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Child Haven International

What is it? Founded in 1985, this organisation looks after homes in India, Tibet, Nepal and Bangladesh.The homes accept children who are disabled, parentless or from socially disadvantaged situations – above all, children whom without their help would not receive one meal a day. Based on Ghandian principals, within the homes children are treated equally, regardless of gender, race, religion, caste or culture. Ever effort is made not to westernise the children, but instead raise them in their own culture.They also have a commitment to improving the lives of women through education, medical and legal aid. Founded by Bonnie and Fred Cappuccino, they run the organisation with as little overhead as possible. The two have raised 21 children, two biological and the rest adopted from 11 different countries, as well as serving as aunt and uncle to hundreds of children in the Child Haven Homes.

What’s under the tree? There are many ways to donate to Child Haven –most supplies are bought in the countries they’ll be used, as the only means of transport is in Bonnie’s luggage. All donations, whether one-time or on a direct-deposit each month from your bank account, are eligible for tax receipts. All donors will receive the Child Haven newsletter. You can also sponsor post-high school children, who are attending vocational programmes for US$28 a month.

Wrap it up: See www..childhaven.ca for more information

Stocking stuffer: Child Haven accepts interns, who get to help out in their homes. Interns commit to stays of at least three months, live, eat and dress like a local.

Qatar Animal Welfare Society

What is it? QAWS is the local animal shelter in Doha, the only one taking in stray dogs, cats and other pets, and helping them find safe, loving homes. Run by volunteers, they depend on donations to keep their dog doors open. They have numerous fundraising events all year, and are always looking for donations of either cash or various items – the website has a full list of what is needed at the moment, from building supplies helping to improve and expand the facilities to water coolers and dog leashes – but always in need is pet food. Also, you can sponsor a kennel, for QR250 a month or QR3,000 a year, in your name or someone else’s, which ensures the care of the animal in that facility.

What’s under the tree? If you sponsor a kennel, a nameplate of appreciation will also be affixed to the kennel.

Wrap it up: See www.qaws.org for more information

Stocking stuffer: QAWS is always looking for new pet parents, but if you can’t take home one of your own, you can volunteer to walk dogs, play with cats, help out at fundraising events, and even help build the new shelter. They also have a foster programme, where you can foster an animal till a forever home can be located, as the shelter is never big enough to fit the demand.

Sleeping Children Around the World

What is it? Now in its 40th year, the organisation provides bedkits to children of all races and religions around the world. Founded by Murray and Margaret Dryden in 1970, today they have raised over US$23 million and helped kids in 33 countries – their millionth child received their bedkit in 2009. The kits contain a mattress, something many of the children have never had, as well as a set of clothes, a pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net (if applicable), towel and school supplies, and various other items depending on the local needs. Items are purchased in the country where the bedkits are distributed: so not only are the kids benefitting, but the local manufacturers as well. With zero overhead and 100 per cent of donations reaching people in need, the $35 (Canadian funds) cost of the kit goes a long way.

What’s under the tree? Donations can be made by yourself or on behalf of someone else. Each donor will receive a photograph of the child with their kit, as well as a special occasion card.

Wrap it up: See www.scaw.org for more information.

Stocking stuffer: Want to get more involved? You can volunteer to travel overseas to help distribute bedkits.

Omwaana Ono

What is it? Omwaana Ono, which means ‘This Child’ in Lugosa, one of the indigenous languages in Uganda, are building a girl’s school in Nabitende. Currently children in the village walk over 45 minutes to get to class, squeezed into classrooms with between 80 and 120 other pupils. The final school will house 350 girls, in classes of only 30 students, and will contain a well and medical clinic. The whole project will cost around US$350,000. In many developing countries, girls are the ones who are most likely to not complete their education – instead taking on household tasks, or caring for younger siblings. The group, organised by a
team of western women working with the Ugandan group Inner Wheel, believe that women who receive education are more likely to educate their own children. Working with Ugandans, there is also a sewing programme, training women past school age in valuable skills.

What’s under the tree? The website has a breakdown of the various costs for the school. Donors will receive a special holiday card, detailing where their money has gone.

Wrap it up: See www.omwaanaono.org for more information

Stocking stuffer: Why not donate a sewing machine for the organisation’s sewing programme? Machines are purchased in Africa, but you can sponsor one directly.

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

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