A Global Day of Giving! #GivingTuesday

A Global Day of Giving! #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday was created to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. It has become an international movement around the holidays dedicated to giving, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now synonymous with holiday shopping.

After the frenzied commercialism of Black Friday sales (that now last through the weekend) and the inundation of Cyber Monday e-mails, Giving Tuesday provides a way to make sure we give as good as we get.

Giving Tuesday has become an international phenomenon, and for North Americans it’s an opportunity to harness all of the grateful energy amassed over Thanksgiving and transform it directly into the spirit of helping others.  It feels like this year more than ever we are reminded that family, good health, a place to call home, security, access to clean water, and food to eat are not things to be taken for granted.  If you are reading this chances are that you have the good fortune to live in a place where food security, education, and housing are the norm. It is basic humanity to extend a hand if we can and there are so many positive ways to give back, and celebrate the true meaning of “The Giving Season”.

Here are a few organizations doubling donations today and working to make the world a better place on #GivingTuesday:

Heifer Project International

What We Do – Heifer International from Heifer International on Vimeo.

African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is having a GivingTwos-day! Donations will be doubled today and these animals need our help!

Shot@Life

Shot At Life – UNF, Honduras, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Photo Credit: Stuart Ramson

One of the greatest investments we can make in global health is to vaccinate children against vaccine preventable diseases. The impact is undeniable as demonstrated in this Impact Report by Shot@life.

MAM, has agreed to match all donations dollar-for-dollar to shot@life this #GivingTuesday and Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have teamed up to match up to $2 million in funds for nonprofits. To have your donation to Shot@Life matched, donate through Shot@Life’s Facebook Page.

WaterAid

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Atalay

Water is life, plain and simple. This #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to double your impact an provide clean water to families and villages around the world who do not have something most of us take for granted. Clean water.

Save The Children

Children are our future and often the innocent victims in man-made conflicts and natural disasters alike.

Photo Credit: Save The Children/ Victoria Zegler

Happy Giving! What other organizations you are supporting this Giving Tuesday? Please let us know!

This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Elizabeth Atalay.

Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.

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USA: Today Is World Polio Day 2017

USA: Today Is World Polio Day 2017

Last year I spoke at the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Summit to a room of almost 200 advocates for global vaccines from all over the country. I had a story to tell, as many of us do, though you might not know it. The story of how Polio touched the lives of so many goes back a couple of generations for most Americans, people forget how terrifying it was, was but if you speak with anyone who grew up before the Polio vaccine became available and mention the word Polio you can watch their eyes grow wide at the memory of the fear that gripped this nation. Try it. Ask your grandmother or grandfather, and I bet they have a story for you about how it touched their lives. This is the story I told:

“Every story begins and ends with a woman, a mother, a grandmother, a girl, a child, . Every story is a birth”….- Ishmael Beah Author of Long Way Gone & Radiance of Tomorrow & UNICEF Advocate

As a storyteller, and a mother to my four children that quote by Ishmael Beah really touches me. Because before I was a mother, I was of course a daughter. And the story of why I am here speaking to you today begins with her. my mother was born in 1922 , she was 45 when I was born, and a polio survivor. She stood all of 5’2” at a tilt, since Polio had left her with one leg slightly shorter than the other.

Eventually I would come to tower over her at 5’9″, and now that I am a mother myself I muse at how odd it must have been to have ended up with a daughter so much taller. While I was still a daughter, and before I became a mother, I was a traveler. I still think about the mothers who approached me as a westerner in my early twenties and held out their babies to me asking for medicine or a cure. If those babies survived they would be in their mid-twenties now, and surely not all did survive. Knowing what I know now I wish I could go back in time with a bag of medical supplies and give them whatever they needed, because the pleading looks in those mother’s eyes haunt me to this day.

I never was a mother and a daughter at the same time. My mother passed away four months before my own first child was born. Though she had told me stories about having Polio as a child it never really resonated with me in the way it did once I became a mother myself. How terrified my grandmother must have been of losing her. And to be honest I hadn’t really reflected on those mothers I met as a backpacker in my 20’s until I became a mother myself, and then I remembered that helpless feeling I was left with when I did not know what to do to help them. When I joined shot@life as a champion in 2013 I was so grateful to finally have the opportunity to DO SOMETHING. To honor my mother’s legacy as a Polio Survivor, and to help the mothers that I know are out there in developing countries desperate for proper healthcare, for lifesaving vaccines for their children that every mother should have access to.

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As excited as I was to join Shot@Life I have to confess that had I known that I was going to be visiting my government representatives on capitol hill that first year I attended the summit, I may never have joined. I had never done anything like that before. Yet, the next thing I knew I was hoofing it around capitol hill (in the wrong shoes…I might add…) advocating for Shot@life with my congressmen and Senators. I brought the messaging back to my community and realized how much work is still to be done just in terms of  awareness alone. There is so much misinformation and lack of awareness out there on vaccines.

In this country we take it for granted that our babies will not die from a simple case of diarrhea, but mothers in countries where they lack access to vaccines have lost, or know someone who has lost a baby to a vaccine preventable disease.

Every 20 seconds a baby dies from a vaccine preventable disease, mothers will walk for days to get vaccines when they can for their children. I realized there is a huge need to get the message out to the public.

So what can YOU do to make sure every child gets a fair Shot@life no matter where they are born?

  1. Become a United Nations Foundation Shot@Life Champion, as a Champion here are a few ways to reach out to make an impact in your community that can ripple around the globe:
  2. Contact or visit your local representatives and tell them that you care about their support of global health and global vaccines, and ask them to support these programs as well.
  3.  Hold a party to get the word out, if you don’t want to do it in your home there are so many companies that offer fun alternatives. In my community stores like Alex & Ani,  Pinkberry, and Flatbread Pizza will help you have a party on site to fundraise for your event.
  4. Speak to local clubs, a local new neighbors club, Rotary or General Federation of Women’s Clubs
  5. Hold an event at your child’s school or set up a booth during an international fair, take the opportunity to work the importance of vaccines into the broader issue of global awareness.
  6. Use social media as a messaging tool for good by following and sharing information through Shot@Life social channels, Write op-eds, letters to the editor, blog posts, or articles for your local paper or magazine.

For World Pneumonia Day in November of 2015 I was paired up with Pediatrician Dr Mkope from Tanzania and at the National Press Club in Washington, DC we did over 20 radio and TV interviews! It was a great feeling knowing that the message of the importance of vaccines, with real life proof of efficacy from Dr. Mkope, was being broadcast so far and wide. At shot@life we say “a virus is just a plane ride away”, and in a perfect example of this ever shrinking world, it turned out that Dr. Mkope is the pediatrician of the one friend I know in Tanzania.

Polio is still known to exist in only three countries in the world, the World Health Organization predicts that, with vaccines, it will be eradicated soon.

Every story is a birth, for my mother who survived Polio, for the mothers I met in central Africa with the pleading eyes, for my children and my children’s children, what I have learned as a Shot@Life Champion is that we have the opportunity to shape this narrative on global health, together lets write this story to end with no child dying unnecessarily from a vaccine preventable disease.

 

A version of this post previously appeared on Documama.org

Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.

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2014 Highlights…and We’re off on Blogcation!

2014 Highlights…and We’re off on Blogcation!

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Season’s Greetings Readers!

As the end of December approaches, so does the end 2014. We would like to thank YOU, for joining us and coming along for the ride over this past year.  You…sharing our posts, posting comments, and interacting with us on social media…THAT is what keeps us going!

This past year has been another amazing one for World Moms Blog (WMB).  As we touch on some highlights from 2014, you will see that these world moms get around!

After all that, we are getting ready to take a blogcation break to spend time with family, friends, and re-energize for 2015.  We hope that you will get the chance to do the same.  And if you find yourself looking for something to read, come on by and catch up on posts you may have missed in 2014!

Wishing you all a joyful end of the year.  Come back on Monday, January 5th to help us kick off 2015.

Cheers!

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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SOCIAL GOOD: World Moms Social Good Fellows & #Blogust Bloggers

SOCIAL GOOD: World Moms Social Good Fellows & #Blogust Bloggers

We are so proud that three World Moms have been selected this year to be United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellows and to take part in #Blogust to benefit Shot@Life.  Two other World Moms also wrote posts for #Blogust as Shot@Life Champions.  #Blogust is a social good relay sponsored by Walgreens to benefit the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign which provides life saving vaccines to children around the world.

World Moms Blog Social Good Fellows

World Moms Advocating for Global Health: Nicole Morgan from “Sisters from Another Mister”, Jennifer Burden (World Moms Blog Founder), and Nicole Melancon of “Thirdeyemom” will all be heading to NYC this September as Social Good Fellows with the UN Foundation.

Every child deserves a Shot@Life, and we at World Moms Blog are thrilled to be able to use our voices for social good. Each day for the month of August one writer will share their story of Happy & Healthy Firsts.  Every time a post is commented on or shared on social media a vaccine is donated by Walgreens to a child in need. We encourage you to read, comment on, and share our posts, and know that when you do, you are using your voice for social good as well.

United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellows & #Blogust Bloggers:

Nicole Morgan on the Shot@Life Blog:  “Honored and humbled to be among 25 Social Good Fellows chosen by the United Nations Foundation and shot@life for Blogust 2014 because social good is dear to my heart and teaches my girls to pay it forward. Accountability and looking out for others is part of day to day parenting.” Read More…

Jennifer Burden on World Moms Blog:So, tell me now, have you ever experienced any “firsts” growing up that were better than you ever expected or were highly impressionable on who you are today?  Many highly anticipated first experiences often come and go forgotten or don’t really mean anything today in retrospect, right?  But, here’s a story of one first in my life that made an impact, and I admit to even going back for more!  It’s not chocolate, but could have been chocolate, but no, it wasn’t.” Read More…..

Nicole Melancon on the Shot@Life Blog: “We all remember the firsts: those monumental moments that shape your life and those around you. The moments that take your breath away. The first word. The first step. The first “I love you”. The first day of school. The first kiss. The first goodbye. Firsts that impact our journeys down the long and sinuous path of life.”Read More…..

Shot@Life Champions:

Sarah Hughs on Finnegan and the Hughes: “Today is my birthday!  It’s a big day and my last year before I start a new age group, 40 and up!  It’s my first time ever turning 39.  I think 39 is a milestone.  I have heard many that claim to have turned 39 over and over again. It’s funny how they never get to 40.  I’m ok with the big 4-0 and have decided I will celebrate and be proud of 40 because that is a huge milestone!” Read More…..

Elizabeth Atalay on Documama: “This is my first time. My first time letting go. My oldest child goes off to school in another state next week, and I have to admit, I’m having a tough time with that. The thought that for the first time in her life she will not be living under our roof. For the first time I have to trust her to the outside world. For the first time I won’t be right there for her for whatever she needs, and let’s face it, I can’t check on her whenever I need for my own piece of mind.” Read More….

Nicole Morgan on Sisters from Another Mister: “Blogging has blessed my life more than I ever could have imagined. It started as a way to kill time while waiting on my younger homeschooler, in lieu of my then obsession with Farmville … (and OMGawsh reading thro the comments from that post reminds me of the great friendships born) altho as for games, now whisper quietly”. Read More…

Nicole Melancon on ThirdeyeMom: “I’m honored that my Shot@Life post “Blogust: Reaching Firsts and Making a Difference” is live today on the United Nations Foundation’s website. Blogust is a month-long digital dialogue, bringing more than 25 of the most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life champions (me!) together to help change the world through their words and imagery throughout the month of August. For every comment and/or social media share, Walgreens will donate one life-saving vaccine to a child in need around the world.” Read More…

AND, WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!

World Mom, Cindy Levin, the Anti-Poverty Mom, has an appointment this week with US Representative Wagner’s Office in Missouri this week to lobby for life-saving vaccines. Way to put things into action, Cindy!!

During Shot@Life’s Blogust 2014—a month-long blog relay—some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share stories about Happy and Healthy Firsts. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or share them via social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, Walgreens will donate one vaccine (up to 60,000).  Blogust is one part an overall commitment of Walgreens donating up to $1 million through its “Get a Shot. Give a Shot” campaign. The campaign will help provide millions of vaccines for children in need around the world. Today’s #Blogust post is by our friend and photographer Anne Geddes!

Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.

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#BLOGUST: A First School Trip to the UN

#BLOGUST: A First School Trip to the UN

World Moms Blog has a long history of advocating for global vaccinations with the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, and we are honored to host a post for their #Blogust campaign going on this month! The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness for vaccinations for the children who need them most. Every comment on this post will unlock one donated vaccine for a child.  And don’t stop there — every social media share counts, too!  You can visit all the posts in the relay at www.blogust.org

So, tell me now, have you ever experienced any “firsts” growing up that were better than you ever expected or were highly impressionable on who you are today?  Many highly anticipated first experiences often come and go forgotten or don’t really mean anything today in retrospect, right?  But, here’s a story of one first in my life that made an impact, and I admit to even going back for more!  It’s not chocolate, but could have been chocolate, but no, it wasn’t.

Ok, here goes…My age was only 14. I boarded a big yellow school bus to travel to the great big city to my first international summit. And I left with a new perspective on what one person, one child, in fact, could have on the world. This is the story of my first trip to the UN in New York city and how I wound up there as a teenager…

Growing up on the Atlantic coast in New Jersey, USA, it’s common to spend many days on the beautiful sandy shores of my home state and playing in the surf.  What was not to love back then?

The pollution, that’s what.

Back in the 1990s, plastic bags, straws, cans, plastic tampon applicators, you name it — all washed up on our beaches.  Beaches were closed after hypodermic needles arrived on our shores with other hospital waste.  We were swimming in this dangerous mess, and as a species, we were not only endangering our fellow humans, but recklessly damaging a habitat that marine life called home.

The pollution and lack of empathy to preserve our planet drove me nuts!

So, as a teenager I wound up joining a local environmental advocacy group to help raise awareness about the importance to keep our oceans clean and attended their beach clean ups.  At a meeting back in 1990 they gave us the news that the UN would be hosting an environmental summit for youth in New York City.  I had to go — the UN!  The environment!!  Yes!!!

I took the information about the youth summit to my high school principal and made the case that our school should be represented.  On the day of the summit, my school, Brick Memorial High School, had a delegation en route with our amazing science teacher, Mrs. Kingman.

We were wide-eyed while entering the famous main UN room with seats and labels for delegations from each country. It was a place where decisions were made on human rights, trade, embargos, and we sat down and took to playing with the microphone systems (so hard to resist!). We looked around at all the other students, both, similar and different to us.  We didn’t know what to expect from the event, and as it got started, out came speaker after speaker — all kids like us, at the time, from around the world. They spoke of environmental issues affecting the areas they lived in and what was needed or what they were doing to make a difference.

At the UN's environmental youth summit in the 1990s.

At the UN’s environmental youth summit in the 1990s.

Back in the early 1990s at the UN youth environmental summit, one boy in particular — I remember him being younger than me at the time, maybe 12 years old? maybe younger? — gave a presentation on how the lives of sea turtles in Florida were becoming threatened.  He, on his own, was responsible for saving the lives of thousands of babies by protecting their nests and helping the hatchlings out to sea. Our delegation went from wide-eyed to teary eyed.  He brought the house down in applause and pride for our fellow youth. That moment engrained in me of how one person, regardless of age, can make an impact on the planet. He was an inspiration.

My first experience at the UN was definitely one that was positive and inspiring — a big realization that we were all players in a world much larger than our own hometowns.  And kids could make change, too!  They were even already doing it.  This mindset is something that inspired me as a kid and will continue to impact how I raise my young daughters today and in the future.

As a part of World Moms Blog, I still jump on the opportunity to head to the UN when we’re invited to report, especially around the UN General Summit & Social Good Summit and for the annual State of the World’s Mother’s Report. We have become our own “United Nations” of moms, here! And additionally, in 2012 when I was asked to be part of a UN Foundation delegation to Uganda with Shot@Life, I was honored to answer the call, too, with the same 14-year old excitement I had when attending the environmental youth summit back in the early 90s. Which brings me back full circle for the purpose of this post…

Elizabeth, a volunteer health worker in Fort Portal, Uganda with World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden on a Shot@Life trip October 2012.

Elizabeth, a volunteer health worker in Fort Portal, Uganda with World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden on a Shot@Life trip October 2012.

While in Uganda with Shot@Life, I witnessed children receiving life-saving vaccinations at UNICEF’s Family Health Days around the country. We sat under shady trees and spoke with mothers who wanted the same for their children: good health and an education.  We played with lots of children, knowing that because they were being vaccinated against measles, pneumonia, rotavirus and polio (the four deadliest killers of children under 5) that they had a healthier shot at living past their fifth birthday and experiencing more “firsts.”

There is no doubt in my mind that life-saving vaccines are needed in the world.

Every 20 seconds a child dies from a disease that could have been prevented through immunization, which is an inexpensive global health solution to save lives. Healthcare in far to reach or developing areas can be ineffective at keeping a child alive in the event of severe diarrhea or pneumonia. A vaccination can work as a shield to protect a child from even contracting these diseases in the first place.

First Vaccination Mumbende Uganda 500

Today, and all this month, you have the unique opportunity to comment on #Blogust posts and help save lives. Walgreens will donate one vaccine to a child who needs it most in response to your comment on this post, those on all the #Blogust posts this month, as well as, any social media shares.

Please, give more children the chance to live past their 5th birthday, the chance to attend a global youth summit, the chance to single-handedly save marine life, the chance to make a positive impact on animal life and on others, the chance to ride a bus to the UN, the chance to live and be a kid. Join me in being a game changer. Help start the conversation to unlock life-saving immunizations!

During Shot@Life’s Blogust 2014—a month-long blog relay—some of North America’s most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share stories about Happy and Healthy Firsts. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or share them via social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, Walgreens will donate one vaccine (up to 60,000).  Blogust is one part an overall commitment of Walgreens donating up to $1 million through its “Get a Shot. Give a Shot.” campaign. The campaign will help provide millions of vaccines for children in need around the world. 

Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! For more information, visit shotatlife.org or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden, of New Jersey, USA.

Photo credits to the author. 

 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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NETHERLANDS:  Troubles Finding the Right Charity

NETHERLANDS: Troubles Finding the Right Charity

moneyUntil a friend of mine had a terrible tragic accident in the Himalaya mountains that left her in a coma, I had never donated to a  charity. We collected some money at our wedding to give to her husband, and my mom also donated some money to a charity that takes care of her, but that was it.

Since moving to another country and having children, I have been looking for ways to help others. I want to donate to more charities. I am just looking for the right one.

It isn’t easy. I have heard of many charities that have turned out to be scams or which just took people’s money and ran.

My situation is especially difficult because I live in a foreign country and do not know about the charities here. Though my Dutch is fluent, I still have trouble communicating in this language sometimes. In the Netherlands, many people go house-to-house collecting money for charities.

I think it is interesting to find out about charities that way because they’re often ones I’ve never heard of before. They are often small scale actions rather than big ones. But I think the mistake they’re making is the following one: before I contribute, I’d like to find out more about the organization, whether my friends have heard of it, whether there is something about them that raises red flags.

I think I might even agree to donate money if they were willing to leave a business card or something I could find them by. Instead, they want me to make a monthly commitment. Again, because I do not know them, I am not so keen on giving them my credit card number.

At the same time, my heart breaks for all the little children going through invasive treatments; who are terminally ill; who look like little ghosts because they have lost so much weight from all their chemo; for all the sick people who can’t get the treatment they need; or for children who are not so fortunate as mine; or moms in poorer countries, who have to travel for many days if they want to give birth in a hospital.

I really want to help. Since I became a mom and later a World Moms Blog contributor, I have been made aware of needs and dreams that can’t be fulfilled because of the bad conditions all around the world.

But the fact is that finding the right charity isn’t easy. I mostly say no to these door-to-door people. I do it with a heavy heart.  I just want to make sure that I am really helping people in need, and not wasting my money.

Luckily, while looking for a charity to donate to, there is a lot I can do:

    1. In my circle of friends alone, there have been situations where help was needed, including domestic violence and pregnancy problems.
    2. I am considering taking the Shot@Life pledge and becoming a Champion.
    3. I can learn as much as I can about actions such as #MDG’s and participate in our Twitter Parties.
    4. I can find local communities, organizations, charities and brands.
    5. Many of my friends are absolutely talented people and use their talents to collect money for a good cause, and I can help them spread the word and participate.

I know this sounds like nothing, and I am not telling this to show off how good of a person I am. It is just to show that even though it sounds like nothing, we all can make a difference. I am still very new at this social good cause. I still have a lot to learn. Already I have asked my fellow World Moms Blog contributors for help choosing a charity I can actually trust and they have come up with great charities.

I need to do more. I want to do more. I will do more.

Do you have a charity or cause worth supporting? Tell us about it and help spread the word

This is an original post to World Moms Blog from Olga Mecking in The Netherlands.

The image used in this post is credited to Images Money. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.

Olga Mecking

Olga is a Polish woman living in the Netherlands with her German husband. She is a multilingual expat mom to three trilingual children (even though, theoretically, only one is trilingual since she's old enough to speak). She loves being an expat, exploring new cultures, learning languages, cooking and raising her children. Occasionally, Olga gives trainings in intercultural communication and works as a translator. Otherwise, you can find her sharing her experiences on her blog, The European Mama. Also take a while to visit her Facebook page .

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