have given them.

Making new friends - Alison and Caren! copy

The author with a student in Tanzania.

Let me explain how the power of giving has changed my life. I donate countless hours of time to help those in the Mom2Mom Africa organization. Why? It makes me happy.

It fulfills me in ways that I can’t explain. I feel a sense of purpose, like I am making a difference, albeit very small, but nonetheless, a difference in the world. My charity work completes me and makes me feel like a whole person. I can’t explain why…it just does. But, the ten days that I spent in Tanzania last month, visiting families and spending time at the schools has changed my life forever. I have never experienced anything so powerful in all of my life. Yes, I gave up family time to spend in Tanzania and I gave up quite a bit financially to pay for the trip. But, NOTHING could prepare me for what I was given in return. My life has been changed by simply spending time with these families over the course of my time in Africa. They breathed fresh air and a new life into me by just being themselves. Their sense of community, their compassion towards one another, and their love of life despite many struggles has inspired me in ways that I still have yet to process and understand. The power of giving has never been more apparent to me. It can change lives. It has changed mine.

Today, on Giving Tuesday, I am begging you to give of yourself. Whether it be time, a lending hand or financial assistance…give.

Give to someone who may need your help, whether it be across the ocean or right in your backyard. What you will get back in return will outweigh what you have given. I can promise you that. Giving of oneself has the power to change the world in so many ways. It is reciprocal. What you put into giving, will come back to you in abundance.

That is the power of giving. Giving changes all lives involved. As Anne Frank also said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world”. So give. Change the world. You can do it. What may seem like a small act of giving can mean a world of difference to someone else.

On this Giving Tuesday, consider helping a family in Tanzania  by purchasing a personalized desk for our schools, school uniforms, or school textbooks. You will bring a smile to the face of a child in Tanzania.  And that, I guarantee, will bring a smile to your face, as well! Happy Giving Tuesday!

How do you plan to give back this Giving Tuesday?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog Written by Alison Fraser.

Alison Fraser

Alison Fraser is the mother of three young girls ranging in age from 5 to 9 years old. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Alison works as an Environmental Toxicologist with a human environment consulting company and is an active member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). She is also the founder and director of the Canadian Not for Profit Organization, Mom2Mom Africa, which serves to fund the school fees of children and young women in rural Tanzania. Recently recognized and awarded a "Women of Waterloo Region" award, Alison is very involved in charitable events within her community including Christmas Toy and School Backpack Drives for the local foodbank.

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