If you have been reading Pony, you probably already know this, but a little while ago, I got it in my head that I wanted to do volunteer work abroad. You know: travel, work, do good, etc.
Who what and why: I found out about this program called Netcorps(Cyberjeunes) that sends "youth" (I just squeaked by) to developing countries to work for humanitarian organizations that focus on issues such as health, literacy, the environment, and human rights abuses.
Alternatives is one of the NGO's (Non-Governmental Organizations to those of you with acronym overload) training interns for this program, and they are based in Montreal.They are one of the only groups who not only profess to be, but truly are bilingual (everyone who works here speaks at least French and English. Many more speak Portugese, Arabic, Wolof, etc.).
Alternatives affiliated with other umbrella groups such as One World that bring together thousands of civil society organizations (from Unicef to smaller,community groups) and help them share knowlege.
That wacky World Wide Web thing has proven really useful for a small, community-based groups who want to join up with larger international groups.
What will I be doing overseas? On December 9, I will be going to India to work for either a literacy group/ women's organization in Delhi or to Bubaneshwar where I will create a site for a disaster prevention group. I am going to work on Web pages that will help them network with like-minded organizations. These sites will also be the "charitable face" - a URL of reference for potential funders.
Money: So, yeah. Money. Most of my trip and training is paid for by Youth Employment Strategy, via HRDC (Human Resouces and Development Canada). But this does not cover stuff for the partner organization. And like any good guest, I want to be able to bring them gifts, like scanners and computer stuff.
Along with all the other interns, I committed to raise $1,000 for the partner organization before I go. But I am terrible at doing charity stuff. I throw away Easter Seals envelopes and it is only when I am put on the spot at the office that I sponsor a co-worker for a walk-a-thon. Donations are weird.
We are throwing a few fundraising parties, and they are fun, but split between 12, the haul has not been substantial. People have suggested all sorts of wacky ways to raise dough. A couple of people have told me to just ask everyone I know to send me $20. Most of us can spare that, right?
How to send a cheque: It's not that hard! I swear! I know you digital kids are unused to this snail mail. But it is retro and quaint. Think how cute you will look popping your crisp envelope into a shiny red mailbox and the satisfying clunk of the door that seems to herald the end of procrastination.
If you are at the office, pull out an envelope and stamp it. Envelopes and stamps are conveniently around for free at the office.
You are almost there! Now, address it to: Adina Goldman c/o Alternatives 3720 Ave Du Parc, Bureau 300, Montreal, Quebec H2X 2J1
Make out a cheque: Take a pen, and under the to, write: "Alternatives" Under the pay to the order of, write $20 (or more if you are really rich or impulsive or something). Under memo, put "re: adina fundraising" SIGN THE CHEQUE! This last part is very important.
Put it in the mailbox tonight! People working security or concierge desks tend to know where the closest mailboxes are. That way it will for sure get here in time.
I hereby promise... Donations are so abstract. And we are used to getting something for our money. I can't provide anything too tangible, but here are a few guarantees for your money:
If you kids send me some donations (I can get you tax receipts if you want), I can promise:
Pony will never adopt a subscription model
I solemnly promise that I will not return from India wearing Batik and clothing embedded with little mirrors. I will not hang ropes of quilted chickens and bells from my doorway.
If I become interested in sprituality, I will not corner anyone at a dinner party and force them to listen to me elaborate – with flared nostrils – about my "path".
If I come back with a new perspective on conspicuous consumption, I will not preach about it or make you feel guilty for wanting an ipod when there are diseased children dying on the streets of Calcutta. oops, sorry.. there I go. I will not do stuff like that.
I will write you funny stories.
Some of the stories will involve poo. Unless you don't like stories about poo. In which case, be sure to let me know.
I will never send unsolicitedm, large attachments to a web-based email account
SPECIAL DEAL: Anyone sending me $50 or more is entitled to their very own PONY entry on whatever subject they choose. (wince)