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12 simple ways to be a part of the week


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September 28, 2009
Sify.com
Joeanna Rebello Fernandes

How can you be part of the Week? Here are 12 simple ways to do so

1. Participate in any of the events in your city, ranging from fundraising dinners, star-studded shows, listed here on the Joy of Giving Week website. Donate clothes as part of Goonj`s Vastrasamman campaign- see www.goonj.info for more on how your discarded clothes can make a huge difference to people's lives. Goonj also accepts all other forms of in-kind donations including old newspapers, footwear, toys, etc. Their school to school initiative for stationery can also be useful.

2. Donate money through the India Giving Challenge www.GiveIndia.org/IGC, India`s first online giving challenge where you can help double the donations for your favourite NGO! More than 200 GiveIndia certified NGOs listed on the site, so you can be assured that your money will reach the right hands.

3. Volunteer during the Week -- spend time with people at an elderly home or orphanage, bringing joy in their lives and a new perspective into yours. You could do this with your family. iVolunteer in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, Volunteer Ahmedabad, SOSVA Volact in Mumbai and several others can assist you in doing so. Directories of NGOs in your city are available online, and you can also find them on the Joy of Giving Week website.

4. Sign up for the 7 days 7 gifts challenge at www.7days7gifts.ning.com. This will not only give you a great way to give back, but also stimulate your creative and intellectual self, as you spend time identifying and providing others what THEY need. All you have to do is an act of kindness, making 1 gift a day to another person (could be a family member, your maid, driver, bus conductor, office colleague, anyone). Remember that the gift should be something THAT person wants or needs, and not just what you`d like to give away.

5. Donate one day`s salary/earnings through your company to a cause or NGO of your choice via GiveIndia or via United Way or Charities Aid Foundation. We tend to do this everytime there`s a disaster, but the fact remains that India needs our help all the time. Your 1 day`s salary could restore eyesight, educate a child for a year, provide livelihood to a person through skills training, or restore at least part of the environmental damage you cause around the rest of the year.

6. Tata Indicom subscribers will get a chance to donate Rs30 by SMS -- wait for the message that will hit our inbox during the Week. You can donate as many times as you want!

7. You can also donate books as part of Karmayog's Donate Books Receive Books initiative. Oxford Bookstores will offer a 10% discount on new purchases to those of you who donate books during the Week.

8. Organise fundraising events in your office, neighbourhood, school or college -- be as creative about it as you can to make it fun. Fundraising events could include playing Housie/tambola and donating the proceeds to a charity. Participants can donate items as prizes, like a spare cellphone or gift items or TV sets. Or you could have people selling home made food at a stall at work or in the neighbourhood (become a street vendor for a day!). Amateur artists (singers, painters, photographers, dancers) can conduct private performances and exhibitions and raise money for a cause of your choice, while giving yourself the `experience` of being professional for a day. Your friends won`t mind paying to hear you sing or buying your paintings, if they know the money's going to a good cause!

9. If you are a professional like a Doctor, Lawyer, Designer or Accountant, you can offer your services free to the poor during the Week.

10. Celebrate Green Week-It`s Green Consumer Day on September 28, World Wildlife Week from October 1-7 and World Habitat Day on October 3. Walk or cycle to work/wherever you go for a visit, take public transport for the Week and donate the costs of fuel that they would have saved to an environmental cause. Buy airline tickets on Makemytrip, as they will plant trees for all tickets bought on their website to offset the carbon damage caused. You can plant trees yourself, switch off your airconditioning, and spread the message about leaving the planet occupiable for our future generations!

11. Children and schools can participate in the Design4Giving School Contest and win exciting prizes in addition to being able to make a difference- get your children to `Feel for something that bothers you, Imagine how you can solve the problem, Do implement the solution during the Week, Share your experience with others`.

12. Youth and colleges can organize Joyfests in their College, in association with local NGOs as part of www.Joyfest.in, that is happening in leading institutions like IIMA, Stephens College in Delhi, XLRI, Chennai and Ahmedabad`s leading colleges and Rotaract Clubs all over India.

All you really need to do is think of anything that will touch the life of another, and act on that consciously. You will experience no greater joy than that of `giving`. So wear your thinking caps, get ideas from www.joyofgivingweek.org, plan what you can do, rope in as many people to join you as you can, and get going!

You can register your event on the website, offer or seek resources from others. You can also write to jgw@giveindia.org or call the Joy of Giving Week Helpline at 022-67876345 for more information.

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