Monday, December 3, 2012


We get ourselves into quite a panic over Christmas time. I know one of the things I normally fret about is which presents to buy my family and friends - it's such a challenge to buy the perfect gift for people who seem to have everything already, isn't it? In all of this, I admit I completely forget that while I'm out choosing fancy gifts and "stuff" to fill the stockings, there are billions of people in the world whose daily battle is life in extreme poverty. For these people there is no such thing as having a "basic right" to food, clean drinking water, shelter, vaccination against preventable disease or safety from physical violence. For these people, there is no way of improving their own lives. No education, no way to make a living, no voice. The biggest certainties in their lives are hunger, illness and early death from preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria or Tuberculosis.

This year, I refuse to ignore these people. In fact, for the rest  of my life, people in extreme and relative poverty will always be on my Christmas list. I hope you will join me on this.

There is no gift too small. $5.00 towards World Vision, for instance, can give a child pencils so they can learn to write at school. $125.00 will train someone to teach them.

Unicef is encouraging people to "give good" by encouraging us not to buy useless "stuff" at Christmas. For only $27.00, 100 children can be vaccinated against measles. If you're feeling generous, $466 (the cost of another leather handbag) could buy a village a water pump to save them from walking miles every single day to fetch this basic human right.

$997 to Oxfam will help buy a plane so doctors can get to remote areas of Papua New Guinea so that sick and heavily pregnant patients don't miss out on vital healthcare.

Perhaps you might consider donating to Medicins Sans Frontieres, to help doctors and medical workers in providing support to people caught in humanitarian crises all around the world.

Closer to home, a donation of $25 to Wesley Mission would ensure five children don't go to school hungry. $500 will give a homeless family with children accommodation for a week. This gift also includes case worker support with counselling, referrals to housing authorities and help finding more permanent accommodation.

Donating to some of these organisations might mean you skip the extra pavlova or new Christmas decorations or decide not to upgrade to the new iPad just yet. These small sacrifices won't greatly affect your Christmas but it will mean that the life of someone, some family, some village will be will be drastically improved. Isn't that the greatest gift you could possibly give this Christmas?


  1. What a great reminder Anna that we really are so privileged....that we waste money on useless gifts for each other that ultimately end up as landfill...I'll be sure to make a donation!

  2. I hate Christmas, because of this!!!!!!


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