Monday, January 24, 2011

Two (actually three) special ways to give

I am big on giving. As most of you know, I love giving my time, efforts, money to africa. I am also very minimalistic and choose not to buy new clothes or buy a $2 cup of coffee when I could just make it at home. Thats just the way I am - or the way that I have changed over the past 5 years. I never used to be like this until I went to Africa, saw how much need there is and then fell passionately in love with Jesus who really digs giving. More so, I give my life to Jesus - for Him to work powerfully in and through me. To give up "ME" so that there can be more of "HIM". Ok, this post is not about my devotion to Jesus.

I like smart giving. I like giving that empowers people, is sustainable, and that doesn't make the problem worse. In Kenya, there are a ton of beggars. Yes, they are probably hungry but is giving them food really what they need? OK, yes it is what they need but wouldn't it be better to give them the tools to be able to get their own food?? I hate to say it, but when you give to most beggars, you are really just fuelling them to keep begging.

Anyways, so I love these two ways of giving:

1. Child Sponsorship- Ever since I could remember, my family has always sponsored a child. I used to love getting mail from our sponsor child and seeing how we (well my parents) are helping their lives. My parents still have the same sponsor children that we had when we were young. I now sponsor a child. I actually got to pick my child as I had known her for almost two years. I can't tell you how awesome and wonderful it is to sponsor her. I get the privilege to actually see her a few times a year which is rare for most child sponsorships, but I also delight in her little letters that she sends me. The latest one said "Nikole I thank you that I have not had to be sent home for school fees." In Kenya, parents struggle to take their kids to school  because it is so expensive for them. Usually if their fees are not paid by a certain date, they have to be sent home to collect them. This is so common in Kenya so my sponsor girl realizes how great it is not to be sent home. And I love that she gets to go to school with no worries. If you have never sponsored a child or want to sponsor one I suggest Empowering Lives International (most because I know half the kids and sponsor coordinator is a good friend of mine). Just google them. $30 a month is really not that hard to give up. Just make more coffee at home.

2. Kiva - I have known about this for a few years but it was just last month that I decided to try it. I even gave it as a gift to my brother and father for christmas. It is a lending system where you can lend to people around the world to help them start a business and they will eventually pay you back!!  The great part is that you actually get to chose who want to give to and then track their progress. It is the coolest thing!! So if you really want to give money but figure you might need it back some day, this is perfect for you. Just over a month ago, I lent $25 to a girl in Israel who wanted to start her own DJ business. So my money helped her to buy equipment. I was surprised when I got an email the other day saying that $3.28 of my loan had already been paid off! Wow, she must be a pretty talented DJ. I highly suggest this form of giving. It is sustainable, empowering and you get your money back!

Alright, the third special way to give is to my Rehma boys. I can't tell you how much I love these boys and so desire for them to become amazing men. I will update in a few days of the progress they have made and how you can help my sweet boys.

I hope this has inspired you to give up a few lattes and give a little to some pretty awesome people around the world!

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