The end of 2019 is near, and for many of us, that marks one of the most important days of the year: Christmas! As we take part in the festivities, indulge in amazing food, and spend quality time with our family and friends, it’s imperative that we don’t forget those who don’t have the means that we do.
As it’s the season of giving, here are a few things you can do to make this Christmas a memorable one for those who are less privileged.
Make A donation
There are many government-approved organisations that span a variety of sectors, from homeless shelters to orphanages, that are committed to helping those in need. You could make a direct donation to their respective funds or provide them with some supplies.
A few notable organisations include:
Child Action Lanka
Child Action Lanka assists children—both in the short and long-term—who are homeless, victims of child trafficking, etc., by providing them shelter, food, and whatever they can to ensure they reenter society fully-equipped to make their own way forward.
Colombo Friend-in-Need Society
The oldest charity in Sri Lanka, CFINS has been providing services to the underprivileged for nearly two centuries. CFINS provides artificial limbs to those who’ve lost them due to illnesses, landmines, accidents, and more. They also provide interest-free loans and education programmes for children.
Alternatively, you could also find a few lesser-known but approved charities in your region to make a donation to.
Volunteer Your Time
Money and provisions aren’t the only ways you can help people out. Another brilliant contribution would be your time. There are services that help distribute food and other necessities to people in need. You could sign up to lend a helping hand any day of the week!
Here are a few such services and organisations you could volunteer with.
Robin Hood Army
The Sri Lankan arm of India-based Robin Hood Army relies on volunteers to help distribute surplus food collected from partnered restaurants. You can sign up on the website, and as it’s a daily programme, you could join the roster anytime you are able to.
Sri Lanka Red Cross Society
A relatively old volunteer-based organisation, the SLRCS carries out disaster relief, blood donor campaigns, and HIV awareness campaigns, to name a few. By joining them, you could actively participate in any of these efforts and help make life better for people across the country.
Raise funds And Awareness For Medical Causes
All year round, people struggle to cover exorbitant medical costs from debilitating conditions. Though the government subsidies much of these, people still struggle to get the healthcare they need to survive.
You could help raise awareness regarding such cases, set up a float, or directly donate to organisations, such as the Maharagama Cancer Hospital.
Known as the National Cancer Institute, the hospital comes under the Ministry of Health, and is dedicated to cancer diagnosis and treatment. You could donate directly and help somebody have a stronger chance at beating cancer.
You could also donate blood through the National Blood Transfusion Service, and with just under a pint, you could potentially save a life! After all, every drop counts.
Source Gifts Equitably
Christmas isn’t all about gifts, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like some for ourselves! You could always make the act of gift-giving even more wonderful by ensuring these gifts are equitably sourced. Here are a couple of ideas for ethically sourced gifts so you can celebrate a guilt-free, sustainable Christmas.
If you would like to empower our traditional handloom industry, you could make a purchase from SELYN. Founded in 1991, SELYN is the only fair trade-guaranteed retailer in the country. Dedicated to uplifting the living standards of rural folk, their store offers ethically sourced woven clothes for adults and kids, as well as an interesting gift section.
Back To Earth
Back To Earth is a seller focused on producing gift items that are not just cute, but also eco-friendly! You could even request a custom-designed gift, which will then be made through sustainable methods using recycled material.
Spare A Thought For The Animals
Unfortunately, people aren’t the only ones who need our help. Many animals fall victim to human activity, lose their habitats, food sources, and often, their lives.
Even though we can’t ensure that all animals can live safely and happily, we can lend a helping hand.
A few such organisations that dedicate their time and resources to helping animals in Sri Lanka include Adopt A Dog Sri Lanka, Animal SOS and Animal Welfare and Protection Association.
This isn’t a comprehensive list as there are tons of ways you could make a positive difference this festive season. Anything’s possible, and every little good deed adds up to changing lives for the better!