4 ‘Giving Tuesday’ gifts that I know for a fact will really help people

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday over, now comes Giving Tuesday and opportunities to spend your money in ways that can change lives. Literally!

I personally know how each of the organizations listed below have changed lives, and in some cases saved lives.

1 – Ramana’s Garden

Ramana’s Garden is an extraordinary orphanage in Rishikesh, India. Some children from the bottom caste (India’s class system) in the region are given room, board, meals, and an education — all thanks to donations from around the world.

My personal connection with this: my yoga instructor was a former orphan.

My private daily instruction was in a yoga studio on the school grounds, so I also saw how seriously the children take their studies.

Help young people like my yoga teacher achieve success instead of street life.

2 – Shanti India School

Shanti India School is my next recommendation. This place is incredible! It’s in Bihar state – one of the poorest in India.

‘Shanti’ means peace. The school is in Bodhgaya, the city where the original Buddha was enlightened in about 480 B.C.

In Bodhgaya today, a majority of lower caste children do menial work or beg to help their families. School is a pipe dream.

But Shanti India School covers everything — all instruction, uniforms, food — thanks to donations.

theo ellen and diane visit shanti india school in bodhgaya

We visited several classes for short talks with some of the 720 students – a fantastic enrollment number when you consider the crushing poverty in Bodhgaya and Bihar.

Feel good knowing this school is the real deal.

3 – Tenaganita

Tenaganita runs a shelter for women in crisis on Penang Island in Malaysia. It also protects migrants rights, and it fights human trafficking in that part of the world.

My late Irish friend was a Tenaganita volunteer.

The women at the shelter earn a little money with hand-crafted shoulder bags and hanging plant holders, which I have bought in past years.

However, shipping is not economical if you’re not in or near Malaysia, so the best way to help is by a cash donation.

Gracie Hughes, who died in October 2022, would have called you a ‘star’ for helping.

4 – Kiva

Kiva is a crowdfunded microloan organization. You pick who you lend your money to. When it’s paid back, you loan the principle again to someone else.

In the Philippines, I saw how one of my loans helped a small business owner. In fact, at last check, the Philippines had the largest number of Kiva borrowers in the world!

This is a great way to introduce Global North children to Global South charity – and also geography – IMHO.

Mom Diane (Tedly’s mom) introduced me to Kiva many years ago with a gift card for my birthday.

Money is time

The capitalist saying “time is money” can be looked at another way: money means your time.

When I buy something, when you buy something, you’re not paying money for it. You’re paying for the hours of your life you had to spend earning that money. The difference is that life is one thing that money can’t buy. Life only gets shorter. And it is pitiful to waste one’s life and freedom that way.

Jose Mujica, former president of Uruguay

Your gift on ‘Giving Tuesday’ can help someone have a little more time to enjoy the present – which is ultimately the best gift of all.

As I say: Life is Now!

ellen theo dubai airport

Thanks for reading, “4 Giving Tuesday gifts that I know for a fact will really help people.”

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