Friday 21 December 2012

Send a gift this Christmas that will really transform lives in the developing world

Do you feel you are just going through the motions this Christmas spending money on unneeded gifts?

Some friends told me recently that they had given each of their children a £50 allowance to buy Christmas gifts for people living in developing countries.

Their kids had grasped the opportunity with both hands, putting careful thought into their purchases, and even adding some of their own savings in an effort to make a real difference in the lives of those they were seeking to help.

The idea of 'buying a goat for Christmas' is not new but it is amazing to see the huge variety of other gifts that are now available on line. And for not much outlay at all.

On the Christian Aid you can buy a beehive for £43, a goat for £19, 20 fruit trees for £16, three mosquito nets for £15, and a 'wormery' for £7.

Samaritan's Purse is offering four chickens for £12, gardening tools for £14 and a hygiene kit for £12.

From CBM £26 will provide enough Mectizan tablets to help 40 families for an entire year - stopping the progression of River Blindness (Onchocerciasis) and freeing them from the associated, debilitating symptoms. £30 will buy a child a hearing aid.

World Vision is offering sets of pots and pans (£13), six water containers (£14) and vaccination kits (£20).

These are just a few of the hundreds of imaginative options on these sites and others like Oxfam and Save the Children.

Why not make someone you have never met feel special this Christmas?

Jesus Christ said,'Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.'(Luke 12:33)


  1. If you are planning on using your money to help in developing countries, it is a good idea to figure out what the best things to spend your money on are - interventions likely vary in efficacy by several orders of magnitude, and some interventions that sound like they should help turn out to have no effect, or even do harm.

    Happily, some folks spend their time trying to work out the best ways of giving to help:

    [Disclosure: I'm a member of Giving What We Can.]

  2. good opinion, why do the party..


  3. I see you are a medical student, hence still at Uni and not a "proper doctor", ergo not qualified to state what interventions are of use and which aren't.

    So tell us, Thrasymachus - how much of your parents' dosh do you give away a year, what percentage of your pocket money? :)

    I applaud the sentiment by the way. Certainly everyone should give what they *can*, not merely what they "have to". All too often, rich christians tithe but do not give a penny more -although they could well afford to be much more generous.

  4. Hello James,

    Medical school doesn't really cover how to evaluate which interventions work, or give you a list of which ones do, so I won't become any more of an authority once I qualify. Hence the links towards groups that spend their time trying to work this out (one I neglected was the WHO Disease Control and Prevention Priorities project, although it is more about 'what sort of treatments are the most cost effective', and not 'what charities'.

    I sadly don't get pocket money any more. So I give out of my NHS bursary instead.


  5. Ah, I see. My apologies. So how much do you get by way of a bursary each year, and what percentage of that do you donate? And to whom?

    It's important to remember that "medical interventions" aren't the only things that make a difference in the third world. What is most needed is alleviation of poverty. That and education.

    You'd be better off giving to charities which help the poor earn a livelihood - some of the examples in Peter's blog-post are good ones.


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