Travelling has given me a lot of things – useful skills, resilience, good memories and a lovely husband. But there is one thing that I have taken from travelling that has effected my life more than anything else….appreciation.
I’m wealthier than I think
The more I see of the world, the more I realise how lucky I am. As I type this my thirst is clenched, I am sheltered, warm and full. I have good health, family and wonderful friends. I’m in the top 4% of the richest people in the world and was born in a country that gave me an education, free health care and that allows people to grow up in a multi-cultural, liberal, war-free environment. That’s a lot of good things.
All of the above has come down to one thing – luck.
Even if you were to strip me of half of my luxuries and benefits, I would still be better of than millions of others around the world.
Culture and media make us believe that we don’t have much in our lives in the west and that to be happy we need to consume more. I’ve seen what poverty and misfortune looks like. It’s crap and unfair. While we spend hundreds of pounds on a apple product or a outfit shopping spree that will give us a few hours of additional enjoyment, a child will die somewhere of hunger. Just a few pennies could have saved their life. How is that right?
Trying to do something to even it out
I hate to think that I am preaching and, don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as the next person of buying things I don’t need and spending money on self indulgent things (just look at my travel plans!) but….I try and do a bit. At least it’s something.
I try to be modest, give a percentage of what I earn away to charity and I dedicate time each year towards fundraising and helping others less fortunate than me. It is a tiny effort on my part that I know can make a huge, genuine difference to the lives of other people. If everyone in the world did this we could, literally, eliminate hardships like hunger overnight. Just like that.
It is in our nature to be self absorbed and it is hard to give when we don’t see the effects or difference it makes. But part of charity is just knowing and believing that your contribution is helping. I really hope I can inspire others to give too, to evaluate and acknowledge your luck by also acknowledging those who aren’t so fortunate.
Helping another human being and doing something selflessly really is the most amazing, purest things we can do with our lives. I really believe that.
Why I have chosen to fundraise for ACE
I have decided to use our adventures and any exposure we get as an opportunity to fundraise. In the last few years, partly from having an insight into the charity sector, I have become very picky about which charity I give my money and time to. It took a lot of searching but when I found Africa’s Children in Education (ACE) I knew it was perfect.
Education is a basic way of changing lives and the opportunities for children in the developing world without an education are minimal. Education builds confidence, feeds dreams and opens doors. ACE have built a school in rural Tanzania and are raising funds to complete the build (so the school can function at full capacity) and to sponsor children who would otherwise not have the opportunity of an education.
There are a number of amazing things that the charity are doing which made me certain we had found the right place:
- The charity is run by 2 very dedicated volunteers and has no over head costs meaning that 100% of donations goes directly to the school and children
- The school is owned and run by the community – not by the western donors
- ACE has a strong focus on sustainability and a future plan for the school to completely support itself
- They have recognised wider issues regarding the children’s learning and also provide hot meals for the students – many of whom are malnourished
- As a small grassroots charity, with a modest turnover, I know that the fundraising I do and the donations people give are really needed
If you would like to support the charity, or even just want to support Gil and I in our efforts to fundraise then please do sponsor us. I can’t tell you how happy each individual donation makes me feel – partly because it feels amazing to have personal support from a friend, but also because it sparks a slight hope that the injustice in the world has been slightly balanced, even if just by a few pounds.
Please be part of that change!