While you start to put together those holiday shopping lists, here are a few organizations you might think of donating money too, instead! Most of these allow you to donate in someone else’s name, as well….
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
If any of you have seen the documentary “Born to be Wild” then I don’t need to explain why this organization is worthy. Daphne Sheldrick runs a sort of “orphanage” for baby elephants and rhinos that are left alone because their mothers are killed by poachers. She’s created a comprehensive system to train the baby animals so they can be re-released into the wild as they mature. She also sponsors programs to stop poaching in the area, only employs Kenyans (the trust is right outside of Nairobi) in order to help the local economy, and is just all around an incredible woman. You can “foster” an animal for someone, and they’ll receive hand written letters from the caretaker as well as monthly updates and pictures. There are other donation options as well, so check out the website!
Chats ou Cheins du Bled (Cats and Dogs of the Bled)
Morocco has a huge problem with wild dogs, and because dogs are domesticated by habit, they migrate towards cities in order to sit outside butcher shops and cafes begging for food. The Moroccan government sees this as an embarrassment to the country and will often come into towns and kill all the dogs. Apart from this, dogs and cats are generally mistreated by Moroccans who kick them or throw rocks at them. As someone who saved a Moroccan puppy, I obviously have an affinity for this organization. They go into certain regions and will fix or spay dogs to help with population control. They also help treat sick dogs and cats, try to find homes for dogs and cats with missing or broken limbs, and just do overall really wonderful things for these animals.
Peace Corps Morocco Country Fund
As volunteers, almost all of us apply for grants at one point in time. Whether it’s to help buy shoes for our kid’s sports club, paint or repair materials for our places of work, materials for a woman’s leadership conference, or contractors to build latrines in our communities, we rely on this money for tangible costs. You can choose certain projects to support or just donate to the general fund, which then gets distributed by Peace Corps Staff. Have another country you want to support? They’re all listed on the website! Take a look at all of the amazing projects PCVs are implementing all over the world.
Literacy Services of Wisconsin
I only volunteered for this organization for a few weeks many summers ago, but I’ve only recently realized its affect on the Milwaukee community. In Morocco, we are expected to learn the local language. Learning a new language through immersion is one of the best ways to learn, but also the absolute hardest. If I need something from a store and I don’t know the name, I’m stuck, and it takes a combination of charades and hoping the shop owner maybe knows the object’s name in English or French to have a slight hope of him understanding me. Moroccans have (almost) always been extremely patient, and we as PCVs are often praised for our language skills by locals… they are usually impressed that we took the time to learn. Now imagine a Moroccan or any other non-English speaking native immigrating to America and going into a shop and not knowing a word for something. Do you think they would be met with empathy? With patience? How many times have you heard phrases such as “this is America, speak English” thrown around? Do you think the American people have a like-mindedness for people who are trying to learn the language and maybe can’t afford a private tutor? The Literacy Services of Wisconsin helps these people, gives them a place to learn and make mistakes and pairs them up with native English speaking volunteers. When I volunteered there, there were days when one volunteer had up to three students, so don’t only think about giving your money, but also your time! Think what an hour a week could do for someone.