There are so many challenges and problems that need solving that it can be difficult to pick a place to start. We wanted to highlight three particular organizations covering different challenges we face as a world that have pretty good reach across the US and offer various types of ways to help.
Clean drinking water is something that we may take for granted in many parts of the US but is something that hundreds of millions around the world still struggle with: UNICEF reports at least 783 million people do not have access to safe, clean, drinking water.
There are many charities that are working on this issue. One of the main technologies those charities use is the LifeStraw, which comes in personal and community sizes.
LifeStraw is portable, has no moving parts, no need for electricity, and filters out 99.9999% of all waterborne bacteria. An individual unit is good for up to a year and a community unit is good for 100 people for 3 years. It’s like a straw that can be drunk through or water can be poured through it.
LifeStraw has links to the current programs they are running on their donate page. Even if you just purchase one for your own use when you’re hiking someplace isolated, they make donations for every consumer purchase.
First world housing problems involve finding a home we can reasonably afford. Those market forces make it more challenging for those on the lower end of the income ladder to even think about putting that first step on the property ladder. One organization that has done a great job on this front is Habitat for Humanity. You may already be familiar with their well-known volunteer program that allows you to help build a home in your local community or to go abroad to do so.
Habitat does an extensive background check on potential homeowners who, if approved, will also be expected to put in around 500 hours of “sweat equity” into their or other project homes. Once this is done, a loan is extended between 0-2% interest and payments do not exceed more than 30% of the household income.
To date Pencils of Promise has helped over 230,000 students in a variety of ways. The organization looks at education from top to bottom: while they do help build the actual buildings to house students, they know that you need a lot of support to actually make education happen behind those walls.
They provide teacher training and support (workshops as well as one-on-one sessions) as well as what they call WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) programs. These programs help provide safe and healthy environments for students by decreasing their risk of illness. The program isn’t complicated: provide toilets, distribute water filters, and educate students on healthy behaviors like handwashing.
As with the other organizations we’ve discussed, Pencils offers numerous ways to help, including a crowdfunding platform that allows you to get funding for your own school and a monthly donation program that offers all sorts of access and information about where your donations go.
What’s an organization you would have liked to have seen on this list? Reply and let us know.