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It's Good To Give

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January has brought with it the usual bout of doom and gloom of late; Blue Monday, VAT hikes, rain, growing debt... the list goes on. All of which has left us feeling it’s time to spread some good news and encourage good deeds.

One story that brought a smile to our faces is The Giving Pledge; a scheme started by American billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. The idea is to encourage the wealthiest people in America to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Many familiar names have publically signed up, including fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg, Barron Hilton (Paris’ grandfather), filmmaker George Lucas and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The money goes to the philanthropic causes and charitable organisations of their choice, either during their lifetime or after their death. The organisation is hoping that billionaires outside the US will sign up to the initiative – something we hope for too.

Whilst you may not have a couple of million to spare, the great thing about charity is that any donation can make a difference and, no matter how much you give, the feeling it gives is the same. With that in mind, we've selected five unique charities we believe are very much worth while.

Picture credit: istock

Team Helps

This charity installs stoves into Mayan villagers homes. It’s not just about being able to cook food properly but, most people in the really poor mountainous regions still cook over open fires inside their homes. The fumes and toxins from the smoke is the biggest killer of children under five in the country. The problem is the lack of money and education, the people don't realise that it's killing their kids and making them very sick. The ones that do, can't afford to buy a stove. Something that many take for granted can make a huge difference to people’s health and lives.

To donate or get more information visit teamhelps.org

Vitamin Angels

Vitamin Angels provides basic nutrition to people in need, with no borders or boundaries. They say; “We connect the people with the greatest resources to the people with the greatest need. Last year we distributed over 100 million supplements to children and families in 40 countries around the world.” They’ve been providing vitamins since 1994, which has prevented millions of children from going blind. They also provide health education and support grassroots community projects that promote self-sufficiency.

To donate or get more information visit vitaminangels.org

Task Brasil Trust

A UK registered charity dedicated to improving the lives of children and young persons at risk and from the streets of Brazil. It supports their housing, the development of social skills, access to formal and informal education, psychological care, leisure, cultural and sports activities and referral to medical and dental services. It also promotes family reintegration. Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page is a supporter as he witnessed the deprivation of the children and troubles in the favelas whilst playing in Rio de Janeiro. The money he donated was used to buy a plot of land in Santa Teresa on which ‘Casa Jimmy’ was built to provide a safe and happy home for abandoned and vulnerable children. Now over 500 children, teenage mothers and their babies and their families have benefited from the facilities.

To donate or get more information visit taskbrasil.org.uk

Heifer

This charity promotes self-reliance rather than just giving food. You can donate money towards buying a cow, sheep and many other types of livestock, so that it’ll provide the community with milk, meat, skin and much more. The charity also "helps a community group analyse their situation", they ask them questions to help them plan for the future, making sure that they’re able to survive and look after themselves. They also asks the families that they’ve helped to donate one or more of the their livestock’s offspring to another family in need, so that the message of self-reliance is spread.

To donate or get more information visit heifer.org

Animal Welfare institute

This charity has been around since 1951, so it’s quite established and you know that your money will be going towards a good cause. They aim to alleviate the suffering inflicted on animals by people, so at the moment they’re focusing on things such as cruel factories that raise and slaughter animals, ending the torture of furry animals that have been caught in steel jaw leghold traps and wire snares, and the prevention of painful animal experiments. They also work to minimise the impact of all human actions detrimental to endangered species including, the destruction of natural forests containing ancient trees and pollution of the oceans destroying every kind of marine life. A great charity if you’re an animal lover.

To donate of get more information visit awionline.org

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