"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children . . . to leave the world a better place . . . to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
~ one of my favourites, Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am a big fan of giving donations as Christmas gifts and, in past years, I have tended to donate to large NGOs such as Unicef, Oxfam and Plan Canada. But, over time, my desire to help the most vulnerable has led me to streamline my giving. I work with children with developmental disabilities and significant medical challenges and my heart belongs to these beautiful beings. Life can be hard for children with special needs here in Canada, where social, medical and therapeutic supports are available. Children in other countries are not always so lucky. Not only do many of these children lack access to appropriate therapies and medical support, they may be abandoned by their parents due to a disability or orphaned due to a terrible disease that they also carry.
You can spread a little love to the world's most vulnerable children this Christmas season by supporting the following organizations:
ChinaKidz - A Children's Hospice and Palliative Care Service for abandoned children. This hospice gives dying children comfort and love and helps to provide medical support for children with correctable medical conditions and non-life-threatening developmental conditions. You can sponsor a room, a cot or give a single donation.
Reece's Rainbow - Reece's Rainbow is an advocacy network and sponsorship program that promotes the adoption of children with Down syndrome. In some countries, children with Down syndrome are abandoned or relinquished at birth and institutionalized for life if not adopted. On Reece's Rainbow, you can donate money to sponsor the adoption of a particular child and, at Christmas time, you receive a Christmas tree decoration in exchange. The average cost to complete an international adoption of one of "Reece's angels" is $25,000 and every penny donated makes a difference to a waiting family and child!
Vulnerable Children's Society - VCS is new society that has recently taken over fundraising for Faya Orphanage in Ethiopia. Faya provides a permanent home for children living with and without HIV/AIDS in Adama, Ethiopia. In addition to orphans living at Faya, VCS also provides opportunities for you to sponsor HIV+ children and families living in Adama. At Faya, vulnerable children are fed, loved and cared for. In the community, vulnerable children and families are provided with basic necessities, health care and school supplies. These sponsorships allow children to remain with their families rather than being relinquished to an orphanage.
Even a small gift can make life easier for those living with nothing. Let's give these children some hope this December.