"I write so that my handful of pebbles, cast into still waters, will create a ripple."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Three Ultimate Gifts from the Heart.

Ever think about the gifts we give and receive--what they say about us as humans? Here's a list of alternatives that will change lives. 

I just finished reading a commentary by Nicholas D. Kristof, columnist for the New York Times. His post Mother’s Day article is about saving the lives of moms. Specifically it’s about fistulas, a consequence of childbirth when girls, most often third-world girls, get raped and impregnated when their bodies are small or malnourished.

The details aren’t pretty, but they’re even less so for the girls who are ostracized by their communities when their fecal matter and urine oozes in an uncontrollable stream from a rupture in their vagina caused by childbirth trauma.

Kristof calls it the leprosy of the 21st Century. The consequences are long-lasting: no prom dates, no jobs at McBurger. Death by self-induced starvation, infection or hyena attacks orchestrated by villagers including family and friends.   

 The girls are taken to a hut at the edge of their communities and left to die. Some manage to crawl or walk to clinics supported by American donors and staffed by compassionate doctors who perform a simple surgery.  

Ironically, I read about fistulas right after my daughter Sam called to tell me that she has donated in my name to an organization that repairs cleft palates in babies.

Right after I sent a donation to an organization that provides goats to African villagers in my mother’s name. Great minds think alike.

Now I’m sending a donation to the fistula foundation on behalf of both my daughters. A perfect Mother’s Day Trifecta.     

Here are some links. (Note--there are others. Check them all out.)

(Author’s note: Gift ideas are suitable for all occasions and are not limited by gender or age. Comes in all sizes. Items described don’t require exchanging, packing or dry cleaning.)

http://worldwidefistulafund.org/ $450 buys an entire fistula surgery and changes a life.  For $150 we can provide her with social reintegration and job skills. For $25 we can give a girl a new dress after her surgery.

Operationsmile.org . (888) 377-2289. or Smiletrain.org .  $250 buys a new smile for a baby born with a cleft palate. Our donation comes with a Bonus Offer—after the operation the village will no longer assume that the repaired, beautiful three-year-old is possessed by the devil. 

Worldvision.org . The gift catalogue is online. Browse among the options that include a goat, three chickens or two ducks. Gifts benefit AIDS widows or women abandoned by their job-seeking husbands, or grandmothers left with the care of all their grandchildren. $75 buys a goat to milk, breed and develop into a small herd.

Let’s add to the list. Share your best big-hearted suggestions.