Number 83 – Promotional work for Oxfam Unwrapped

Oxfam have an initiative called ‘Oxfam Unwrapped’ that helps raise funds for their work. The principle is that you buy a gift, but someone who needs it more receives it. For example you can buy a goat, but that goat will go to a family in Papua New Guinea. Or you buy a mosquito net, which is sent to someone living in a malaria-ridden country.

As the present-giving Christmas season is approaching, Oxfam are promoting this initiative, and as I have donated to them before, they sent me a promotional flyer in the post. And that is when I had the idea to pass it on to someone who actually may not know about Oxfam Unwrapped. Except this then led to me thinking I could actually do a big flyer drop in my neighbourhood.

So I got in touch with the Oxfam NZ head office. They were excited for me to do this and a few days ago a stack of 100 flyers arrived in the post. Yesterday I walked around my neighbourhood and put them in people’s letterboxes. Hopefully they will reach a few people that hadn’t heard of the initiative or had not thought of it this season.

http://www.oxfam.org/en/oxfam-unwrapped – At the bottom of this page are links to Oxfam Unwrapped online shops for different countries.

Number 82 – Joined TimeBank

I recently discovered Time Banking. The idea is one I have thought about before and presumed must exist on small scales within a number of communities, but it is only now that I have come to understand it is actually an initiative -almost a movement- happening in many communities and places around the world.

It is not altruistic and so I was not sure whether to include joining Time Bank in my challenge, but I have decided to because while it is not without personal benefits, joining is certainly pro-active in moving society away from a solely money-based economy, as well as connecting people with their community and finding skills and value in everyone.

Time Banking is based on the principle that everyone has skills and value, and by giving and receiving help to/from people in our neighbourhood, we build strong networks and are engaged in our community.

It is a pay-it-forward system where I do something for someone and earn time credits (e.g. cook a housebound person a meal), then I can use the time credits to ‘pay’ someone to do something for me (e.g. fix my washing machine).

I am especially excited as our local Time Bank network also has a ‘community chest’, where people with spare time credits can offer them to people or groups who are in need of some more – sounds like a great way to help the community.

http://timebanks.org/what-is-timebanking/

Number 81 – Reuniting a family

There is a couple I have been working with through Hamilton Homeless Trust (same couple as number 56 and 57). They have a daughter who is in foster care and they are rarely allowed to see. At the moment they are unable to visit her at all because they don’t have anyone to supervise their visits.

Cutting a longer story short, they asked me if I could supervise their visits and I agreed to.

There is a long process involved and they only find out mid-January when their next visiting date will be, but it is a step in the right direction. I will have a half-hour supervised visit with them and their daughter, and if it goes well they will be able to see her more frequently and for longer in the future.

I so hope it goes well ❤

Number 80 – Helped give someone a hand with costs of living

At school there was a girl in the year below me. We knew each other a bit and spoke on occasion, but weren’t ‘friends’ as such. Years later we reconnected on Facebook and have stayed in touch (not closely, but staying up to date with each other). She and I share similar values and passions (especially surrounding environmental and social justice) and I have a lot of respect for her (probably more than she knows).

She recently moved to a different country and has found herself in a position of some financial difficulty. She set up a fundraising page to help her be able to fund getting her life in the USA established:

http://www.gofundme.com/h9ytgs

I gave her a donation (anonymously – it felt more appropriate) as she is a very inspiring person, is an advocate of just causes and those whose voice needs to be heard, and I am certain she will do a lot in her life to make this world a better place. I wanted to do this because we all need help sometimes, and I have received so much support from friends and strangers throughout my life that it felt ‘right’ to give something back.

(P.S. – If you happen to be in L.A. and would like to befriend a really cool person who will change the way you think about the world, please do contact her – I am sure she will appreciate it).

Number 79 – Free rice for hungry people

Over the last months I have spend some hours on the website http://www.freerice.com as well as spread awareness about the site to others.

http://www.freerice.com is a non-profit website owned by the UN World Food Programme, The purpose of the website is twofold:

  • Provide education to everyone for free
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free

Basically, as you play educational games you earn points, and each point leads to donations of rice. I am not sure how much rice I managed to donate in total but even if it was just a couple of portions it is worth it (plus hopefully by telling people about it, a few more bowls of rice could be distributed to those in need).

I think this site is a great idea because it allows people to donate even if they don’t have money to give.

To play the educational games and start donating rice: http://www.freerice.com

More information about their work: http://freerice.com/about

Freerice is a non-profit website that is owned by and supports the United Nations World Food Programme.

Freerice has two goals:

  • Provide education to everyone for free.
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on this site.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.-+

Number 78 – Registered as organ donor

I am a registered organ donor in the UK but realised authorities over here in New Zealand would not be aware of this were I to be in a position where my organs could be donated (until recently I had an organ donor card but in any case the police/ambulance only check New Zealander’s driving licences (upon which the word ‘DONOR’ is printed if they are registered as such)).

I do not have a NZ driving licence and so do not have the option of officially registering as an organ donor here. So I improvised with paper and sellotape…

DL

It may not look as official, but I am sure it will be effective.

Number 77 – Donated my hair to make wigs

This is one I have been wanting to do for some time, and I have been waiting for my hair to grow long enough: I cut my hair and donated it so that it can be made in to wigs for people who have lost their hair. This organisation/campaign specifically makes wigs for women who have lots their hair due to cancer treatment.

hair 1 hair 2

My ponytails are going to the Beautiful Lengths programme in New Zealand, but it is available in many countries.

http://www.pantene.com/en-CA/PanteneBeautifulLengths/Details/beautiful-lengths-about-the-program.aspx

Apparently I donated my hair before, when I was a child. I don’t remember though: my inspiration for this comes from my then-10 year old sister-in-law who cut her hair off last year for the same reason – what a cool kid!

Number 76 – Treats and educational materials for children on Hallowe’en

The 31st of October is a spiritual day for me. While living in the Northern Hemisphere, I celebrated Samhain: a festival marking the beginning of the darkest part of the year; the coming of winter, and; the death of nature (which will return to life in Spring).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/holydays/samhain.shtml

Now living in the Southern Hemisphere, I am still getting used to Samhain/Hallowe’en being in Spring rather than Autumn. It does not seem appropriate to celebrate Samhain here, because of the season, but nevertheless I wanted to do something relating to connecting with nature or people… I wanted to pass on some Samhain/Hallowe’en wishes.

So I put a sign on our door reading ‘Happy Hallowe’en’ in hope that it would attract Trick or Treaters (it worked!) and then when children came I gave some sweets (lollipops and some little flavoured vegetarian-jelly pots) and activity booklets aimed at engaging children with environmental issues (specifically protecting native trees and other conservation work). It was only a small thing to do, but the children were so excited when I said I had treats and seemed so happy with the activity booklets that I am counting this as an act, because maybe -hopefully- I managed to spread a little love for nature and bring even just a little essence of why I celebrate Samhain/Hallowe’en to New Zealand.

Number 75 – Created a waste minimisation strategy and applied for funding, for Hamilton Homeless Trust

Hamilton Homeless Trust so far ran on financial profits from fundraising events and donations from generous individuals.

Last week I wrote and submitted the Trust’s first (of hopefully many) application of funding. I was really excited to do it as I have been working towards increasing the Charity’s sustainability and environmental performance since the beginning and the fund is offered to businesses and charities that plan to reduce their (or society’s) waste to landfill.

I spent 5 hours on the application: creating a vision and detailed plan of how the Trust is going to stop generating waste that is sent to landfill, as well as reduce overall resource consumption, maximise resource efficiency, and support recycling and composting practices.I tried my best and put in a lot of effort, so I do hope the application is fruitful.