Sometimes, people walk up to you and say they are collecting funds for a certain orphanage somewhere. How do you respond? As much as there’s a good chance there are legitimate fundraisers out there, I’m normally skeptical. I feel that it’s either I go to the orphanage myself for donation and charity, or I trust the works of established NGO, like World Vision Malaysia.
World Vision is an international Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children and families to overcome extreme poverty and injustice. We work to promote human transformation, seek justice for the oppressed and demonstrate the love of God for all peoples. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.
Today, World Vision is helping more than 100 million people through its various development, humanitarian and emergency relief programmes. With more than 45,000 staff in 100 countries, it is one of the largest relief organisations in the world.
Taken from World Vision Malaysia website.
So yes, World Vision is huge. They are not a local NGO but has presence in many corners of the world. World Vision Malaysia helps selected countries, mainly in the Southeast Asia, and in recent years, they have started community development project in Sabah, Malaysia as well.
They are a Christian organization but they neither discriminate to help only Christians nor allow only Christians to join their movement. I am not a Christian and I’ve never felt uncomfortable joining their activities because they strive to help the community rather than to spread gospel.
So I’m writing this because World Vision has this always-on fundraiser that is pretty interesting and very practical. This project is called Gifts of Hope; instead of donating cash, you pick a gift that has been identified as a needy item for selected communities; these items are very practical i.e. learning resources, farm animals, emergency medical assistance, school meals, better maternal and newborn care, and access to clean water.
On World Vision’s Gifts of Hope website currently, the gifts are categorized into:
- Child Protection (i.e. preventing domestic violence),
- Economic Development (i.e. community gardens),
- Education (i.e. lessons and class materials),
- Food Security (i.e. vegetable seeds),
- Health & Nutrition (i.e. feed a family), and
- Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (i.e. clean latrines)
These items don’t remain the same every year because every year, the local World Vision representatives who are literally living with the community that World Vision is developing, discuss with the community on the items that they really need to develop the community and to give them hope; and thus, this project is called Gifts of Hope.
Gifts start at RM30 for Lessons and Class Materials (stationery, exercise books, and educational storybooks) and Vegetable Seeds. With RM50, you can get Learning Materials (educational materials and tools, teaching supplies, books, and more) and with RM80, you can Feed a Family or get Farm Animals (Fluffy chicks or baby goats). World Vision does not just buy the supplies for the community but provide education to plant the vegetable seeds and rear the farm animals so that they can feed themselves and sell the excess.
It’s really easy to buy these gifts. From time to time, World Vision Malaysia organizes roadshow at free spaces provided by generous shopping malls all over the country. These roadshows are ran by World Vision staff members, as well as volunteers like me.
World Vision Malaysia also sends our soft copy (and maybe hard copy) newsletter for their subscribers to contribute to the cause.
For instant access to Gifts of Hope, all of us online junkies can go to their website and make a contribution via online payment and credit card transaction.
Yes, they have huge operations and you wonder how much they spend to sustain their fundraising activities, right? In 2014, it’s stated in their Annual Review that almost 15% of the funds are used on administrations and fundraising costs. That’s very accountable and transparent if you ask me!
But one thing that may be many’s concerns would be tax-deductible donations. Unfortunately, donation to World Vision Malaysia is not tax-deductible because for donation to be tax-deductible in Malaysia, most of the donation needs to benefit the Malaysian community. At this moment in time, majority of donation benefit communities outside of Malaysia.
Nevertheless, I find World Vision Malaysia has many great causes to support. Today, I’m writing about Gifts of Hope because I have recently made contribution using my Chinese New Year ang pao money. I don’t normally donate every year especially when I choose to donate my time and energy as a volunteer but this year, I doubt I’d be able to join the team on fundraising events so I thought I might as well purchase Gifts of Hope and spread awareness on my blog.
Did I mention that you can dedicate the gifts to other people? This year, I dedicated gifts of learning resources and community gardens to my mom and RK for being the pillars of my life. They received an e-card or a physical card for this.