March 2019: For the girls

Our kids both recognised International Women’s Day in March, participating in events at their local high school. Given the decision-making baton for this month’s donation the events were obviously on the mind of my son who researched a suitable charity to fit the theme. Over to him…

This month, the Tapping Family has decided to donate to the Ibba Girls School in South Sudan. We have picked this charity because of the recent IWD celebrations, and for equality in an underprivileged part of the world.

Our donation will feed one girl for two and a bit years, allowing her to study better, and become educated in a country where the amount of literate women as a percentage of the female population is the lowest in the world; just 16%.

We hope that those at the Ibba Girls School have a good year.

February 2019: Zusha!

Every morning as I wave my ‘ducklings’ off to school on their bikes I implore them to be safe on the roads – a fact they reminded me of when my daughter suggested Zusha! as our February charity. In Africa road fatalities and injuries impact twice the number of people as major health endemics like malaria. However this month’s story is not really mine to tell. Again this month, we handed over the decision to the kids and they both researched and came up with some great ideas of where our money could do the most good. This month my daughter takes the reins of our effective altruism efforts…

I chose Zusha! Road Safety Campaign as our monthly donation because I scrolled through The Life You Can Save effective altruism site and it caught my eye with its images. I read the details of the company and I thought it was a really great cause, because this isn’t just a problem in Africa; cars, buses and public transport all over the world are crashing, speeding, and endangering the lives of their passengers. This may be a big issue in Africa but really, even in the most suburban, rich areas there are crashes. For the leading causes for death worldwide, road accidents come in at number ten, above stomach/liver cancer and malaria, and just below tuberculosis and diarrhoeal diseases. Each year, 1.3 million deaths occur from road accidents, meaning this is the leading cause for accidental deaths. Zusha! has reduced road fatalities in Africa by 50% and is inspiring passengers of public transport to ‘zusha’, or ‘speak up/protest’. Therefore I chose Zusha! Road Safety Campaign as our monthly donation because I believe that it is making a large difference to road fatalities in Africa.

When telling us about her idea to donate to Zusha!, my daughter showed us this great video that is part of the awareness campaign the team has put together – watch here.

I love that this campaign puts the onus on the individual to speak up for their own safety. And it’s working.

 

 

 

January 2019: Back to school

Where we live, in Australia, the end of January is synonymous with hot weather and kids going back to school. First day back at school for both of our kids was a stinking hot day – 35 degrees. But they both rode off to the local high school, perfectly situated right next to the beach. And rode home, able to jump into our pool to cool off.  Living the life.

They also both had their pick of school lunches to take with them.

My son, a stereotypical ‘growing lad’ of 14 who tucks away an extraordinary amount of food and is still skinny as a rake, opted for three roast beef and salad rolls and two apples. He likes food he can hold in hands and eat while he plays soccer. Why waste lunch time sitting around eating, right?

My daughter, embarking on her first year of high school, chose to take her primary school lunch box with its little compartments that can be filled with sandwiches, fruit and a ‘treat’ for her sweet tooth. But no yoghurt – as apparently this year yoghurt is embarrassing. Go figure, poor yoghurt will need to employ a PR agent for the pre-teen demographic it seems.

Once again, their privilege – simply in being able to choose what they’d have for their school lunches – was apparent.

And talking about it was a good reminder for us as a family that in some countries the incentive of a school lunch is enough to get kids to school – increasing their opportunity for learning. Vice versa, if you’re at school and you haven’t eaten, your ability to learn is compromised.  

In July 2017, one of our first effective altruism monthly donations went to Oxfam, donating school meals for 23 children for a year. We backed this up with our January 2019 donation. Due to me not working for half of January, and perhaps the price of supplying school lunches increasing, our commitment to donating 5% of our income translates to school lunches for 12 children every day for the next year.

December 2018: Double Up Drive

The ‘Double Up Drive’ is now in its fifth year. Details on the website are scant, but in essence it looks like five professional poker players who pledge every year to match donations given to certain charities, up to a total this year of almost $2.5 million.

One of the charities supported in the Double Up Drive this year is the Against Malaria Foundation – an organisation that always ranks highly on the effectiveness charts and that we’ve supported twice in the past.

While there seems something a little random about having our donation matched by poker players, we’re going to roll (the dice!) with it and give it a go.

Our December donation goes to Against Malaria Foundation providing 178 malaria nets that will protect around 318 people. And with thanks to the Double Up Drive poker players this will increase to 356 nets protecting 637 people.

Thanks guys – may all your cards be royal.  

November 2018: The Tap-Out

My 12 year old daughter and I both recently read ‘Dry’ by the Shustermans. A teen fiction book, the novel outlines the repercussions of a fictional Californian drought that escalates to catastrophic precautions. The ‘Tap-Out’, as it’s referred to in the book, comes to a head when the taps run dry. Within days neighbours and the local community have turned on each other in the search for water.

While reading the book I felt a little guilty every time I turned on the tap for a glass of water, to brush my teeth, or to have a shower. How completely we take this luxury – access to clean water – for granted.

As often happens in what appears the perfect synchronicity of the world, around the same time we received a letter from Care Australia seeking support for their appeal to bring safe and clean water to some of the most remote and vulnerable families in the world. 

Care’s appeal words ‘… because what you get with the turn of a tap, some children have to walk miles for…’ couldn’t have come at a more apt time, with water scarcity and supply being top of mind.  On top of the availability of water, often the water children are walking miles to collect is dirty – full of dangerous, deadly bacteria. It can be collected from an open well – a hole in the ground where water gathers, along with rubbish, animal waste and many other things no one should be drinking.

Our November donation provides 123 families in remote areas, where water cleanliness and supply are real life-threatening issues, with access to clean, safe water from a borehole.

October 2018: Investing in training and employment opportunities

On our last night in Nepal we ate at Sarangi restaurant in Kathmandu. The restaurant runs under the Sarangi Social Enterprise, set up by Australian Sandra Fiedeldy, and committed to empowering communities through partnership and social enterprise.  

The food was amazing and the kids had a great chat with the young waiter who was from Chitwan, where we’d just come from. We later found out from Sandra that the waiter was Sudesh and that he had been involved with the restaurant project since he was a boy.

As well as the restaurant, Sarangi Social Enterprise partners with local organisations to create training and employment opportunities, with fair pay and fair working conditions. Think manufacture of chef’s clothing and fabric shopping bags.

Our October ‘donation’ allows Sarangi Social Enterprise to purchase the fabric for 373 shopping bags, with profits from the bags sold to pay for further training and machines. Creating a sustainable business for the Nepalese people involved.

I use the term donation lightly, as the model employed by Sarangi favours an ‘investment’ over a ‘donation’. So the money is accepted as a one to five-year interest free loan.

Personally, when the loan is repaid, we intend on reinvesting it straight back into Sarangi if it’s still needed.

Find out more about Sarangi Social Enterprises.

September 2018: High-quality healthcare in the Himalayas

In September and October we were lucky enough to have a family holiday to Nepal. A fortnight of exploring Kathmandu, mountain trekking, whitewater rafting and national parks. It is a beautiful place.

It is also poor. So much poorer than I expected. And the poverty seemed fairly universal.

With poverty comes self-sufficiency. More than 80% of Nepalese people still live in rural areas, and often grow their own food. In the areas we trekked there were no roads so any food was either grown locally or brought in by donkey.

With rural living comes isolation. And a lack of access to essential services, such as medical treatment.

We met a waiter who told us he looked after his mother and his sister as his father had become ill and they couldn’t afford the medical treatment he required so they had to ‘let him go’.

We knew we wanted our monthly donation to help in some small way.  We found Possible, an organization that provides sustainable health care to Nepal’s poorest communities.

And our monthly donation will provide 15 patients with quality healthcare they wouldn’t otherwise receive.