Gift the Unexpected: 3 Unique ‘Gifts for Good’ Ideas that Help Children Worldwide
by Fred Witteveen
My family, perhaps like yours, has an annual holiday tradition.
Every year, no matter where we are, we make the same Christmas breakfast. We prepare our special crepes, the recipe handwritten on a stained decades-old 3×6 card. As a family, we have moved often and even relocated abroad for a time. Change is a constant for us, but so are those pancakes.
My daughter, now 28, grew up on them; I figure she downed hundreds over the years before leaving her now empty-nester parents. As a result of COVID last year, we spent the holidays miles apart in New York and Toronto. Even quarantine could not stop us; we laughed together as we flipped crepes made with our special recipe over Zoom.
Children everywhere love traditions (parents, too), and traditions make memories. Celebrating Giving Tuesday (November 29) is a tradition in our family, too. It marks the largest global movement of generosity and signals the start of the holiday season. If you’re writing up your family’s holiday wish list this year, consider including some ‘gifts for good’ that will make a lasting difference to vulnerable children worldwide and create a new family tradition.
Children Believe is a charity that supports more than 1.2 million children, youth and community members annually. They release their Gifts for Good catalogue every year. It features gifts that can help break the barriers to education that millions of children, particularly girls, endure in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay—countries where Children Believe serves.
All 54 gifts featured in the Gifts for Good catalogue will support children and their families to overcome the challenges they face, not only during the holiday season but all year long. Here are three of my favourite picks that I hope might make your family’s list this holiday season, too.
Being the GOAT – what younger generations recognize to mean the “Greatest Of All Time” – may be an accolade given to sports stars, but we think real goats are the “Gift Of All Time”. Why? Goats have proven to be useful in developing countries as a source of milk, fertilizer, and income for vulnerable families. Parents can use these funds for their children’s school fees and supplies. You can help a family for a year by giving a goat ($100 per goat, $250 per flock) as a stocking stuffer.
Today, more than 100 million girls worldwide are out of school. Girls with no education are three times more likely to marry before age 18 than those who attended secondary school or higher. A scholarship ($100) that sends a girl to school for a year is a life-changing gift. Our giving partners will multiply the value of this gift 5X for an even greater impact.
During school, some children in developing countries receive the only meal they receive every day. As parents, we know that children cannot learn on an empty stomach. In order to improve their chances of staying in school and succeeding, you can help provide nutritious meals ($50) for children so they can concentrate better. Providing your children with gifts for good school meals might make an outstanding teacher’s gift — as well as sparking some thoughtful conversations around the dinner table.
About the Author
Fred Witteveen, CEO, Children Believe
Fred is a veteran humanitarian leader dedicated to creating lasting change for vulnerable children worldwide. For over 60 years, Children Believe has worked globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in, and be heard. It is driven by a common belief: creating access to education – inside and outside of the classroom – is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.
To learn more about the Children Believe Gifts for Good catalogue, visit: childrenbelieve.ca/giftsforgood