Happy Giving Tuesday!!!! I am sure most of you have your own groups you are already giving too, but just in case you are stumped for ideas, here are some suggestions.
I’m want to focus on groups that support desis. So, Indian charities, charities for immigrants in other countries, charities in Pakistan and Sri Lanka and Bengladesh and Nepal. We are all watching and enjoying these films from these communities, feels in keeping to think about them when we choose where to place our charitable dollars as well. And please, if there is a wonderful charity that you know of that is appropriate, please mention it in the comments.
One of the largest NGOs in India, supports education, healthcare, livelihoods, and women’s empowerment. They have schools, and job training and placement programs, and traveling health camps (60% benefited were women). They are very large and active and get good ratings from various sites that track effectiveness of NGOs. A nice all around place to put your money! Website here: http://www.smilefoundationindia.org/
Specifically focused on educating low income little girls. Your money goes to providing them with a “material kit” every year including everything down to socks that can make them look and feel prepared for school. As well as supporting the Nanhi Kali classes which provide them with an additional 1-2 hours before or after school to help bridge the gaps in their education and make sure they can succeed. You can sponsor a little girl for a year for only $60. Oh, and they have a video! (warning: will cause tears) Their website is here: http://www.nanhikali.org/
And finally, if you want to browse around for yourself and find a good small NGO that speaks to you, this website has pulled together a number of them and made it easy to donate. You can find the link here: http://www.giveindia.org/
Moving on! I don’t want to limit just to India, so let’s look at other countries.
A crowdfunding website to raise money for medical care for individuals in need in Pakistan. You can easily find the most urgent needs (for instance, small children in need of heart surgery), or search for a particular type of medical care that most speaks to your concerns. Website here: https://www.transparenthands.org/
I was all set to try to help Bengladesh, turns out they lead the world in charity! This is the largest NGO in the world which provides economic support for people through out the world. Most notably, they are one of the groups currently helping the Rohingya people in Myanmar, a terrible human rights situation which does not get much publicity or notice in the charitable community (I’m aware of it because there is a tiny Rohingya support office down the street from me which puts posters all over the windows in a desperate attempt to make people realize what is happening). BRAC website here: http://www.brac.net/
A Sri Lankan based NGO, focused on supporting economic, agricultural, conflict resolution, and basic needs village by village. There are a number of international NGOs doing good work in Sri Lanka, but this was the only local one I could find, and I wanted a local one if possible. Website here: http://www.sarvodaya.org/
(Let Mani Ratnam and AR Rahman remind you why you should give money to Sri Lanka)
A resource to search for the kind of program you wish to donate to in Malaysia. Malaysia gives so much to us in terms of keeping Tamil film going and giving it an international presence, so it seems fair to give a whole collection of organizations to donate to, instead of just one. Website here: http://www.hati.my
(Rajnikanth tells us to support the Tamilians in Malaysia)
Nepal Youth Foundation
Founded by a retired California lawyer who devoted her retirement and her funds to saving the lives of malnourished children of Nepal. The foundation provides treatment, homes, and education. Website here: http://www.nepalyouthfoundation.org/
Immigrant Support Groups Outside of South Asia
Southern Poverty Law Center
I vaguely knew the name, but initially found them when I was researching a paper on My Name is Khan and looking for statistics on hate crimes against south asians in America. SPLC was the only group that was even tracking it at the time. In the past year, their work in this area has expanded enormously. The provide support to legal fights, as well as training to law enforcement and other groups in defending against these dangerous hate groups. Website here: https://www.splcenter.org/
CAIR-Council on American-Islamic Relations
Primarily an advocacy and educational group. They are trying to defend religious freedom in America and make sure the Muslim Americans have a rightful voice in what happens in their country. Website here: https://www.cair.com/index.php
Immigration Advice and Rights Centre
Australia is a bit complicated, I just spent quite a quite a while going in and out of websites. There are a few specifically South Asian organizations, but I wasn’t able to find any that seemed terribly well-established or organized. But there are many general immigration/refugee groups, that would help immigrants from South Asia as well as elsewhere, and they seemed much more established, so I went with one of them. Website here: http://www.iarc.asn.au/
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
Like Australia, hard to find a group that was specific primarily to south Asians. However, this group is focused on supporting and defending the rights of all immigrants in the UK, including no doubt the large number of immigrants from South Asian countries. Website here: http://www.jcwi.org.uk/
(My favorite movie about the immigrant community. Flawed, but still great)