By Lindsey Nield
The internet is home to various riches: videos of cats, marketplaces, and answers to homework problems; however, among this vast community lay hidden web pages dedicated to making the world a better place. They offer opportunities for users to make themselves into philanthropists by giving to those in need. Below are a few unique and constructive examples as to how a single idea has transformed the lives of women and others in the developing world.
1In in India there is an estimated 3 million forced sex workers with about 90% of that being internal. The International Princess™ Project founder, Shannon Keith, discovered this display of modern day slavery on a trip to India in 2005. She heard stories of girls being sold by their families, mothers trying to provide for their families, and pimps picking up orphans off of the street. Unfortunately, the few who are able to return home must face social stigma and have no way to survive. Ignited by what she saw, Keith gathered up her friends and founded International Princess™ Project to empower women and provide opportunities for those who have lost everything. Working with a skilled seamstress, they created a simple pattern for pajama pants, termed Punjammies, made out of the traditional Indian Sari that women could use to learn how to sew. With each stitch, the brave women who escaped sex slavery can forge new and respectable lives. Now there are over 150 women employed by the Project at 3 of their sewing centers in India. You can donate directly to The International Princess Project, but by purchasing your own pair of pajama pants or any of their specialty products at http://intlprincess.org/, you are actively employing and assisting strong and independent women whom have experienced horrors that we can only imagine. The humanitarian efforts of Shannon Keith and her friends have transformed the lives of women in India and with every purchase of Punjammies, you too can be a philanthropist.
Furthermore, at http://www.shethinx.com/ you can purchase a pair of underwear for yourself while providing seven washable and reusable pads for adolescent girls in Africa. The undergarments that the buyer receives with their purchase are made with a moisture wicking layer, an anti-microbial and stain-resistant layer, an absorption layer, and a leak-proof layer that can absorb up to 2-6 teaspoons of liquid, depending on the style purchased. They have been designed for women to wear them during their menstrual cycle without the waste and burden of using pads or tampons. However, with every purchase, you ensure that one girl in Eastern Africa can stay in school, get a job, and be a productive member of society. Over 84% of girls in the developing world (approximately 10 million) are forced to leave school early because they are unable to properly regulate their menstrual cycle. Due to the lack of resources, women and girls must stay home when they are on their period and are unable to attend school or work. THINX has teamed up with AFRIpads to provide work for women in Africa to manufacture reusable cloth pads in order to2 improve menstrual hygiene which would allow girls to continue their education. The organization employs native women to produce their products, creating more opportunities for women in a male-dominated society. By making their products reusable, AFRIpads also ensures that the environment is protected as there is very little waste associated with their pads. With the spectacular benefits for the consumer, the recipient, and the creators of the kits, you can be sure that your purchase will benefit yourself and the developing world. You can also donate to the cause directly at http://afripads.com/blog/.
If you would prefer to give directly to an organization rather than receive a gift in return, the Global Fund for Women is a nonprofit organization which works to advance women’s rights. By giving at 3 http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/, you are supporting women-led organizations around the world. Their vision is a “just, equitable and sustainable world in which women and girls have resources, voice, choice and opportunities to realize their human rights.” By funding in more than 170 countries focused primarily in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Fund’s primary goals are to end gender based violence, ensure equal rights to resources and politics, and allow all women to make their own reproductive and sexual choices. They do this by challenging laws and cultures that promote discrimination and abuse, supporting democracy movements, legal reform and women’s participation in politics, and advocating for campaigns aimed to secure women’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Finally, the Global Fund for Women provides grants for organizations or groups of women whose aim is to improve the lives of women around the world. This organization not only advocates for women’s rights and equality, but also empowers women to take action and change the world.
Not every philanthropy website is based on women; http://freerice.com/ serves to provide food for anyone who is struggling to find their next meal. The website advocates two goals: to provide a free education and free food in the form of rice to those in need in order to end world hunger. As you are educating yourself in the form of games and activities, the points you accumulate translate into grains of rice that will be given to hungry human beings. Freerice is owned by the United Nations World Food Programme and is a nonprofit website. It promotes that “somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.” While you spend some down time learning new information in a variety of subjects, you are providing someone’s next meal; it is a win-win situation.
Some of the activities available on the website are:
· World Hunger
· Famous Quotations
· English Vocabulary
· English Grammar
· Multiplication Table
· Basic Math (Pre-Algebra)
· World Landmarks
· Identify Countries on the Map
· World Capitals
· Flags of the world
· Human Anatomy
· SAT® Preparation
As the player moves on in the game, the questions accelerate in difficulty. One right answer is the equivalent of a donation of 10 grains of rice; the amount of rice to feed a single adult for a whole day is approximately 19,000 grains. The website boasts that they have raised enough to feed over 5 million people in the developing world. By playing for just 5 minutes you are actively assisting those who do not know where their next meal is coming from without having to concede any money. Being a donor isn’t about how much money you give; by giving your time, expertise, or services, you are considered a philanthropist.
Donating your time, money, and talents through internet based organizations changes people’s lives who are in need of help. The internet connects us to people around the world and in doing so, we able to interact and donate to those millions of miles away. Sitting on the couch, watching an episode of Friends, you can be a philanthropist. And these are only just four examples; on the vast expanse of the web there are thousands of websites dedicated to improving the livelihoods of women, children, and those in poverty in the developing world. It only takes a few clicks to make a big difference.
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