How to Help People in SamoaSamoa is a state that consists of nine volcanic islands located in the central Pacific Ocean. The islands of Savai’i and Upolu account for more than 99 percent of Samoan land, and before 1961c, it was governed by New Zealand.

Samoa’s economy has, for the most part, depended on development aid, tourism, agriculture, fishing and family members sending money to their relatives from abroad. Agriculture and fishing account for about two-thirds of the labor force and produce 90 percent of the nation’s exports.

A company that manufactures electrical harnesses for vehicles and ships them to a plant in Australia has more than 700 employees and accounts for 65 percent of exports, but is set to close by the end of 2017. This will leave many people unemployed and create a significant void in the economy. Something like this can get people thinking about how to help people in Samoa.

The nation is very vulnerable to disasters and extreme weather as well. An earthquake that caused a tsunami dealt a serious blow to transportation and the power grid and killed about 200 people in 2009. In 2012, Tropical Cyclone Even caused heavy flooding and wind damage which displaced more than 6,000 people and damaged or demolished around 1,500 homes in Upolu.

Projects Abroad, a leading international organization for volunteers, reported on goals they set to help people in Samoa from 2016 to 2017. English is the language of business for most of the world and is also the official language for business on the island nation. This means that having a good handle on it can significantly increase the chances of a good education and future employment prospects. Volunteers with the organization taught basic English to young. They also assisted students and teachers with improving their phonetics, pronunciation and grammar.

Volunteering is not the only way to help people in Samoa. People can also help by donating to nonprofit organizations. One such organization working in Samoa is Hesperian Health Guides, which focuses on providing health education. They assist various communities with finding the right healthcare needs for them and preventing poor health. They also publish a free wiki available in many languages.

There is more than one way to help people in Samoa. Volunteering and donating are two, but people can also contact their governors and representatives and ask that they support legislation that helps struggling nations.

Fernando Vazquez

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in Africa
There are many ways to help people in Africa. With many of its countries referred to as underdeveloped nations, it is easy to understand why. This is the reason why so many people who want to help turn their attention to the disenfranchised of Africa. For those interested in how to help people in Africa, this article will try to provide a place to start.

 

Water
One problem that affects the people of Africa is the most vital resource of all life—water. Developing nations experience the issue of unclean water most severely, with as much as 80 percent of illnesses being traced back to poor water and sanitation quality. In sub-Saharan Africa, 319 million people are without access to improved reliable drinking water.

An organization that looks to curb this imminent problem is The Water Project, an organization dedicated to providing safe, clean water to all people worldwide. They accomplish this by working with local teams in the affected region and, through this cooperation, create and implement clean water programs.

A person looking for how to help people in Africa can find a great method through this organization. One of the most helpful and readily available ways to help this group is by donating to help The Water Project carry out its projects.

Another way to help The Water Project is by creating a fundraising page. There have been over 3,000 fundraising pages created that have raised more than $3 million. There are even more ways to lend a helping hand, including starting a campaign, taking “the water challenge” and becoming a member.

 

Food and Nutrition
Another problem that many impoverished people in Africa face is lack of proper nutrition, or lack of food altogether. This is especially the case in the Horn of Africa (the peninsula in the east, including Somalia and Ethiopia), where 11 million people are in urgent need of food assistance.

Anyone looking for how to help people in Africa can do so by assisting the World Food Programme (WFP), an organization dedicated to helping the world’s hungry through grassroots methods that has helped over 80 million people in 80 different countries since its inception.

To help, the WFP has listed ten different ways for the average citizen to lend assistance to those in need. These methods include donating both by computer and by text message, spreading the word through sending online quizzes and informational videos, using social media and much more, all of which are simple and easy to do from home.

 

Volunteering Abroad
Volunteering is a great way to get involved in a more grassroots fashion. For those wondering how to help people in Africa in a way that is a bit more involved, volunteering abroad provides an excellent opportunity.

By visiting the Projects Abroad website, one can find a wealth of information about how to volunteer on the ground in Africa. Margot Le Neveu, who worked in Ghana, gives a taste of what it is like to volunteer with orphans in Africa. She says, “Working at the orphanage was my favorite part of my trip to Ghana. The wood market and bead market were nice to visit, however I really loved playing with all the children at the orphanage.”

Projects Abroad offers several different ways to volunteer, including with day care centers and kindergartens, special needs children and at orphanages themselves. This service provides much-needed growth, stability and social interaction to children that would otherwise do without. Volunteers working through the Projects Abroad programs say they feel that they are “really making a difference”.

All of these organizations offer a variety of ways to help people in Africa. No matter which option you choose, you can know that your assistance is making a vital difference in the lives of impoverished people.

Stephen Praytor

Photo: Flickr

 

Donate to fight global poverty today

 

Help People in KuwaitKuwait is not a country that often comes to mind when considering foreign aid. The oil-rich nation may seem self-sufficient; however, Kuwaitis face hurdles in their daily lives and are in need of assistance. Colossal prices for everyday goods, human rights violations and water conditions are just a few of the problems people encounter in Kuwait on a daily basis.

Although the nation is renowned for its high salaries, the correlating high cost of living is often left out. Basic necessities such as rent, food and health care have had drastic price increases. The Kuwaiti Times reports that “90 percent of the population is not as rich as the prime minister says.” The reporter continues to insinuate that the incumbent administration is oblivious to the reality of life in Kuwait.

To help people in Kuwait, combating human rights violations is essential. The Kafala system binds migrant workers to their employers, functioning as a modern day system of slavery. Workers are often vulnerable to forced labor in subpar conditions and abuse. Employers often threaten to deport migrant workers if they do not comply with their demands.

Between January and April of 2016, 14,400 workers faced deportation. Misdemeanors such as traffic violations or talking back can result in harsh punishments from their employers. The European Union has launched a project called PAVE to assist and shield these workers from exploitation. Donating to or volunteering for this organization are both ways to help people in Kuwait.

Although Kuwait is a food secure nation, it stands at ninth place for high water risk by 2040. Unparalleled evaporation rates deplete the soil of its moisture, resulting in a nominal percentage of water flowing into the aquifers. Without any natural rivers or lakes, this proves to be deleterious to the Kuwaiti population.

Contributions to the construction of water treatment plants or waste water systems are both ways to assist the country in their water deficit.

Once we puncture the façade of images of the wealthy Kuwaiti population, we realize that Kuwait cannot be overlooked when deliberating foreign aid.

Tanvi Wattal

Photo: Flickr

Giving is beneficial
Many parents tell their children, especially around the holidays, that “giving is better than getting.” This sentiment is not just a way for parents to teach their children good morals, however. There is actual science behind it. Giving is beneficial to the giver as well as the recipient.

With the help of fMRI technology, researchers have found that when people donate to what they consider worthy causes, the areas of their brains responsible for craving satisfaction and pleasure rewards lights up. This explains the “warm glow” many people experience after giving to charity. When people make donations, their brains react in much the same way as when they are having sex or eating chocolate.

Another way to get that “warm glow” is by volunteering. In the 2010 “Do Good Live Well Survey” of 4,500 American adults, 41 percent of participants stated that they volunteered an average of 100 hours per year. On average, the participants who volunteered felt less stressed, healthier and happier.

This positive feeling may come from a few interlinked factors: social connectivity, sense of accomplishment and improving personal expertise. People who volunteer are able to create social bonds with other volunteers and with the people they are helping as they work toward a common goal. Meanwhile, they gain a sense of accomplishment as they witness the change they are making in the lives of others. On top of that, volunteers also often get to learn new skills.

Nearly 3 billion people worldwide live on less than $3 a day, while more than 1.3 billion live in on less than $1.25, in destitution. Despite their lack of wealth, many impoverished people still take part in acts of giving. Statistically, poor people give a greater percentage of their money to charity than do wealthy people.

In Papua New Guinea, where nearly 40 percent of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day, social giving is a norm. In Kiribati, there is no word for “poverty,” but there is rampant sharing between neighbors and relatives. People in these places give, even though they themselves do not have much. They may give in part due to feelings of societal obligation, but their generosity doubtless has something to do with the joy they experience by helping one another.

A great way to give this holiday season is by donating to people in need. Charities working to reduce global poverty and improve people’s lives include the United Nations Children’s Fund, Kids in Distressed Situations, VillageReach, InterAction and more. You can also donate to The Borgen Project to help promote U.S. foreign aid.

Kayla Provencher

Photo: Flickr

Volunteering
A common reason for conflict, whether cultural, racial or economic is lack of empathy. The solution to this problem may be simpler than previously believed. An article on psychology website Spring suggests that empathy can increase with as little as two positive experiences with a group.

To collect their research, scientists paired Swiss people with people of Balkan descent. The Swiss-Balkan relationship has historically been tense due to anxiety about immigrants in Switzerland. In the experiment, Swiss participants expected to receive a painful electric shock but were rescued by people with traditional Balkan names.

The Swiss participants then received brain scans while observing other people being shocked. If earlier in the experiment a Balkan person had helped the Swiss person in question, the Swiss participant’s brain would demonstrate a similar empathetic response toward both Balkan and Swiss victims. If, however, the Swiss person had not had that positive encounter with a Balkan participant, he or she exhibited lower levels of empathy toward Balkan victims than towards Swiss victims.

According to this study’s researchers, “Our findings show that empathy with an out-group member can be learned and generalizes to other out-group individuals.”

How can these findings be applied globally? Simply put, they may indicate that volunteering can increase empathy. Not only can volunteering help reduce some of the immediate symptoms of global poverty; it can also decrease inter-group tension.

Bridging the gap preventing different groups from interacting with each other is an important step in reducing conflict. Volunteerism does just that by putting human relationships first. It places members of different communities that may never have had positive inter-community encounters in close proximity to each other. Positive volunteering experiences can lead to increased empathy and decreased conflict between them.

In an article by the New Zealand Red Cross, Warwick Armstrong, a volunteer driver for the Cross Town Shuttle wrote about the benefits of volunteering. The Cross Town Shuttle provides transportation for people in Christchurch who have no transportation means of their own. Armstrong said he enjoys the companionship his position provides.

“It’s good for your health!” he wrote. “It gives your empathy batteries a recharge”.

Volunteerism puts human relationships first and encourages personal interaction. It is a powerful tool for increasing empathy, and thus reducing tension, between groups.

Jordan Little

Photo: Flickr

Teaching Abroad
Teaching abroad is an incredible opportunity to give back, and the experience can provide an individual with a multitude of unanticipated advantages. In addition to experiencing a different culture, teaching abroad can vastly improve one’s chances of finding a career in a variety of fields.

The majority of teaching abroad programs aim to teach English in impoverished regions around the world, so as to improve children’s education. Such skills/lessons are desperately needed because according to a reputable teaching abroad program, Sudan Volunteer Programme (SVP), numerous local teachers in these countries do not have the proper skill-sets to teach English, or the school does not have enough money to pay their teachers.

In such cases, volunteers are needed to help educate children and give them the proper skills and opportunities to attain a successful profession. This type of education proves tremendously impactful, as speaking English can significantly increase a child’s chance of professional success down the road.

According to the University of Toronto, teaching abroad can be equally advantageous for the teacher volunteer’s career opportunities. To teach abroad, the volunteer generally does not have to be a certified teacher or have any particular foreign language skills to serve for an organization. Many volunteers can be ‘hired’ with a bachelor’s degree in just about anything, an interest to learn about foreign cultures, a good attitude, a passion for education and seriousness about the job.

Having taught underprivileged children in a foreign country provides one with distinct cultural and teaching experience that can galvanize one’s career. Recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees who teach abroad are often hired full time into high standing positions that they may not have otherwise qualified for.

According to WorldTeach, an accredited teaching abroad program, numerous individuals go into academic careers, international development, educational or volunteer organizations, teachers, school administrators and in business and multi-national companies. Some have become leaders in the U.S. Congress, and one has even served as a U.S. Ambassador.

Though living in a foreign country for a summer or a year may seem daunting, the benefits that can come from the experience prove to be well worth any initial hesitation. From giving children a shot at a better future to becoming more culturally aware, teaching abroad is an incredible opportunity that will boost one’s personal growth and a chance at professional success.

Bella Chaffey

Photo: Flickr

Opportunities to teach abroad
Teaching abroad may seem like a daunting task made only for the most experienced teachers, but this is not always the case. Here are some volunteer opportunities in multiple countries with either summer or year-long commitments. These opportunities to teach abroad offer an increase in cultural awareness, teaching experience, the opportunity to travel and unforgettable memories.

1. Sudan Volunteer Program (SVP)

SVP’s mission is to raise the standard of English amongst the Sudanese. SVP is working to accomplish their mission by sending native or native-level English speakers to Sudan to teach English at public higher education institutions. SVP has placed hundreds of volunteer teachers at schools that do not have qualified English teachers, in schools that are understaffed and in schools that are under-financed. SVP requires volunteers to commit to a minimum of six months and their only academic requirement is that volunteers must be a graduate or near graduate in any field.

2. WorldTeach

WorldTeach is an organization working around the world with volunteer opportunities in Morocco, Namibia, South Africa, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Thailand, Poland, Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Guyana. WorldTeach envisions a world where all children have access to a quality education and is working on that vision by teaching approximately 60,000 students yearly, according to their website. It has had over 7,000 volunteers who, together, have contributed over 12 million hours of service for WorldTeach. WorldTeach offers both summer and year-long teaching opportunities with potential TEFL certification.

3. CIEE

CIEE is an organization that offers a multitude of abroad experiences, one being volunteer teaching. CIEE has stations in Chile, China, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Peru, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam that volunteers can choose from. CIEE encourages individuals to volunteer teach so they can see the world, gain real-world experience and make a difference in the lives of their students. They offer month-long, semester-long, and two-semester-long programs for individuals with the minimum of two years of a college education complete.

4. Projects Abroad

With 31 countries to choose from, Projects Abroad offers volunteer teaching opportunities to both professional teachers and individuals with little college education. Volunteers at Projects Abroad may teach full time, part time or simply be a teacher’s assistant. Program lengths differ between countries but typically can be anywhere from one month to two years. Projects Abroad gives its volunteers freedom to choose many aspects of their volunteer experience and make it unique to their aspirations.

5. United Planet

The mission of United Planet is to offer volunteers unique opportunities to live, learn and volunteer abroad while working alongside members of their destination’s local community. United Planet currently has volunteer teaching opportunities in Chile, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal, Peru, South Africa and Tanzania. Dependent upon the country, little to no teaching experience and college education is required. Volunteers have the option to choose programs anywhere from one week to three months, giving individuals with only a small window of time to volunteer a chance. United Planet’s programs strive to be immersive and authentic while providing their teaching volunteers with everything they may need to succeed.

Bella Chaffey

Photo: Pixabay

Help the WorldSometimes, the task of making the world a better place can be overwhelming. On top of our daily schedules and expenses, there are so many causes to devote your time or money to. However, a quest to help the world does not have to involve curing cancer or achieving world peace — it can start with a few simple steps to address issues that matter:

Pick an issue area

The most important step to start improving the world is to find an issue you are passionate about. The more passionate you are about a cause, the more likely you are to enjoy working for it and the more inspiration you will find. The issue could be anything from rhino poaching in South Africa or water safety in Flint, MI to school supplies for children in Brazil.

Remember that there are problems both abroad and in your own backyard. Each cause is important and doing something is more effective than doing nothing.

Raise money

Organizations often need both money and manpower to keep their efforts running. How you want to contribute to a cause is up to you.

But if you are interested in donating or fundraising, there are many different options. Whether donations come from your own savings, running a fundraising campaign or asking family members to donate to a cause in lieu of gifts for a special occasion, the money you give to an organization will be very useful for keeping projects running. Donations do not have to be astronomical to make a difference!

Another way to contribute money is by shopping smart. When you are buying products for yourself or as gifts, try to buy products that give back. To start, you could look at this list from the Huffington Post of gifts that give back. Do research and find products that you love that have an added bonus of giving back.

Online websites also provide ways to give back. If you frequently order from Amazon, the company’s Amazon Smile program donates 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.

Volunteer your time

You might also choose to work with a local organization on a regular basis or volunteer for a summer to work across the country or across the world. If you are interested in empowering youth, you could volunteer to tutor or become a mentor. You might also try volunteering to prepare food packages at your local Red Cross Food Bank and sort clothing donations at the Salvation Army.

Technology has opened up endless opportunities to volunteer with people around the world. If you are interested in helping teach English, Pax Populi, an online website sponsored by the U.N., allows volunteers to sign up as conversation partners for students in Afghanistan. This website also has opportunities to apply for translation, editing and research volunteer positions.

Another often overlooked but highly important volunteer position is to advocate for your chosen cause or organization. Efforts such as handing out flyers, making donor calls or contacting government representatives can be crucial in spreading the word.

Asking your Senate or Congressional leaders to support specific legislation is not nearly as intimidating as it may seem. Leaders respond well to requests from their constituents and putting pressure on them can spur change at the state or national level. Check out this page to see how we contact government representatives at the Borgen Project.

Stay connected

Lastly, the most important way you can help the world is to be knowledgeable and active in your community. Try to keep up with news reports and research topics of interest to you.

The world changing every day means the challenges it faces are changing as well. The best way we can help the world is to create a population of caring and active citizens.

Taylor Resteghini

Sources: Amazon Smile, The Borgen Project, The Huffington Post, Pax Populi, UN Online Volunteers
Photo: Voluntariat

Peace CorpsOn Mar. 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order to establish a new “army” of civilians who would volunteer their time to help underdeveloped nations. This army, as JFK referred to it during his 1960 presidential campaign, was the Peace Corps.

According to Politico, Kennedy wrote a message to Congress stating that the people of underdeveloped nations were “struggling for economic and social progress.” He also went on to say, “Our own freedom and the future of freedom around the world, depend, in a very real sense, on their ability to build growing and independent nations where men can live in dignity, liberated from the bonds of hunger, ignorance and poverty.”

Congress, at first, was skeptical. In response, Representative Marguerite Sitt Church, who had traveled to sub-Saharan Africa, defended the bill by speaking about the importance of on-the-ground work in underdeveloped areas.

Representative Catherine May noted the impact of Church’s words: “You quite literally could see people who had been uncertain or perhaps who had already decided to vote against the Peace Corps sit there, listen to her very quietly and start to rethink.”

The House then approved the bill for the volunteer organization in a 288-97 vote and Kennedy issued the executive order to establish it.

Since its launch, the Peace Corps has done incredible work. Currently, the organization has 6,919 volunteers and trainees, with over 220,000 Americans serving since it was created.

Volunteers carry out work such as helping build sewer and water systems, constructing and teaching in schools, helping develop crops and teaching effective agricultural methods. A majority of the work is done in Africa but volunteers also assist nations in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and the Pacific Islands.

The Peace Corps celebrated its 55th anniversary at Georgia Gwinnett College, which was selected in 2014 as one of the six universities and colleges for the Peace Corps Prep Program, based on their demonstrated interest in promoting international learning and providing service opportunities to their students.

Students were invited to attend the event to celebrate the anniversary and learn about becoming Peace Corps volunteers, marking the next generation of Americans that will serve with the program and make a difference in countries in need around the world.

Kerri Whelan

Sources: Politico, Peace Corps 1, Peace Corps 2, Peace Corps 3, Peace Corps 4, GGC

Help_Aid_Refugees
The surge of refugees fleeing conflict across the globe reached record numbers and drew widespread attention in 2015. The UNHCR reports that forcibly displaced populations are estimated to have reached nearly 60 million — up 15 million from 2012. Conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and more than a dozen other regions have all contributed to the climbing numbers.

Forced displacement is rarely short-lived. In the same report, the UNHCR states that on average, refugees will remain displaced for 17 years. For some it will be shorter, others much longer, and for all it will be life-changing. Addressing what the UNHCR calls “A World At War” and what is repeatedly called a “refugee crisis” by the media will also not be short-lived.

Even as articles become dated and tales of flight and hardship are told and retold, the need for aid and compassion has not diminished. For those farther away from the conflict and displacement, here are five ways to help displaced populations and refugees:

1. Contribute to educational opportunities for refugees, displaced populations and populations affected by conflict.

  • Save the Children supports rebuilding and maintaining schools in Syria and neighboring countries. In addition to providing education and health services, the organization strives to create spaces for children to experience a sense of normalcy and achieve their full potential despite the conflict.
  • The Karam Foundation focuses on innovative education projects for Syrian children in Syria and Turkey. Dedicated to “help people help themselves,” the U.S.-based nonprofit allows donors to contribute to specific education projects through its website.

2. Support an organization that is providing aid on the ground.

  • Hand in Hand for Syria is working on the ground to provide emergency aid for Syria. The organization hopes this strategy will prevent people from fleeing and fill the void created by shattered infrastructure, especially health services.
  • The International Rescue Committee is responding to the climbing numbers of refugees on multiple fronts from the Middle East to the Mediterranean and even with resettlement programs in the United States.

3. Help to improve refugee living situations.

  • Shelter Box provides emergency shelter and essential supplies to help displaced populations. The organization is currently active in Syria, Lebanon and Iraqi Kurdistan to name a few.
  • Oxfam America provides clean water, sanitation and other vital supplies to combat poverty, hunger and social injustice. Active in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, the organization also helps connect refugee families with medical and legal services.

4. Support medical services for displaced populations.

  • Medical Teams International sends teams of volunteer medical professionals and provides medical supplies to people in need. Long term, the organization supports health initiatives and collaborates to ensure its impact is sustainable.
  • Doctors Without Borders is a well-regarded organization that provides medical care to populations who need it most, including those fleeing their homes. Doctors Without Borders sets up hospitals for refugees and provides essential maternal and pediatric care for displaced populations.

5. Volunteer locally as part of a global effort.

  • You could become an online volunteer for UNHCR. The program connects volunteers online with organizations seeking to maximize the impact of their development work. Volunteers can connect with organizations based on their skills, preferred development topics or regions of interest.
  • Consider volunteering through an International Rescue Committee local office. The IRC operates 26 offices throughout the United States supported by volunteers who mentor refugees and assist them with their transition.

– Cara Kuhlman

Sources: Doctors Without Borders, Hand in Hand for Syria, The International Rescue Committee, Karam Foundation, Medical Teams International, NY Times 1, NY Times 2, Public Radio International (PRI), Save the Children, United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

Photo: Flickr