31 December 2007

Christmas & Goats: a Time for Giving

This Christmas my father suggested we do something different. Instead of spending large amount of money on Christmas presents for each other we decided to buy some goats. “Goats!” you cry, “are you insane?” No, as far as I can tell my mental faculties are still completely intact. Allow me to explain:

These goats weren’t bought for us, they were bought for a couple of families in Southern Sudan. We bought the goats from World Vision. You can see the results they accomplished in Australia alone here:


I certainly feel proud to have supported the purchasing of two of those 12,464 goats. Maybe my role alone isn’t much, but it’s the individual actions that add up. Just imagine the difference those goats are hopefully making in helping a large number of families to live with just a little more nourishment.

I keep hearing how Christmas is a time of giving, and indeed it seems much more valuable to give a family in Southern Sudan a means of getting some goats milk and a goat which will live off almost anything, rather than simply spending the same amount of money buying more stuff we (as a society at large) don’t really need.

Now I must admit my family and I were not completely altruistic this Christmas. Everyone got a small present and together the family purchased two goats. But the individual presents would have cost only a small amount of money. I for instance got Terry Pratchets “Making Money”, his latest book. Speaking of Terry Pratchet I hear this book may well be his last book as his been diagnosed with dementia, poor guy. He’s a fabulously witty writer and wherever he may be I salute him for at very least adding entertainment and joy into my life, let alone the lives of countless others.

Back to goats and Christmas. What I wish to purpose is that everyone adopt the true spirit of giving at Christmas by giving to the less fortunate, what better way to celebrate Christmas than knowing you have done a little something to make the world that much better. Helping others is a great way to feel good, it’s been proven, (http://www.livescience.com/health/070503_doing_good.html) volunteering for work apparently increases our happiness, and similarly giving to the needy makes us realise our own importance in helping those around us.

I’m not saying you have to give up your Christmas presents, maybe just buy less, or maybe just by a goat as well. Heck it hardly has to be a goat either. You could sponsor a child or family in Africa or donate to reforestation schemes in barren areas. The possibilities are endless. I know Christmas has just passed, but consider it for next Christmas, and all the Christmases thereafter, make it a regular family thing! You could even do something similar for other important calender days of the year.

While some people will argue that money is lost through beurocratic processes when donated to charities this is hardly a reason not to donate. It may be that some money is not as well spent as it should be, but the proof is in the pudding that 12,464 goats are now in Southern Sudan probably thinking “How the fuck did I get here”. Even if some money is lost, donating is still a worthwhile cause. Find a charity you believe is honest and reputable, and start improving the world one little bit at a time. Simply imagine if everyone who read this blog entry donated to charity and also made a commitment to tell five people about the idea. Then imagine if they likewise took on this challenge! Indeed the individual can make a difference, go and do something like buying a goat, and encourage a few friends to do similarly. I know I am trying to do my bit by encouraging you to also adopt a positive view in relation to the change we can create. As next Christmas roles around I will not doubt also encourage other families in person to buy a goat, or something along those lines, and I hope you too will join me in doing our little bit to better the world we all share.

1 comment:

laureruy said...

Hehe, original, clever, brilliant idea... who would have thought of actually helping someone during christmas? =)
seems like i might have to splurge a bit next time to actually do some good...

On another note, did you know that (apparently) Terry Pratchet's books hold the dubious honour of being the most shoplifted books? =)

I had no idea he had dementia... kinda makes me sad, especially since he seems to have been writing quite a lot of new books recently >_<

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