What happened next was also a surprise. I began receiving emails and Facebook messages from other people who read the letter and, moved by Chiara's situation, wanted to help in some way.
Voluntourism is a damaging industry, but it is important to remember that it is not the only way for people to get involved. There are hundreds of organizations which work to provide sustainable, effective, locally based aid to communities in need.
Though there are many, many organizations doing wonderful work to help the less fortunate, doing good and giving does not have to be applied to only to the non-profit world. Here are (lucky) seven everyday ways to do good.
Nearly 50 others have now joined us in the practice of making a grant a day. As of Dec. 31, 2014, we have made 790 total grants in 55 countries.
While there's nothing new about the desire to give as much as (or more than) one gets, many of the means by which such charitable assistance can be delivered are quite novel. And these days the knowledge of how best to leverage both big-heartedness and the jargony lexicon used to describe it is constantly in flux
As counterintuitive as it might seem, taking care of ourselves begins by reaching out to those around us -- by building the bridges of belonging that link us to one another.
Knowing that this is the case allows us to change its course. There are things we can do to lessen the letdown after the holidays have passed. And while January will never have the same cache as December, it can still escape from being a "low."
If it's that time of the year when we search for tax write-offs for charitable donations in the year just ending, why not also make it the time to plan for the charitable "donations" you won't be able to deduct in the year ahead?
Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake or Asian Tsunami Disaster, which killed an estimated 230,000 people in 14 countries. It elicited one of the greatest outpourings of humanitarian response ever from the global community.
Most people view this desire to give back as "charity." The arrogant thought that people in need deserve our help. What we neglect to understand is that we need to engage our hearts, minds and yes, our pocketbooks, because it helps us too.
Even though winter break bucket lists don't exist like they do for the summer break, there are definitely ways to make these three week memorable and productive. Here are five ways to spend your winter break! (Maybe you'll even come away with a "winter break story!")
The world around us is full of so much pain and anger. There are storms of injustice brewing off in the distance and seeds of hatred being planted in the minds of those who are innocent and impressionable.
My time as a volunteer isn't always fun -- there is usually time, energy and even money involved -- but it is always meaningful and gratifying.
From that website they affirm that "No Poor Among Them is a project devoted to education and inspiration in the art of service and the passion to end poverty."
Studies show: people who volunteer tend to be healthier, happier, live longer and experience greater career success.
If you've ever doubted that a small group of dedicated individuals can change - in this case, save - the world, I encourage you to read TIME's story about the Ebola fighters and then do something to support their efforts.