Charities

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Minguo.info wants to reach out to the wider community and to do whatever it can to help some of the most disadvantaged communities. Towards that end, minguo.info is adopting charities who are doing a great work in the poorest countries in the world.

As of the 1st November 2012, minguo.info/USA officially support MAG, an anti-personnel-landmine charity working to tackle the destructive legacy of violence and conflict; to release land for food production; to increase safe access to vital resources like water, education and health services; and to build a better future for women, men and children alike.

Minguo.info adopts a charity!

I have always wanted the web sites I operate to adopt a charity. Minguo.info itself is a charitable work. Although minguo is not registered as such, our work here is non-profit and with an aim to improve our society. However, I don't want minguo to live in a world of its own. This site must be connected to the outside world, not for its own good, but in order to do good for the wider society.

In this spirit, I have been looking for a charity that minguo could adopt and support, and I wanted to do it soon. It's an easy cope-out to say: "I'll donate money to charities when I'll be (filthy) rich." or "I'll do something good for the world when I'll be famous, powerful and influential". Some of the biggest actors for change in the world are ordinary people who are neither richer nor more famous and powerful than the other people in the communities they live in. What sets those great souls apart is a will to do something good and the audacity to start doing what they can with the (meagre) means that are available to them. Thus, I didn't want to have the easy excuse to wait until minguo is a big and influential web site in order to do something for charities. As of today, minguo is still a very small web site lost in some corner of the interwebs. But that's not an excuse for not doing what we already can do.

Having decided to support a charity, my main problem was: which charity to support? I thought about it for a long time. I could easily have gone with some of the big names, like the Red Cross. But then, everybody knows about them and one way I could help the chosen charity would be with name recognition. I wanted to advertise the great work done by some unknown charity. More importantly, I wanted to support a charity working for the poorest communities of this planet, the kind of communities where people do not have internet access and would never visit minguo. The charity should work in an area which does not concern me in the least in my daily life. I didn't want to do it for myself nor for selfish motives. I wanted to do something for other people so that they can enjoy the same things as all the minguo visitors, including myself, do and that we usually take for granted.

And I am happy today to report that I have found such a charity.

Last week, I was talking with one of my students: the teaching material had led us to talk about Prince Charles, in a funny way (a story about a prince with big ears!). That led to talking about Lady Diana and her own charitable work. We watched some videos about her work against anti-personnel landmines. This soon led us to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and to the work of the Mines Advisory Group.

I then spent some time to have a thorough look at MAG's web site, trying to understand the scope of their work, etc. I was truly impressed. The charity works in the poorest countries of the world, training local people to become professional mine clearing experts, financially empowering them and their families in the process. It also allows the much needed expertise to be transferred into the countries that need that expertise the most. The charity does not work "for the numbers" (e.g. to impress donors with the numbers of mines they have cleared) but for the communities, working with them to work out which land, if it were cleared of mines, would have the greatest positive impact on the community by providing arable land, a place to build a home or a field for children to play in.

Every day, I go about my personal business without ever fearing to have my life blown apart or to lose a limb should I step on the wrong place. I'm guessing the same can be said of 100% of the minguo members of visitors (with the exception of potential soldiers who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan...). We take our ability to move around safely for granted. We have homes and a safe food supply. People in the communities in which MAG works in cannot say the same. They must cultivate their own food but fear for their lives should they dig the wrong field. Children there do not have computers nor game stations and for them, an unexploded ordinance (UXO) looks like a toy. MAG is providing a safer future to such people.

For all these reasons, minguo.info is very proud to announce that, as of today, it officially supports MAG (the Mines Advisory Group).

Next, we should explore all the possible ways our little web site can support this great cause.

Republished at Democracy Chronicles: Minguo.info adopts a charity!.

Forgotten children

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Ukraine's Forgotten Children (BBC4 documentary) : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs42-5HnQRQ

Future Youth Project "is a charity that promotes 'community spirit' on a world wide scale."

The UK to Ukraine road trip project.

LifeLine Network "LifeLine Network is a growing and dynamic group of grassroots community organisations and NGOs spread out all over the world."

"Happy Child" foundation (Ukrainian charity).

Maya’s Hope: "We help disadvantaged children living in extreme poverty by sending aid (food, medicine, books, school supplies, diapers, clothing, etc) to orphanages throughout the world; initially focusing on the Philippines and Ukraine and responding to international emergencies as they arise. We strive to give hope and love to each child, to nurture a strong foundation for a brighter future."

MAG: Mines Advisory Group

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Important links:

MAG introduction from their web site:

MAG (Mines Advisory Group) is a neutral and impartial humanitarian organisation, registered as a charitable company in the UK and co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

Clearing UXO in Juba, Sudan

We work to tackle the destructive legacy of violence and conflict; to release land for food production; to increase safe access to vital resources like water, education and health services; and to build a better future for women, men and children alike.
MAG* has worked in more than 40 countries since 1989 and we currently have operations in Angola, Burundi, Cambodia, ChadDemocratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Iraq, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, LibyaSomaliaSouth Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Vietnam.

MAG is co-laureate of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for our work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which culminated in the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty – the international agreement that bans anti-personnel landmines, sometimes referred to as the Ottawa Convention.

[* Pronounced "mag", as in magazine, rather than M.A.G.]

Photo: Preparing the controlled demolition of a unexploded ordnance cleared from an area around a weapons store in Juba, South Sudan 2011.[J.B. Russell / MAG]

Other charities

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RAPt (the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) "works to help people with drug and alcohol dependence, both in prison and in the community, move towards, achieve and maintain positive and fulfilling drug-free and crime-free lives. In 1992 RAPt founded the first drug treatment facility in a UK prison. Today we are the leading provider of intensive, abstinence-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes in UK prisons, and we provide high-quality drug and alcohol services to over 13,000 people every year within the criminal justice system and in the community."