On Giving Back

Dec 6th, 2009, 09:48 AM
  #1  
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On Giving Back

I gain so much from my travels. And I’m always grateful for how open people are in sharing their culture and experiences. While I can pay people for their services and tip generously or offer small gifts, it never seems like enough to me.

So before I go or when I return from a trip, I always look for a local charity or an international charity that has a project in the area.

Typically, this is an easy task. One of my favorite international charities is Heifer International www.heifer.org . In addition to their gifts like a flock of chickens or a goat or a swarm of bees that can help people become more self-sufficient, they also have larger projects. You can choose a project to support. So last year, after our return from Kathmandu, we chose a project in Nepal to support.

I have often given to Doctors without Borders www.doctorswithoutborders.org and Mercy Corps www.mercycorps.org . They offer medical care in areas that otherwise have no care available as well as intervening in cases of natural disasters.

A favorite local charity of mine is the PLF www.theplf.org . It’s a charity started by Lori Carlson, “offwego” here on Fodors. It supports education for Cambodian children by buying school supplies and uniforms for children, augmenting the salaries of teachers, purchasing bicycles for children to attend high school, or bringing in a doctor to a remote school to treat sick children.

Trying to find a charity after our trip to Burma was not as easy. As you may know, Burma has long blocked international charities from coming into the country. Indeed, in the aftermath of hurricane Nargis, they would not allow ships or planes to land carrying food, medicine and aid workers. We did eventually discover that Heifer has a project (Myanmar Agriculture and Livestock Development Project) based in Thailand that reaches into Burma to supply animals and economic development assistance to hill tribe people in Burma.

We met a woman in Bagan who had been sponsoring a child near Mandalay through Save The Children www.savethechildren.com for ten years. She had traveled to Burma specifically to meet this child, a very moving experience. We also saw a building in a village on southern Inle Lake that said Save the Children on the sign, so this charity has managed to work inside this country that has traditionally been rejecting of outside help.

Some people prefer to take gifts of school supplies to local schools or medicine to local clinics. These are all ways to give back to people who have so generously shared their lives with us.
Kathie is online now  
Dec 6th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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I found out about ShelterBox after cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar. They are another organization that has a prescence in Burma as well as the rest of the world.
Femi is offline  
Dec 6th, 2009, 10:29 AM
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While in Yangon I was actually at the home of the Myanmar head for Save the Children.
Nywoman is offline  
Dec 6th, 2009, 11:21 AM
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Thanks for that, Femi. I always like to learn about new organizations.

And Fanny, I was really surprised to see how much presence Save the Children has managed to have in Burma. Do you have additional info about what they do in Burma that you can share?
Kathie is online now  
Dec 6th, 2009, 10:12 PM
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In the aftermath of Nargis, Gloria recommended Jalin, a Burmese doctor who lives in the USA now. She is a director of the www.betterburmesehealthcare.org and goes back and forth to work with this group to improve healthcare in Burma. Gloria (haven't seen her on Fodors lately) had the knowledge to transfer money to a guide who was her friend from her trips to Burma so he could take supplies etc straight to the affected areas. She was instrumental in sending lots of money for aid to help in the situation. But the above doctor, is a NGO with ongoing projects in Burma.
wintersp is offline  
Dec 7th, 2009, 06:12 AM
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Thanks, wintersp, I couldn't find Gloria's post about this.
Kathie is online now  
Dec 7th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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Sorry we didn't discuss the actual work they do, the conversation was more about what it was like to work in Burma.
The tremendous needs in every area and what it was like living in Burma.
Nywoman is offline  
Dec 7th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Thanks, Fanny. I'd be interested in hearing a bit about that.
Kathie is online now  
Dec 7th, 2009, 02:34 PM
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Great thread, Kathie.

There's also Kiva:

http://www.kiva.org/

I'm always very much touched by the generosity of Fodorites on the Asia Forum!
easytraveler is offline  
Dec 7th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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Oh, yes, I like kiva. But I've never seen any loans in Burma. Have you?
Kathie is online now  
Dec 8th, 2009, 10:56 AM
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Kathie; no, no loans for Burma on Kiva that I've seen either. Lots for African nations as well as Central Asian nations.
easytraveler is offline  

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