January 2018: Money for mates

I’ve always loved sponsoring any of my friends or colleagues when they’re fundraising for causes that mean a lot to them. It is in fact my favourite type of giving because multiple people gain from it – the person raising the money, the person giving the money and the person receiving the money. The triple threat of fundraising, if you like.

So I was delighted to receive two requests for support this month from friends who are doing crazy long walks and runs to raise money for… Fred Hollows and Oxfam.

My triple threat suddenly became a quadruple threat, with the added bonus that their chosen causes are officially approved effective altruism charities.

So this month – which was a ‘poor’ month because I took the whole month off work to hang out with the kids so we are donating only out of one salary – we’ve split our donation between our friends’ worthy causes.

Through our amazing ex-neighbour who is walking the Oxfam Trail, our money will provide a farmer in Malawi with fertilizer, seeds and tools to market and sell produce.

Through our equally amazing current neighbours who are both doing the Fred Hollows Coastrek, our money will provide screening for 250 children in Laos.

Happy trails to you all.

November 2017: Keeping Fred’s vision alive

When I was thirty, I had laser surgery on my eyes. It cost me a couple of thousand dollars, but I felt it was worth it as it meant I no longer had to wear glasses or contact lenses for my relatively mild short-sightedness. If anyone asks me about it in the years since, I say it was well worth the money.

I almost feel ill when I compare that now to the millions of people in developing countries who stay needlessly blind because they live in poverty. Do you know how much it costs to restore eyesight to a lot of these people? $25.

If you live in a developing country, and you are blind, it arguably has a larger impact on your life than if you are blind in a developed country. If you are blind in a developing country, chances are you will not be educated. You will have no independence. You will not have the ability to work or make a living.

Our November funds went to the Fred Hollows Foundation, and will provide eye cataract surgery to 27 people in developing countries.

The Foundation, set up by humanitarian and eye surgeon Fred Hollows, works in more than 25 developing countries with the aim of making sure everyone, whether they’re rich or poor, has access to high-quality, affordable eye health. They are working towards a world where no person is unnecessarily blind.

It’s pretty clear to see, with knock on effects of increased education, employment and independence, good eyesight is a key element in breaking the cycle of poverty.