Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving

How to help women in Afghanistan

Book Cover The Sky is a Nest of Swallows
The Afghan Women’s Writing Project gives women in Afghanistan a chance to express themselves.  My friend, writer Masha Hamilton started a haven for women who want to tell their stories. She realized that those stories needed to be heard outside of Afghanistan, and the women needed to know that someone is listening, so a website was born. Now there is a book. The dedication page says:

Journalist and novelist Masha Hamilton founded the Afghan Women’s Writing Project in May 2009. She dedicated the project to the memory of Zarmeena, a mother of seven who was brutally put to deat in Taliban-held Afghanistan before ever having the chance to tell her own story.

The stories published on the AWWP website are amazing. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to some voices.

From And Nothing Less By Meena Y

I find it ironic that a religion based on modesty and equality for all has turned into an unjust and unfair system for its own daughters. We Muslim women are punished at every stage of our lives for the sole sin of being born female.

From the poem, If I Don’t Write by Roya

With my writings I write about/Things I can’t talk about./When I write/I feel fresh/

I wear my favorite dress of my desires/Sit under the tree of my thoughts/And I write and write./

I stop?/Maybe/When I am not able to breathe./When…

Now you can pick up a copy of The Sky Is a Nest of Swallows: To Tell One’s Story is a Human Right or purchase it in a Kindle Edition.  However you buy, 100% of profits go to the project.

How to listen to music that gives— suggestion from Kerry Dexter

Ron Hynes is a Canadian songwriter, known as the man of a thousand songs. He is facing serious medical bills and the Cape Breton band The Barra MacNeils are raising funds to help him by offering, in return fora donation of five dollars, an mp3 of a song they and Hynes recorded together last year, called Gone to Canada. You may find out more and make a donation at the Barra MacNeils website instead of buying it at Amazon.

The album Still Moving Mountains – The Journey Home finds musicians, people who live in the mountains, and people who care about them, in a collection of songs and short interviews explaining, illuminating, and getting at the heart of what is going on today in communities affected by mountain top removal mining. Proceeds from the album go to help people in these areas.

How to help families in developing countries

World Vision logo

World Vision Catalogue
World Vision Catalogue

Or instead of selecting a real goat for a struggling family, give a stuffed goat to your favorite kid, er-uh-child. When you give to the Maximum Impact Fund, used where resources are most desperately needed. Your contribution is rewarded by letting you select one of 36 Maximum Impact items (a few are listed below) that can be given to a loved one and at the same time help a person in need.

–            Artisan Beaded Necklace: This glass-bead necklace is handmade in Thailand and can be worn several different ways — even as a multi-strand bracelet.

–            Eco Cold CupThis popular 16 oz. BPA-free tumbler comes in handy when on the run. Every sip is a reminder of those who’ve been helped.

–            A set of plush  toys – Gertie GoatChuma Chick and Pallu Pig: Gertie, Chuma and Pallu are available exclusively through World Vision and represent  farm animals that are donated to children and families around the world and provide a steady supply of nutritious food and the surplus can be sold for extra income.

When I reviewed Harmattan, a story of a young girl in Africa, I realized that her family was helped by an organization much like World Vision.

How to shop on line and give


At,a part of GoodSearch, each time someone clicks through from Goodshop to one of the 2,800 plus participating stores (including Amazon, Target, Toys R Us, Sephora, Macy’s, PetCo and more), an average of 4% of the purchase price is donated to the shopper’s favorite cause (at no cost to them!). Plus, has over 100,000 coupons so users can save money while giving back.

More than 108,000 nonprofits and schools have partnered with online shopping mall It doesn’t cost the users a thing. Goodsearch has donated nearly $10 million to over 108,000 charities and schools designated by its users–money that’s been used to help find a cure for cancer, clean up our oceans, feed homeless pets, send children with disabilities to summer camp, and more!

How to help provide water for 5 communities in Haiti

Haiti kids Of course I don’t want to overlook Passports With Purpose. Just click on the link to get a reminder of what travel bloggers are up to and why.  But it all ends soon, so go to Passports with Purpose TODAY and make your choice. We’re raising $100,000 in two weeks to help bring water to Haiti. How are we doing? Check the thermometer over there in the side bar at A Traveler’s Library.

 BONUS: How to give while traveling

Angel Mule
Angel Mule

Want to be an angel? Here’s the perfect idea for travelers who want to give something to the remote communities they visit.

Travelers can use a part of any holiday to become an AngelMule, from a one week poolside break to a round the world backbacking adventure. There are AngelMule requests all over the world, including:

  • A children’s center in the mountains of Thailand who are requesting old or unwanted cameras, phones, iPods, books, DVD’s and stationary. In return they are offering a hiking trip through the mountains or a bike ride with the kids as guides.
  •  A dog refuge in Bali is requesting pet care products. In return they are offering to introduce AngelMules to their 150+ dogs and puppies plus show them some great local sights around town. (Are you listening Pamela Webster?)
  •  And a community center in Ecuador that needs a used computer is offering the option to participate in their programs teaching English – or take travelers on a river walk followed by a bite of the local specialty food to show their gratitude.

See the Angel Mule website for more ideas of ways your travels can be used for good works.

In case you’re still looking for the perfect cause for you, take a look at my 2011 Gifts that Give list, and my 2010 Gifts that GIve list.

Do you have other suggestions? Have you given somebody a goat for Christmas, or received a gift in exchange for a donation? Do you choose local or International charities?

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

4 thoughts on “Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving

  1. great variety on this list, Vera. thanks for including my suggestions. I encourage people to look at your lists from earlier years too, good ideas in those as well.

  2. We’ve been thinking about charitable efforts we could support from a sailboat–e.g. sailors without borders, for instance. I wasn’t thinking about stuffing the bilge full of Kongs before heading to Indonesia. But I love the idea.

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