New Site!

Please go to the new site, This site is no longer going to be updated or kept current. All posts and information will be on the new site.

Come join us on the new site!

Hey all. Just so you know this will now be the only place for these blog posts.

As we transition Change You Can Afford into a charity, that site will be dedicated to the charity and no longer host the blogging archives.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thanks to my readers!

Hello, my lovely readers,

You all are wonderful and really make me happy that you continue to read my blog and encourage me to keep at it. Doing this blog and trying to change others lives really puts my own life into perspective and I really value that. I have been volunteering in one form or another almost constantly since high school and I have always enjoyed it. This blog is satisfying in a completely different manner from that experience, which I think that has its upside and its downsides.

The obvious upside is that I am helping people I have never and am unlikely to meet. We will never know one another, but I hope I affect their lives in positive ways. And perhaps they in turn will have the opportunity to affect others lives in a positive way. However, blogging about charity is extremely solitary. It is me sitting by myself, finding charities on the web and then donating to them. I worry that this makes me a bit removed from what I am doing. It is extremely easy for me to merely focus on issues which appeal to me and not learn about new causes or issues.

So, I am counting on you, my readers, to challenge me by calling new organizations, causes and issues to my attention. For example, a friend was telling me about an organization which gives old prosthetics to people in the Global South, who might not otherwise have access to them, and another friend was telling me about a charity organized by gamers who give toys to children in hospitals. These both sound amazing and I will feature them in the next week.

Hope you enjoyed the sneak peak for the upcoming week and my thoughts on my blog. Please tell me about your thoughts on this post and my blog, I love hearing your comments and feedback.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Uganda orphans

This week has been about supporting young girls and giving to projects at the Global Giving site. Today's post is a project to educate young girls in Uganda who have been orphaned due to war or HIV/AIDS. This project is organized by the Platform for Labour Action, whose focus is on a grassroots effort to reach out to the affected community and working with them to meet their needs.

This project will provide education, lunch, school materials and school uniforms to orphaned girls. Counseling support, nutrition and basic health care will be offered to rehabilitate these children. This project's goal is to enable "displaced and orphaned children will be able to read and write; communicate; develop their intellect; improve socializing skills and realize their right to education. They will have potential to earn income, leave meaningful and positive lives.

This project aims to remove 200 orphans from exploitative situations and provide them with education and nutrition, as well as counseling and health care. Without this project these girls lack access to education and the social instability leads to displacement and exploitative work situations. Many young girls end up turning to forms of prostitution in order to survive, which puts them at risk to STD's and HIV/AIDS, as well as causing many of them to be child mothers.

Its truly a tough place to survive, one of the reasons is that HIV/AIDS has destroyed an entire generation. In many areas of Africa, the predominance of people are elderly or very young children being raised by grandparents or their older siblings. HIV/AIDS has impacted middle aged people the most, which is very hard on the children who do not have parents to care for them. This project will help children who have been orphaned or displaced get their education, and to survive and thrive despite the obstacles they face.

I hope that you have been inspired by these amazing projects that are working to empower young girls around the globe. Knowing that I helped people around the world often helps to make me feel more empowered about my own life. If these children can survive what they have been through, then I too have the strength to be successful. Helping others through volunteering or donating is a great way to feel empowered in your own life.

P.S. I slept badly, so if there are grammatical errors or inconsistencies please blame them on the lack of sleep. On the other hand, if today's post was brilliant, I take full credit for that! :-)


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Girl 2 Girl


Today's program that I am featuring is the Girl 2 Girl run by Oasis for Girls, a project of the Tides Center. They focus on young girls from 11 to 24 years old, many of whom are immigrants or from marginalized groups, in the neighborhood's of San Francisco who are struggling to fit into our culture while maintaining their own heritages. 

Oasis for Girls "provides a safe space where girls and young women are inspired and empowered to become strong and creative leaders in their communities. Oasis For Girls provides culturally relevant and gender specific Arts and Arts Education, Leadership Development, and Life Skills Education programs that support the growth of low-income and immigrant girls and young women of color in urban communities. Through these programs, girls and young women have access to a community of adults who support them in creating change and integrating their skills to address issues they face in their lives and in their communities"

Here is a video done by their Girl Leadership Institute discussing teen pregnancy, safer sex, abstinence, and abortion from their own viewpoint. This video made by young women is intended to educate other young women about their options.

The Girl 2 Girl project is focused on girls from 11 to 14, helping them to find and reach their potential. Being a young girl in an urban environment can be quite challenging; "just walking down the street can be an exercise in sexual harassment. Overtures from gang members - both male and female - are a daily reality, and even the youth-focused community centers can be dominated by boys and young men. In an effort to protect their daughters, many parents require their girls to come straight home after school, rather than hang out, unsupervised, with friends. So if you're 13, where do you find a haven, an Oasis?"

The project provides and environment for the girls to be themselves and to escape the pressure of their lives. It helps them to become leaders in their community.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Human Trafficking

A heartbreaking issue is the trafficking of huge numbers of adults and young girls and boys for labor, sexual exploitation, and other purposes. People in these situations have very little protections and options. For example, someone trafficked to the U.S. in many areas is seen as an illegal and are deported instead of prosecuting those who trafficked them, the laws are being changed, but it is still an ongoing fight for recognition of their plight. It is a tragic situation across the globe, and it is widespread although many people may not have heard about it. One area that has been impacted by this is Cambodia, one reason it is so prevalent is the poverty. When people have no options they will take any chance in hope of a job, but will often end up being trafficked instead. And parents will sell their children because they need the money to survive or they might hope that their child might have a better future.

Which is why I today I focus on Restoring Hope to Trafficked Girls in Cambodia, a project supported and organized by Hagar USA which support the mission of Hagar International. Their mission states that "Hagar is an international Christian organisation committed to the recovery, empowerment and reintegration of women and children in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Vietnam. Pierre Tami and his wife, Simonetta launched Hagar in 1994 in Cambodia with the vision of empowering women and children from devastating backgrounds of violence, abuse and trafficking, to become strong, resilient and independent members of community again. At Hagar, social programs meet social business.  This approach, including recovery shelters, education, vocational training, and employment, has enabled hundreds of women and children to reintegrate into community again."

I love the focus on empowering women who have dealt with so much violence and abuse in their lives and showing how strong and amazing these women can be. Women who escape and overcome situations, such as human trafficking, are often the fiercest advocates for change in their community and in stopping other women and girls from ending up in the same place as them.

This specific project is dedicated to helping young girls from 4 to 14 that were trafficked or experienced other forms of sexual abuse. They want to create a residential care facility for these young girls, a place where they can feel safe and receive holistic recovery services, including counseling, medical care, legal support, and education. The environment will be one that will support and nurture these girls to break the cycle of abuse and restore their lives.

Hopefully, it will restore hope to all the girls in Cambodia that pass through its doors. Please consider supporting it as well.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sudan Girls!

After yesterday's post, I have decided that this is the week of young women's empowerment. So today I will be focusing on a project working to empower young women in the Sudan. The project is Inspiring Darfur Girls to Achieve and is run by Relief International, I really like the sound of this project and think it is great that organizations are helping girls located in an area of upheaval, genocide, and warfare. The girls in that area face an existence harsher than many of us in the Global North can fully appreciate.

Inspiring Darfur Girls to Achieve is working on specific issues affecting girls and women in Sudan through education and increasing the status of women, to show them that they can become leaders. The project recognizes that in order to create change in the area, they need to educate women, so they seek to create a program that will support and create female leaders in the Sudan. Education can do so much for women: increase their earning potential, positively impact their community, and create social change.

 So that's today's post, I think that this is an amazing project to support so I hope you enjoyed hearing about it and I would love it if you supported them too.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Unleash the Leader in a Girl!

I came across an organization that seems really great, I hope you agree. I found them at the Global Giving and they caught my eye, I have therefore decided that this is going to be a week dedicated to young girls and women around the world. Today's charity is The Mariposa Girl's Leadership Program in the Dominican Republic and it focuses on empowering young girls in order to create change and promote social justice. They are inspired by the UN's Millenium Development Goals, so they focus on "eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing the child mortality rate, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development." And they believe that the achievement of these goals are "dependent upon the education and empowerment of women and young girls."

Any organization which works to empower young girls has my support. Here is a video from them talking about their work. Very inspiring.

So, if you find them interesting and want to donate to them, you can mail them checks or donate through their Global Giving page.

While we are on the subject, Global Giving is another site you can look for and find wonderful charities, just another resource for y'all.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The plan!

drum roll please

Here is the plan for the blog for the year.... I know it is a lot to handle all at once, so I will keep it simple. ;-)

~ I will post every day, barring illnesses and unforeseen emergencies. And if I miss a post because I was busy, lazy, forgetful, or out having fun - a girl can dream - then I have to donate an additional $20 to make up for it. That is the most important rule for the year.

The Format
  • Every weekday, I will highlight and donate a dollar to an organization. Going back to the original idea of even a dollar a day helping change the world and how we can all afford to help others. 
    • I will also do my best to find new charities and to expand my knowledge of issues around the globe.
  • Saturdays will be a day for reflective posts and other fun items I come across. 
    • On these days I will share other ideas on how to make the world a better place, inspirational quotes, or whatever catches my eye.
  • And Sunday will be a day for people to write comments with suggestions for organizations or focuses.
    • For example, I really enjoyed the weeks that had themes to them. In February I want to celebrate Black History Month by highlighting organizations like Color of Change who work on issues of racism in our society.
    • What I ask from my readers is that whenever they hear of a good charity or an anniversary/holiday which I could focus on, like International Women's Day, they will leave me a comment on Sunday.
    • And if no one leaves comments with ideas and suggestions on events and organizations, then you are not allowed to complain about the organizations I do feature.
That is the current setup for the blog for 2011, there might be changes and modifications along the way, so don't get too attached to them. ;-)

And as always, go ahead and leave a comment if you have any ideas you want to share with me.