Opinion Choose a gift that changes your life


It will be a painful holiday season for many households – fewer people will hug and share gifts. But if you feel like your vacation has been “canceled” and you’re trying to find hope and meaning this season, have I gotten you uplifting ideas!

Every year, I currently offer a holiday guide that offers “gifts with meaning” instead of another scarf or tie that will sit at the bottom of the drawer. This year, I recommend three inspiring organizations that can help you change your life – and I bet your Aunt Mabel would prefer such a gift on her own behalf than more perfume.

A the reader promised 1 million that for every 10 years my best charity will receive $ 100,000 in this guide. Two other readers are again submitting $ 50,000 this year, to be split between the two second places. Other readers will definitely contribute much more (you donated $ 3 million last year). You can easily donate too Christopher Holiday Impact Award Website, and here is what they will achieve:

Teach the girl. The winner of my main prize is One hundredth (originally called the Women’s Education Campaign), which helps girls in African countries get an education. One of the best deals in the world is the opportunity to help a girl go to school in a country like Ghana, Malawi or Zimbabwe: A year in high school costs $ 150, in elementary school about $ 30.

To understand the transformative power of education, consider a wonderful Zimbabwean girl named Angeline. Other students laughed at Angeline that he was attending school barefoot and wearing a torn dress with nothing behind.

Officials shouted her name at school meetings when her family fell behind in paying school fees. “It was an epic humiliation,” she recalls. But what Angeline lacked in resources and a wardrobe was offset by brain strength: in the seventh grade nationwide exams, her district was No. 1 and her scores were the best in the country.

However, she couldn’t afford high school until Camfed gave her a scholarship, and then Angeline performed great. Today, Angeline Murimirwa, 40, is the executive director of Camfed’s programs in Africa, helping 123,000 girls a year to get an education.

I’ve been watching Camfed for over a decade and one of the reasons I chose it as the grand prize winner is because it’s close to the eternal motion machine. About 157,000 Camfed graduates pay this in advance by mentoring girls and paying their taxes (each graduate financially supports five students, not counting their own household students). Camfed graduates actually support more students than Camfed itself – a virtuous cycle that grows over time.

Support for education is particularly important this year, as millions of girls drop out of school as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and the United Nations estimates that the pandemic could lead to 13 million girls to child marriages. Who wouldn’t want to give a girl an education or plant another gift under a tree?

Send the young man to college. The other prize winner is OneGoal, which mentors low-income students in the United States, helping them graduate from high school and succeed in college. OneGoal ensures that the lives of blacks are important: 96 percent of participants are colored students, and this gives them a bridge to finish high school and start college successfully.

OneGoal supports 12,500 students, 99 percent 86% of them graduate from high school. Because first-generation college students flounder in the first year and leave without a degree, OneGoal supports them in the first critical year.

Organization Manager Melissa Connelly, 37, illustrates the challenges some students face and how much a helping hand can help. One of six children from dysfunctional homes with a mother struggling with addiction, Melissa typically missed school and often ran away from home or was expelled; she spent most of her high school homeless.

As a black girl who earned D at school, she was tied up as desperate and included in the school – a nanny program for troubled children before they dropped out. “I was the kid who was written off as a lost cause,” she recalls.

However, Melissa’s white guy attended best practice classes and she protested about the different education they attend at the same school. She also had a great social worker to lead her, and Melissa was able to talk about AP classes – and has since earned a straight A.

To complete his bachelor’s degree, he had to attend four colleges for five years, juggling for tuition fees. She then earned two diplomas.

Mentoring programs like OneGoal are now especially important because distance learning has been a disaster in chaotic homes without Internet access. McKinsey & Company warned that additional million children may drop out of school during this pandemic. OneGoal works hard to keep these kids right, and enrolling students in OneGoal for a year costs only about $ 1,600.

Restore human vision. My last prize winner is Himalayan Cataract Project, also known as Cure Blindness, fights blindness in Asia and Africa. It’s also a bargain: the operation can cost as little as $ 25 per person or $ 50 for both eyes.

The Himalayan Cataract Project was founded by Dr. Sandukas Ruitas, an Nepalese ophthalmologist who helped develop the technique of cataract microsurgery (“Nepali Method”) and dr. Geoff Tabin of Stanford University School of Medicine. I traveled to the remote town of Hetaud in Nepal to observe the surgeries performed by doctors – and I have rarely seen anything so gratifying.

After many years of blindness among the surgery, there was a 50-year-old woman, Thuli Maya Thing. “I can’t bring firewood or water,” she told me. “I fall a lot of times. I was burned by fire. “

The day after the operation, I watched her bandages be removed. She stood flashing, then smiled sluggishly, seeing her surroundings for the first time in several years. Doctors checked her vision and found it to be 20/20.

“I used to go around crawling,” she said, “and now I can get up and walk.”

I’ve seen a lot of humanitarian interventions around the world, and almost nothing is as cheap, fast, and transformative as cataract surgery. It feels biblically how the blind see again – and regain their lives.

Website KristofImpact.org should help you support these three organizations and learn more about them. Concentration of philanthropy, the nonprofit I partnered with, will process reader feedback through the website and notify you of the results.

Fantastic Philanthropy will also cover the cost of your victim’s credit card transactions to get 100 cents per dollar to your designated charity.

Of course, many people are financially constrained this year, so I also recommend two options for those who would like to volunteer.

One is Reading partners, which employs adult volunteers who teach reading to disadvantaged children (Zoom usually does this during a pandemic). More than 90 percent of readers ’partner children are gorgeous children, and almost everyone can get a free or discounted lunch.

Only 22 percent of third-graders across the country who receive free or discounted lunches read at the classroom level, but tutoring makes a huge difference. About three-quarters of Reading Partners’ third- and fourth-grade students can bridge the gap with their peers.

Reading is one of the most important tools a child needs in school and life, and a volunteer can give that gift.

Another recommendation from my volunteers is The court appointed special lawyers, or CASA, which supports sheltered youth in almost all counties in the country. I recommend CASA because the American care system is broken and our 400,000 children in care need help.

Only 58 percent of foster children complete high school before the age of 19, and one-fifth are homeless within a year and a half when they turn 18 and grow old from the system. By the age of 26, most of these young women and men had been arrested.

We can’t arrange care overnight, but we can help these abandoned children negotiate a sometimes careless system – and CASA does. Volunteers provide support and advocacy to children who sometimes have nothing to trust, while helping them manage the bureaucracy.

You can volunteer at Reading Partners or CASA through the same website, KristofImpact.org.

When I started giving guides 2009, they raised their eyebrows. My colleagues and I wondered: is it appropriate for a journalist to make such recommendations? However, the proposals met the need. Many readers would like to be more generous but don’t know who to donate to, while large nonprofits are eager for support to change lives.

So I’m playing matchmaking again at a time when the needs are becoming more urgent due to the pandemic. I hope you find that the opportunity to help others gives you a holiday.

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