Those who know me are aware that I can be a bit of a pageant contest when it comes to “world peace.” I often perform Random Acts of Kindness from something as little as buying the person behind me in Starbucks their coffee to buying a full blown meal for a homeless woman in central London. But my favourite charity above all others is SOS Children’s Villages.
When I was 18 years old, soon after my mum said no to travelling, I started my first full time job at a commercial estate agents in Middlesex. This was around about the time that inexplicable love for Cambodia kicked in. I spent an afternoon on the internet hunting down a charity that I could feel close to. Of course there were loads. We live in a society where people are happy to be giving from a distance in the hopes that it will make them feel blessed and better people for it. But the one that really stood out to me was SOS Children’s Villages. Not only was their website clear and easy to get around but they got right to the point of what they were about without illustrating pictures of grim-faced children to tug at the heart strings.
SOS Children’s Villages help to supply and maintain homes for orphans and abandoned children in 125 different countries. Countries that genuinely need
the stability of a charity like SOS.
I have friends who get frustrated and say “I believe charity starts at home.” They could be referring to their own household or even the county they live in. To an extent, I agree. Which is why I donate to Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation. But SOS Childrens Villages brings something different to my middle class table. With certain charities, you donate every single month without hearing a peep from them other than that one call a year to ask if you can donate any more money. With SOS you start by picking the country you wish to help a child, you inform them of how much you wish to donate every month (£20 being the minimum), then in a few weeks you receive the details of the child they have appointed your donation to. You get a letter of thanks along with a picture and a background brief of the child you’ll be sponsoring. You also get updates every so often on the progress they are making in school and a detailed list of things they like to do and eat etc. It’s like SOS understand the concern people have of not knowing where their money is going. This is the perfect way to know. In addition, you are also welcome to visit the childrens village in the country you’ve chosen, to get to know your sponsored child on a more personal level and get to grips with their every day environment. If your financial situation changes, you can let them know and they will cease your donations without a single trace of making you feel guilty.
As you can probably gather, I currently sponsor a young boy in Siem Reap Cambodia. So to answer your question, yes I intend to visit!
Oddly I sent an e-mail to the friendly staff at SOS Children yesterday to ask how much notice I had to give for a visit and whether they minded if I wrote about them in my blog, which I wasn’t planning on writing until the weekend. Today I received a letter from the Siem Reap Children’s Village informing me of my sponsored childs progress. Coincidentally, he lives at House 13 of the village. The number 13 positively plays a huge part in mine and my husband’s life, so we added it to the list of universal signs we’ve received and believe to be packing our bags and booking our flights on our behalf.
So, whilst charity may start
at home, you can choose to end it somewhere else. Who even says it has to end? Charity overall is a financial celebration of new beginnings for someone other than yourself and should never be resented. No matter where you travel to or where you stay, I believe it’s imperative to give back. So choose a charity that’s valued to you and maybe start by having a look here: http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/
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