herald

Monday 1 September 2014

Gifts that change lives

MUM Catherine Mweene depends on the goat provided to her by Concern to feed her children Douglas and Oveleiana in her home village of Shachimbwanka in Zambia. The goat's manure is used to help grow food for her family. When the goat has a kid, it will be passed on to help another family in need in the village.

A random survey of people shows some people are all for giving charity gifts -- where you pay for a goat and send it to a developing country in someone else's name -- while others much prefer to buy something which they know a person wants for themselves. There doesn't seem to be any in between.

Charities, such as Concern, depend on the extra money they raise during the festive season to pay for the much-needed services they provide, and will be vying for us to shop with them in the next couple of weeks.

Questions are frequently raised regarding how much of the money paid for charity gifts goes to help people in need. So it makes sense to shop with long-established and reputable charities.

STOCKING

If you're one of those who love to give a charity gift, here are some suggestions for charity gift buying.

Cheeverstown has teamed up with luxurious Irish-owned Max Benjamin candles, which is run by brothers Mark and David Van den Bergh. The candles come in a selection of scents and cost €18.95 and can be ordered online from www.cheeverstown.ie.

Cheeverstown is a voluntary organisation that provides a wide range of residential, respite and day services to almost 400 children and adults with an intellectual disability in Templeogue and throughout various community locations in South Dublin. Christmas cards designed by eight people using services in Cheeverstown are also available. There are eight cards in a pack with self-seal envelopes and they cost €10.

Fairtrade stocking fillers are another option if you want to give a gift with the aim of giving back this Christmas. Fairtrade aims to help producers in developing countries to negotiate better trading conditions and promote sustainability.

Products with the Fairtrade mark include Neal's Yard Sensual Jasmine collection, which includes body oil at €25 for 100ml and body cream costing €25 for 150g. See www.nealsyardremedies.com/republic-of-ireland-stockists.

Lush Vanillary fragrance range is made from high quality gourmet vanilla Fairtrade beans grown on the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains in Uganda. The range is available to buy in an atomiser (30ml, €31.00), spritzer (10ml, €14), solid perfume (12g, €8), and is available in Lush stores in College Green and Henry Street. For more information log onto www.fairtrade.ie.

Trocaire has a wide variety of gift ideas to "bring about positive and lasting change in some of the world's poorest places".

Chickens for a family in Malawi are €5 and if you're feeling more generous you can pay €50 to supply a family with goats. For more gift ideas, log onto www.trocaire.org.

Irish charity Bothar specialises in supplying livestock to families in Uganda, Malawi and Cameroon. The charity reports that an Irish dairy cow will produce up to 20 times as much nutritious milk every day as a cow native to these countries.

A share of a dairy cow will set you back €40, or for the more well-heeled out there there's always the gift of a crossbred cow, which is priced €450. For more information log on to www.bothar.ie.

EQUIPMENT

You can bring a smile to a child's face by gifting them a sport's equipment set for €11, which includes balls, nets and sports kit.

This and lots more gifts are available from development agency Concern's gift website www.concerngifts.org.

Gorta is the longest-running overseas development agency in Ireland.

Some of the seasonal gifts it offers are a flock of chickens for €20, a self-sufficient vegetable garden for €50, or beekeeper training for €85. See www.gorta.ie.

World Vision Ireland is a child-focussed overseas aid agency and provides short and long-term assistance to 100 million people worldwide. A gift of a midwifery kit costs €50 and provides a birth attendant with essentials like soap and sterile blades to deliver a baby safely. While a gift of school supplies will help budding scholars on their way to a brighter future and is priced €10 (www.worldvision.ie).

Oxfam Ireland has a range of gifts including a pair of baby ducks for €27, a mosquito net for €5 or helping to fix a well for €28. For gifts log on to www.oxfamireland.org

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