July and August 2018: Raising effective altruists

After just over a year of effective altruism, with 13 regular family discussions to decide where to direct that month’s money under our belt, we decided it was time to hand the reins over to the kids for a couple of months. With a few guidelines in place – aimed at directing their ideas towards effective charities – they went away to research and came back to the family with three choices for our monthly donations. We then discussed the options and voted for where the money would be donated out of the three options presented. Our daughter, who is 12, took July. And our son, who is 14, took August.

Over to them…


The Food Fortification Initiative provides food fortified with iron and other minerals to people who lack the basic nutrition needed to survive healthily. I chose this charity because last year I wrote a speech for school about people who needed this food, and when I looked up photos to support my arguments and to persuade people to pay attention to these people, the images that I saw made me think about what it really would be like to live in those conditions. Even though it was just another school project, I stopped thinking about the spelling and grammar of my speech and began wondering if people like us (who live in first world countries [I’m assuming the reader of this lives in a first world country as they need to access a computer/iPad/iPhone to read this]) would be able to live in these conditions, having lived in the lap of luxury compared to the people in the photos for most of our lives. And when I thought deeper about the lives some people are living, I decided I really wanted to improve those lives because after all, we are all humans and we all deserve to live great lives. And so that is why I chose the FFI as this month’s charity.


I was given the donation money for August and asked to find three viable charities to donate to. I began by doing a general search of “good charities”, which probably gives you a good indication of my experience in this field. In the end, the three charities that stood out were: Save The Children, Afghanaid and one more charity which assisted “fake” orphans in Nepal as well as other countries. Save the Children was our selected charity, and we donated four barns of animals to people in need. These animals will provide food as well as income for the families, both vital to survival. One of my other charities, Afghanaid, assisted Afghani people with education so that they can better help their communities, as well as fruit trees to provide food for rural towns. My final charity helps children who are stolen from their families and called orphans, to reunite with their family. They work in Nepal, a country that our family will be visiting shortly. I am happy to help people in need by providing food and income and our whole family is happy to have bettered four families in need.

September 2017: Give your birthday to make them smile at Christmas

Through my job I am lucky enough to have met a gorgeous colleague who lives and works in the Côte d’Ivoire in Africa. She has been out to Melbourne twice and it’s been lovely getting to know her.

This year Doris was recognised at work for a charity she has set up, ‘Gift your birthday’. People pledge their birthdays to the charity, and instead of presents their family and friends donate money or goods. The ‘Gift your birthday’ organization then arranges four events each year to pass the money and goods on to people in need in Côte d’Ivoire – orphans, handicapped children, those living with ill health or in poverty.

Doris visited Melbourne for the second time in September and spent a fun day with our family – bbq breakfast Aussie style overlooking the water and the city views, fiercely contested soccer match (turns out Doris loves her soccer as much as my son loves his), stroll through the local market, all topped off with ice cream in the sunshine.

Lots of fun and also a great opportunity to hear more about the charity Doris has set up, her motivation and her experience.

As a result, our September donation was made directly into the bank account of ‘Gift your birthday’. The money goes towards their last event for 2017, the ‘Make them smile for Christmas’ campaign. The event aims to provide 150 children who are handicapped or living in difficult conditions with Christmas presents, as well as equipping the canteen of a local centre in Côte d’Ivoire.

Our pale blue dot is definitely a kinder place thanks to people like Doris.