Why not make 2016 the year that you do for more for yourself, for those around you, and for the world?
by Zipporah Gene.
For most of us, the end of the festive season and the subsequent start of the New Year is one that heralds a time for deep and thorough introspection. Whether it’s the eventual guilt that comes with the realization of an entire year spent in the pursuit of gluttony, or the resolution to be more steadfast and structured with our goals; we all, in some way or another, promise ourselves that this time around, we’ll be different. This time we’ll be better versions of ourselves: smarter, faster, richer, thinner; you name it, we’ve thought of it.
Yet, all too often we forget to see the simple fact that such changes are in actuality all luxuries. Like the unwanted gifts we’ve been given, and will most probably be returning, to the gyms we hurriedly flock to join, right down to the foods we may have just decided to abstain from eating; we belong to the very few who are able to pick and choose. A grim reality it may be, but choice, is an extravagance, afforded only to the few.
According to the latest figures from the World Giving Index report: when it comes to giving and participating in giving behaviors, Thailand ranks among the Top 20 countries in the entire world. Not only that, when it comes to donating money, Thailand comes in at a staggering 2nd place; right underneath Myanmar. This means that, roughly 48 million people in Thailand donated money in 2015 alone.
To paraphrase simply, from a recent talk given by Mr. Charity himself, the founder of the Grameen Bank, Muhammed Yunnas:
“…good deeds should not arise from guilt, but from the simple desire for good.”
These figures may seem staggering, but when placed in context of the region, it actually makes a lot of sense. It is a well-known fact that generosity and philanthropy are the quintessential tenets of the Theravada branch of Buddhism. In the case of Myanmar and Thailand, which came first and second respectively, a strong population of devout Buddhists following the Theravada sect, means a high rate of giving. With 2016 now upon us, and with the world being as chaotic as ever, it is becoming and more essential for each and every one of us to chip in, for our fellow man. The astonishing effort of countries like Thailand and its ASEAN neighbors show the world that donating, giving and doing good should not be left to those with more money than they need.
Thailand should continue its exemplary run at the top of pack, showing other nations that development and growth should not stifle our propensity for good.
No matter how small, we should always donate where we can. So, if like me, you’re new to charitable giving, then here are a few charities that currently need your help, whether it be volunteering or simply donating, in the region:
Goodwill Group Foundation
Founded in 2000, Goodwill is a unique charity, in the sense that it aims at personal development and empowerment of its recipients. They offer an extensive array of computer, language, and vocational courses, as well as helping with work placements and basic life skills. Situated only a short walk from Asoke BTS, they regularly require volunteer staff. For more details, head over to their website: www.goodwillbangkok.org, or call 02 000 9320
Dang Prateep Foundation
Often referred to as the ‘Angel of the slums,’ Mrs Pratep Ungsongtham, was born and raised in the slums of Klong Toey. From an early age, she took up all odd jobs, but still had in mind that she would help the people of her neighborhood. At the tender age of 24, she started her foundation, which deals with everything from healthcare, education, providing welfare for the young and the old, to combating child abuse.
She has won countless accolades for her work and received international renown for her perseverance in helping those who, just like her, lacked the luxury of choice in life. For more details on how to get involved, please visit: www.dpf.or.th/en or phone 02-249-4880, 02-249-3553, 02-671-4045-8; Fax 02-249-5254, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Habitat for Humanity
Established in 1998, HFHT aims to transform the quality of life for Thai people by building homes for the homeless. Not only do they provide decent living to those who could not otherwise have access to it, but they also repair damaged buildings and make them livable again. They are present in about 40 provinces of Thailand, so to find out how you can help, visit: www.habitatthailand.org, or call 0-2664-0644.
These just but a few of the many organizations that are striving to make a difference. So, why not make 2016 the year you do for more for yourself, for those around you, and for the world.