Heard about Blog Action Day, yet? We’ve been waiting for this day since August. This amazing movement is comprised of bloggers all over the world who raise awareness of a problematic topic on the same day. Last year’s theme was the environment and this year it’s poverty. How do we connect weddings and poverty, you ask?
Many brides and grooms choose to donate to a charity or cause in lieu of wedding favors. Sometimes this is an organization that’s meaningful to the couple, such as the ASPCA they adopted their dog from or their alma mater. Sometimes this is an organization that the couple supports, like the Susan G. Komen Foundation or even Goodwill.
What organizations do they never contribute to? Those they’ve never heard of.
I want to take this opportunity and raise awareness about three organizations that can use your help. A wedding is the perfect time to think of those less fortunate. Why not skip the jordan almonds and make a difference?
First we have ONE, perhaps the most popular of the three. This is the organization that Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Susan Sarandon, Sean Combs, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Bono, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, and many more support. ONE is primarily a lobbying organization, dedicated to raising awareness and educating political officials about poverty in the US and other nations. While they don’t yet have a gift registry set up, you could certainly make a donation in lieu of favors. Here is one of their creative TV ads:
Next we have African Dowry. This London-based organization is the wedding registry arm of Farm Africa, a charity that provides farming help to families in Africa. As a bride, you can create a wedding registry, send your wedding guests to the website, and they make a donation on your behalf. What a great idea!
Here is one story about the difference they’re making:
FARM-Africa is working with thirteen primary schools in Babati, Tanzania, through our Agricultural and Environmental Education Project. We help teachers to devise new lesson plans and deliver them in a way that inspires and motivates pupils.
Rebekah is sixteen years old and has attended her primary school since she was ten. Before then, her parents couldn’t afford to send her. Rebekah is enthusiastic about the new skills she’s learning:
“We’ve set up demonstration plots at school so we can learn how to plant maize. The maize has grown very well and we use it in the school, so we all get a meal to eat. The teachers also sell some to raise money for books and chairs. I want to be a farmer when I leave school, like my parents, but I also want to teach others how to farm well too.”
Rebekah has made a good start at teaching others. She’s taught her parents about the benefits of chicken and cattle manure and their maize is growing much better. FARM-Africa encourages children to share what they learn with their families and neighbours.
Farming in the future will still be challenging for these youngsters. But thanks to FARM-Africa’s work, children like Rebekah will leave school with the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm they need to help feed themselves and their families.
They also donate livestock, provide micro loans, and offer the use of farming equipment to prepare farmland and help with new crops. Read more of their amazing stories here.
Finally we have my personal favorite. Changing the Present is a similar organization built around helping people through gift registries. Like African Dowry, you register on their website for certain items. Instead of just focusing around Africa and farming, your guests can purchase things like fishing lessons for a woman, breakfast for a child for one year, or seeds for a village. There are also categories other than hunger like human rights, peace, water, medical research, education, animal welfare, disaster relief, and many many more. Just imagine the difference that money can make instead of buying you a new gravy boat or fondue pot.
I hope you’ve at least considered using one of these organizations as part of your wedding plans. By taking a few minutes to learn about the options, you can make a big difference and play a role in ending the world’s poverty.