Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Charity

Being charitable

Posted by on Jun 15, 2014 in Charity | 4 comments

“Of the various kinds of intelligence, generosity is the first” – John Surowiecki

It is quite terrifying that June 30th is a mere couple of  weeks away…..can we seriously already be half way through the year ??

I am far from being a financially savvy person but I do know that as the financial year ends, this is a wise time of year to reduce our taxable income through deductions and so forth. One of the best kind of “win win” deductions surely has to be donating to a charity/cause that is dear to you.

Not all of us are cut out to be hands on animal rescuers / activists, myself included (aside from our little rescue dog, Garp – thanks to Monika’s doggie rescue).  On days when my emotions are fragile, I will drive a different way home to avoid seeing a particular little bird in a tiny cage outside the corner shop as it never fails to break my heart. So, I have found that the best way for me to remain sane and  to help the animals in a practical way is to donate – in a variety of ways – to those organisations whose workers are brave and courageous enough to endure the heartache of actual animal cruelty investigations and rescues.

If ever you need any inspiration in your world, have a read about the stories behind Jill Robinson (Animals Asia), Lyn White (Animals Australia), Mary Hutton (Free the Bears) and Pam Ahern (Edgar’s Mission) who are just a few of the lovely lady crushes I have going on within the animal activist world !

There are so many extraordinary organisations out there that the options of who to donate to are endless.  Animals Australia, Voiceless, Oscars Law and AMRRIC (Animal Management in Rural & Remote Indigenous Communities) are just a few of the amazing groups out there (not to mention the fabulous animal sanctuaries like Peanuts Funny Farm and Little Oak Sanctuary)…..but my heart (for over the last decade) belongs to….

Animals Asia

I remember hearing someone compare what the bears in bear bile farms endure to the life of Prometheus – the Greek mythological figure who had his liver pecked out by an eagle each day, only for it to regenerate over night and for the cycle to begin again. This life changing (for both people and animals) organisation came about when Jill Robinson visited a bear bile farm in China in 1993. Her ensuing devotion to creating real change in China and Vietnam has led to the rescue of hundreds of bears from the agony of being trapped in tiny cages and “milked” for their bile. Her persistence and education campaigns have led to a substantial tide of changing opinion in China, Hong Kong and Vietnam about how animals are treated. The indisputably lovely and hilarious Ricky Gervais and Olivia Newton John are just a couple of the high profile names who support Animals Asia. As do the cast of Downton Abbey – love this clip.

I only read this morning that the guru of all things kind, philanthropist Philip Wollen rates Jill Robinson, alongside Gandhi and his mum, as one of his inspirations in life so am not alone in the awe I feel for this woman.

If you are seeking out a cause to donate some pre end of financial year cashola to…..Animal Asia currently need funds more than ever before. They have recently taken over a bear bile farm in Nanning, China with the aim of converting it into a sanctuary for the current 130 bears. See Piece by Peace for more on this remarkable mission. 

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Apparently, on average, Australians give about 0.25 % of their income to charity. I think it is fair to say that in our privileged world we could be pulling our weight just that little bit more. So, why not pledge to reduce some luxuries in your life such as buying lunch at work every day or having a monthly pedicure and send what you save to an organisation who will be able to put it to much better use. Signing up for monthly deductions makes it an easy thing to do for the forgetful. Or there are the sporadic Kickstarter / Crowdfunding campaigns such as these ones : Dog’s Best Friend and Aussie Farms Repository which make ordinary people’s dreams come to fruition just by a whole stack of people banding together by donating a little bit to fund something big and wonderful.

Other sneaky ways to send some of your hard earnt money off to a good cause (without really noticing as you would have spent the money anyway)……..

Make a bet : This tactic has a lot going for it – guilt, redemption, making one ponder poor decisions and inevitable downfall resulting in financial gain for a good cause. I have a shameful habit of social smoking which rears it’s ugly head on average a couple of  times a year. In an effort to make said social smoking a little bit more unappealing, I have made a bet with my fella to part with $10 for each shameful cigarette smoked which goes directly to his charity of choice (Medecins Sans Frontieres).

Charity fund raising holidays : Travel and animals – two of my favourite things. One of these trips is on my whopping to do list – working with rescued wildlife in Bolivia as detailed here or treks such as this one, in Lakdah raising funds for Vets Beyond Borders.

Use consumer driven occasions such as Valentines day for good, rather than wasting money on chocolates, flowers etc which will be forgotten in a heart beat. This is what I receive every year from my sweet man (which wins him way more brownie points than a bunch of flowers ever would). Read my post here about having a charity christmas kris kringle which has become a yearly tradition in our family. Or, if you do want to buy something tangible….re-visit my kind gifts post.

Oh, and possibly my favourite….drink wine whilst sending a large chunk (50 % of the profits in fact) to your favourite charity.

We like wine in my household so are regular customers of  Goodwill Wines. I love this company – the wines are beautiful and many are animal product free. The story behind it’s foundation is a bitter sweet one too and shows what one can do when faced with adversity. The last case we had sent money to BAWP (Barristers Animal Welfare Panel) after seeing the legal work they have done to fight for dogs like Zeus who have been seized by various councils under the very dodgy Breed Specific Legislation. Our latest case (yes, shall I mention again, we do like wine in our house !) sent money to Australian Working Dog Rescue after reading about their recent rescue of Shenzi (have tissues handy if you open that link) and Edgar’s Mission as they are just wonderful and have recently moved to a bigger property to enable them to rescue yet more animals.

If money is tight and donating financially is not a possibility right now, there are other ways to do your bit. What are you good at ? Hair cutting ? Toe nail painting ? Cooking ? There are a myriad of ways to make some stuff or use your fabulous talents for good to raise money and awareness for your favourite charity. I discovered the inner candle maker within myself last year and made these….(ta da !)

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….to flog to family and friends to raise money for Animals Asia. With Honey Money Days just a couple of months off, I will soon be turning to this new favourite hobby of mine to raise some money for the bears.

Love baking and want to spread the biscuit love ? – check out this sweet initiative, Biscuit Billy. You can bake some biscuits (and receive some tasty dog treat recipes) and have them delivered to some deserving recipients – dogs in shelters.

Whilst we are on the theme of generosity, have a read of this post by one of my Blog With Pip classmates (Katie from one of my new favourite blogs, Life With The Crew) – her comments about how she goes without and lives more simply so she can rescue dogs in the remarkable way she does, blew me away.

Another fellow class mate shared this gorgeous initiative……for disadvantaged kids in Christchurch. If only I could knit !

I would love to know who your favourite charity / rescue group /giving initiative is….please let me know in the comments section.

 

 

 

 

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