Help a Charity in Africa

As one of the most politically, environmentally, and economically distressed areas in the world, Africa is the go-to place for charity work. It’s inspiring how many people go out of their way to build free clinics, give away food and books, and generally try to make life better for Africans—even if they’re living the sweet life back home. Most of us have something to give, and helping a charity in Africa is a great way to even out the playing field.

Doing your part doesn’t mean packing your bags and flying to Ethiopia (though you can if you want to). Many charities have offices outside the continent that allow people to help in their own way, either through donations or remote work such as administration, fundraising and marketing. It all depends on what you have to offer and where your skills and resources are needed the most. If you have excellent people skills, you can help promote the cause and solicit donations, or perhaps help African immigrants. If you’re trained in healthcare, you can assist in research or work in a local clinic.

World Vision and the Salvation Army are among the biggest names in charity, but some lesser-known ones are also worth a look. These include The Change Exchange, which provides educational support to children, and the Chinansi Foundation, which works in HIV/AIDS research, environmental management, health, education, and food security. In a way, smaller organizations make your money go further because they spend less on overhead costs such as travel and paperwork, which means more of the donations actually reach people in need.

If you have the time and resources, you can even spend some time in Africa and do some hands-on work. Some experience may be necessary for certain tasks, such as administering medicine or teaching young students. But if you’re new to the field, you can help in other ways, even if it’s just delivering goods or helping locals with housework. You may have to pay for your own trip and spring for travel insurance, but as any volunteer will tell you, the experience is more than worth it.

It’s easy to think that one person’s time or money won’t make much of a difference. But like most other things, change is collective: it’s the work of millions of people rather than a select few. Whether you’re carrying water jars or heading a high-profile research team, helping out a charity in Africa is a step in the right direction.

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