Are you donating money to charities for Christmas? (Is anybody even reading this blog these days?)
Here are some suggestions for worthy causes you may not yet have heard of and which I care deeply about:
Children's Relief Network: I worked with them back when I lived in Bucharest and those children need everything they can get. CRN saves kids from life on the street, or life in the sewers, from life wasted in glue fumes, from being just another neglected orphan in a country that is still not prepared to deal with its incredibly high number of orphans. Please do consider this charity, it is very dear to my heart.
Angelus Hospice in Chisinau. From their website: "In 2002, a local surgeon, Dr. Valerian Isac, recognised the need for this kind of care and established Hospice Angelus as the first provider of palliative care in Moldova. The primary goal of the organisation is to provide medical, social, spiritual and psychological care to patients with incurable and terminal illnesses." I know the people who are involved with this and I can vouch that every dollar or Euro you donate will make a difference to people who suffer.
Hippocrates Children's Centre Moldova has a special story. It's run by a doctor who lives around the corner from where we lived in Chisinau. Friends of ours rented an apartment in his duplex. He's really sweet and very dedicated and only after a wonderful BBQ where he played jazz on the guitar did I find out that he had partnered up with Tony Hawks of "Playing the Moldovans at Tennis" fame to found this children's center to help chronically ill children in Molodva (and now also Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus). It's a very worthy charity and needs every cent.
Last, not least, Margaret's Hope Chest. Carin is a dear friend of mine and how she overcame the brutal murder of her grandmother to give hope to others is a story that is inspiring and, like the name suggests, full of hope. It is a Christian charity and even though - no, because I'm UU, I can wholeheartedly recommend this cause for you to support. Hope and love should never be confined on one's own religion but given freely to everyone who needs it.
Oh, one more: KIVA. Kiva is awesome and wonderful and I recommend a KIVA credit especially as a present for young people. It helps them understand the power of helping others to help themselves by microlending. Which is something we care greatly about here at Expatria.