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3 easy ways to give back this holiday season

12 Dec 2017

With summer holidays here and the end of 2017 approaching, it’s the season to take some time to remember how lucky we are and give a little back. As you give thanks for your fridge full of food, tropical-strength mosquito repellant, and last-minute online shopping, take a moment to consider those that have fallen on hard times.

Here are three easy things you can do to make someone else’s 2018 a whole lot better.

1. Give the gift of life-saving medical care  

You’ve spent $40 on a turkey ($115 if it’s organic) and are cursing inflated petrol prices as you head out of town on your summer road trip. Thankfully, you can still afford a packet of paracetamol for your Boxing Day hangover, and if the beach cricket match gets a little too aggressive and results in a broken arm, our hospitals are still free.

But millions of people around the world aren’t so lucky. This year, why not consider giving the gift of life-saving medical care.

Our doctors are on the ground now in places like Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan or Bangladesh. Your gift today will help them provide emergency assistance. 

2. Put the world’s most vulnerable people on the map (from the safety of your couch) 

There are also plenty of useful things you can do by being generous with your time.

For example, can you spare 15 minutes to help contribute to open source maps to help organisations provide quick assistance in the event of an emergency? Each year, disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace millions. Many of the places where these disasters occur are literally ‘missing’ from any map and emergency teams lack the info they need to provide fast and effective relief.  

But you contribute from the comfort of your loungeroom! Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project where you can help organisations like MSF get to those in need. For the easiest option, download Map Swipe to your phone and start swiping. 

3. Discover the countries and events that never make the news – and spread your new knowledge

For example, did you know that Yemen is at war? Or that over half a million Yemeni died from cholera in 2017 and local hospital staff have not been paid for over a year?  

You might have heard about the Nigerian schoolgirls that were kidnapped in 2014 from the #BringBackOurGirls campaign championed by Michelle Obama, but did you realise that the civil war in Borno State Nigeria is still ongoing? Shockingly, it has forced 1.7 million people from their homes, and tens of thousands of Nigerians are experiencing food shortages and experiencing severe malnourishment. 

Unfortunately, once out of the headlines, these countries are forgotten. And no-one can be expected to do anything about them if they don’t even know it’s happening.

This festive season, take a moment to read up and share some important global news with friends or family. It might not be the most cheerful of holiday topics, but it might be a good distraction when the conversation turns to uncomfortable topics like your overcooked turkey or why you forgot to buy a gift for your mother-in-law.  And if you would prefer not to bring up an awkward topic face to face, better, yet, just share it on Facebook.