The holidays are approaching and I am sure you are getting inundated with requests from hundreds of organizations. Personally, I know how you feel because it happens to me too. The other thing that happens is that all these groups send out pictures of suffering people. Photos of people who are starving, wounded, flooded, earthquaked, tsunamied and war traumatised. Innocent, vulnerable people. We have sent out these kinds of photos to you too. It may be difficult to relate to them.
It is overwhelming sometimes and can induce feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Sometimes it is just easier to turn it off and ignore them all. I do this sometimes too. The solution perhaps is just to pick one or two and get behind them the best you can.
Fortunately, for me, a western person, I have had the amazing privilege of getting to know many of the people you see in the photos. I say fortunately, because this makes it real for me and I have learned much. They are breathing, thinking, emotional people just like you and me trying to survive in extremely difficult situations. The trouble is they have so few resources to do this. And yet, they make do. It is inspiring to me to see people live so bravely with so little. Could I do it? Could you?
The last 10 years I have spent on the Thai/Burma border, in and out of the refugee camps. Together with the dedicated staff and community leaders we created our program DARE Network from the ground up. We have no International Headquarters and no expat salaries. Over the years, many people from around the world have got behind our programs. Each one of them has built this work with us and empowered the Burmese refugee people to own it and run it themselves.
You are one of the people whom we consider part of our work. You are essential and you do make a difference.
GlobalGiving is also making a difference to us by supporting ways in which we can partner with you. The latest is their Tribute Card Campaign. This campaign goes from now until the end of December. If you make a donation in the name of someone else, we can be eligible for extra funds from GlobalGiving.
“This holiday season, we're giving away $10,000 in bonus awards to the top 15 projects with the most individual donors who make donations in honor of someone else.” GlobalGiving
Here is the leader board: http://www.globalgiving.org/leaderboards/tribute-card-challenge/
Here are the links to our projects on GlobalGiving: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/rebuild-flooded-burma-refugee-camp-recovery-centre/
Please help me support these incredible people. Every dollar, every pound, every Euro counts.
Capacity Advisor/Addiction Trainer
Mae Sariang, Thailand/Burma Border