Something that characterises our first-world existence: the exchange of gifts between friends. I guess it stems from our age-old culture of mutual beneficence – it’s how we show our friends we love them, to give them something that can represent that love.
While the roots of gifts may be heartwarming, I sometimes feel that we give gifts just because it’s become tradition, the way things are done. But sometimes these gifts are things that your friend, in all honesty, may not need – pretty notebooks that lie in a corner collecting dust, yet another wallet from another friend. It doesn’t help that marketing companies have seized this human impulse to encourage us to buy things for others, which keeps the economy buzzing, an apparent sign of growth and economic well-being when at this stage of our overly prosperous lives, we might be just transferring novelties around our overly developed populace.
I don’t blame anyone for this, though. Giving has become so culturally entrenched. But with all the money we spend on friends who probably don’t need it, there are many, somewhere else, that do.
These children in developing countries don’t even have enough clean water to drink. Some have no time or money for an education, let alone afford the expensive knick-knacks that we first-worlders have become used to having in our daily lives.
But, as much as charitableness is just as human as giving, isn’t there a right time for love for friends and another to love the poor? Give our friends lovely birthday gifts, and when it’s time to give to the poor, we embark on a community involvement project.
What if we combined the two?
That’s what I’m doing for my birthday this year. I’m turning my celebration into a cause. What would really make it the best party ever would be if friends gave the money they would ordinarily have pooled to buy me a present to to kids who need the gift of clean water. The money would go to charity:water, an organization which uses 100% of the donations to fund efforts to bring clean water to people in developing nations.
Why do I think clean water is so important? That’s because it is a basic necessity of life, and the key that unlocks the door to better things for the impoverished. Check out this video to understand why.
So if you love me, and were thinking of buying me a gift, here’s what you can do instead:
Go to my fundraiser.
Donate any amount you want.
For this birthday, a gift for them is a gift for me, and your giving would make me immeasurably happy.