Christmas is all about giving - after all, it’s the season of peace and goodwill on earth. It’s also a time when we take a moment to be thankful for what we have, and think about those who don’t have as much as us.
Many of us are familiar with the Christmas Appeals for well-known charities such as The Salvation Army, Vinnies and The Smith Family. These respected institutions do a great job of reaching out to families who struggle with the holiday season.
But there are also some amazing, smaller organisations who need help. Making a donation in lieu of gift, or buying from their online stores, is a great option for your charity-minded friends and family.
Here is a list of alternative gifts you might give this season.
Give the gift of clean clothes for someone living on the streets - Orange Sky Laundry
Things we take for granted are a major challenge for people who are homeless. The simple act of slipping into clean clothes is a small but important way for people to retain a sense of dignity.
Orange Sky Laundry (OSL) is the world's first free mobile laundry service for the homeless. But beyond that, the hour they spend waiting for a wash cycle is an hour for conversation. “It’s during this time where OSL can make its biggest impact by fostering non-judgemental conversation. We do this in hopes to help our friends on the street make gradual steps back into society,” the OSL website explains.
Just $6 provides one wash cycle – imagine what even more could do!
Give the gift of a career for the future - Seed Foundation Australia
Seed Foundation Australia’s vision is to create the next generation of Australia's indigenous health workforce.
The Foundation helps young people from rural and remote communities join the health sector workforce, providing them with a nationally recognised health qualification in their senior phase of secondary school. The training provides entry level knowledge and skills for students to either pursue a career in health or gain health literacy which will have a lasting impact on their community.
This provides opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to engage with a university or employment pathway, as well as health literacy that can be taken back to their home communities.
Give the gift of safety from sex trafficking - Free to Shine
Young girls in rural Cambodia are at high risk of being trafficked into the sex trade. Education is the key to protecting them from this terrible fate. Free to Shine works to strengthen families and keep children in education.
Their on-the-ground teams work with local authorities and communities to reach the most at-risk girls, reducing their vulnerability to trafficking by improving their access to education and social work support. This includes more than 700 girls enrolled in their programs, 49 village partnerships and 5000 library books in circulation.
“We don’t build new private schools; We make it possible for children to access their local, public school. We don’t rescue or save children from sex trafficking; We work to prevent them from being trafficked in the first place,” Free to Shine says.
If you want to help change the future of these girls, make a donation today.
Give the gift of literacy to people in marginalised communities - ALNF
Reading and writing seems like a given in our modern Australia; sadly, there are thousands of people – including children - who have difficulty reading and writing. This not only affects their self-esteem, it reduces their opportunities in life.
ALNF exists to help these people by raising literacy levels in Australia’s most marginalised communities. Through six core programs and a number of one-off community projects, ALNF provides funding, training, support and resources to individuals, families and schools.
Give the gift of dignity to a child bride - Hamlin Fistula Ethical Gifts
Imagine being married to an older man at just 13 years old, and becoming pregnant – only to experience a stillbirth, lifelong injuries and being shunned by your community. This is the sad reality for women in Ethiopia who suffer from horrible – and preventable – obstetric fistulas.
Prevalent in young girls because of their small size, the physical consequences of this childbirth injury are devastating. The hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum leaks – leading to social isolation, stigma and loss of dignity.
Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is an organisation dedicated to restoring the health and dignity of women who have survived this condition. It is also focused on eradicating it. Every day, ten women in Ethiopia experience this problem, which has been virtually eradicated in western countries. This could be prevented if a skilled midwife were present at every labour, so the Hamlin is working to place a midwife in rural areas where there is no existing medical assistance.
Donations are welcome, but you can also tick of some of your Christmas shopping, by purchasing beautiful jewellery and homewares from their online store .
Participate in Australia’s biggest Secret Santa (and maybe do some regifting).
Givit is a wonderful way to connect those in need with people who have quality goods to donate. Through GIVIT’s website, trusted Australian charities are able to request exactly what is needed by their clients, and everyday Australians can donate in response. Alternatively, donors can pledge their offer of donated items into a virtual warehouse, where local charities can see it.
From white goods to prams and cots, this website matches those in need with those who have quality items they don’t need.
To find out more, click here.