Gifts that give in Doha

Best ways to spread the holiday cheer, both at home and abroad Discuss this article

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Sleeping Children Around the World
Founded by Murray and Margaret Dryden in 1970, today they’ve raised over $23 million and helped kids in 33 countries- their millionth child received their bedkit in 2009. They give kids a chance to sleep on a bed, often for the first time in their lives. The kits contain a mattress as well as a set of clothes, pillow, sheet, blanket, mosquito net, towel and school supplies, as well as 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 benefiting, but the local businesses and 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. Kits Donations can be made for yourself or on behalf of someone else. Each donor will receive a photograph of the child, as well as a special occasion card commemorating the holiday. Or, volunteer! The kits are distributed by volunteers who pay for their own travel.
Check out www.scaw.org for more information or to volunteer.

Qatar Animal Welfare Society
Run entirely by volunteers, they take in all sorts of animals, from cats and dogs to more exotic pets, and depend on donations. Their website has a list of what they need at the moment, including building supplies. Things that never go wrong are bags of pet food (their websites specify brands, to ward off upset tummies) bedding, leashes, litter, toys and just your time: they need people to play with the cats and walk the dogs. They also have a donation box at the Qatar Veterinary Centre: you can make a donation that goes directly to paying their vet bill. You can also donate over the phone with a credit card by calling 4421 6405. Or, sponsor a kennel for QR250 a month, QR3000 for a year, which ensures the care of the animal in that facility for the whole year. And although it’s never a good idea to give a pet as a gift, QAWS is always looking for temporary foster parents to look after animals who need special care.
See www.qaws.org for more information.

Omwanna Ono
Omwaana Ono is working to build a girl’s school in Uganda. Their name means ‘This Child’ in Lugosa, and they believe that if you ‘educate a girl you educate a nation’. 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. They also support various other projects, from community wells and health clinics to a sewing project for adults. You can donate directly to building costs, or sponsor a sewing machine for the groups sewing program. Their website includes a breakdown of all costs associated with the school, and you can earmark your donation directly.
See www.omwaanaono.org for more information.

Cats in Qatar
Without an actual shelter, this group helps find homes for cats, cats and nothing but the cats. Started in 2010, it’s completely volunteer run and organized, recently expanding to their own website in addition to their popular Facebook page (tempting us with regular updates of adorable cats and kittens available for adoption). They’re always looking for cat supplies like food, toys and litter to help their volunteers keep their feline friends content, but they also stage numerous fundraising events to get cold hard cash. So clean out your cupboards and donate! They take anything, from household items to gently used clothing and most importantly books, which they resell at their table top sales and turn into things like vet visits and kitty chow. You can drop off items at the collection bin at Altamimi Clinic at Katara or contact them directly for pick up. You can also volunteer in many ways to help them: whether working their fundraising events, fostering pets, feral cat colony care, or shopping for things for the cats in their care. You can also sponsor a cat, which helps pay for surgeries, vaccinations and spaying and neutering. Currently they’re in desparate need of foster parents.
See catsinqatar.com for more information or check them out on Facebook.

Project Mosquito Net
Over 700,000 children die each year in Africa from this completely preventable disease, with more children dying from malaria than any other disease in the world. It’s estimated that if regular bed nets, sprayed with insecticide, were used regularly, we could get rid of half the malaria deaths in Africa—at least a million per year, many of them children. Project Mosquito Net works mainly in Kenya, distributing insecticide treated bed nets to kids, especially those under five years old and pregnant mothers. Started in 2005 as a joint effort between two US non-profits and Akado Medical Center in Kenya, it started by providing orphaned and vulnerable children with nets in the township of Mbita, situated on Lake Victoria and vulnerable to mosquito infection. The nets are provided by African HEART, an organization in Kenya that supports women widowed by AIDS, as well as from London-based World Swim Against Malaria. None of the staff take salary, and 100 per cent of all donations make it to a child or mother in need. Each net costs only USD$5, less than a cup of coffee or a movie ticket, yet it can save a child’s life.
Check out www.projectmosquitonet.org

By Time Out Doha staff
Time Out Doha,

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