New year, new cheer. And there's lots to go around here in the studio. We wish we'd invented the #blessed hashtag because it's definitely where our heads and hearts are at the moment – we feel truly grateful for 2017 and all of your support. And when you're this blessed, there's only one thing you can do: spread the love.
So without further ado, here are five charities and organisations we love to give love to, and some info for your giving pleasure as well...
Bumi Sehat Foundation
Fondly called Ibu Robin (ibu means 'mother' in Indonesian), Robin Lim has expertly delivered babies for marginalized parents and during crisis situations in Ubud, Bali and beyond. Bumi Sehat (which literally means Healthy Mother Earth) is a birthing service and clinic that opened in Bali in 1995. A second full-fledged clinic followed in Aceh immediately after the deadly 2004 tsunami (Bumi Sehat was one of the first respondents in the aftermath), a temporary clinic opened in Yogya in 2006 after an earthquake, then Padang in 2008 and Haiti 2010.
This is an organisation that's very close to our heart because my second-born, Pepper, was birthed with the help of the amazing midwives at Bumi Sehat. I'd never heard of gentle birthing until I heard of Bumi Sehat, and I didn’t understand the full extent of it until I was in labor and felt the loving energy of the midwives near me. Their chanting while I was pushing my baby out, this is how birthing can be! I felt so safe, so loved and so supported, as well as strong and empowered. It’s a wonderful feeling to feel like this during birth and I wish this feeling to all birthing women all over the world.
True to form, the midwives from Bumi Sehat suggested that we burn Pepper's umbilical cord, instead of cutting it – this is a technique done by doctors during a crisis that can also help mitigate infections. But in Pepper's case, it was just plain romantic. Imagine the crackling sound of the fire, candlelit cuddles, that gorgeous newborn smell...Sigh!
Fun fact – YOU donated $680 last December for Bumi Sehat to help the Mount Agung volcano refugees; the funds were raised through our Instagram auctions. If you want to go beyond transferring funds, you may also fundraise your way and use Bumi Sehat's name. Here are other ways to contribute.
Why all the fuss with high-tech solutions when fully-ready low-tech solutions are yet to reach the last mile? That's the question that drives Kopernik into developing rigorous research techniques and data collection that puts community first. Founded by Toshi Nakamura and Ewa Wojkowska, Kopernik believes that "ideas and potential solutions should be tested first and that impact should be demonstrated before large investments are made". With this spirit of experimentation, Kopernik aims to find what works and doesn't work to reduce poverty and, ultimately, to close the technology gap.
Kopernik began its journey in 2011 and soon settled in Ubud, Bali. Their projects have reached 26 countries and 479,556 individuals and they actively write their last-mile journeys on their blog. Learn more about their initiatives and how you can help here.
Global Fund for Women
If you believe that empowering women worldwide can create world peace, then take some time to dive deep into the work and projects by the Global Fund For Women. Based in the United States but with projects throughout the globe, these super women review nearly 3,000 proposals a year and help over 60 organizations working on the ground level to assist women claiming their voice and rights. “Only when women and girls are safe and free from violence; can earn their own money; can have an equal voice in their family and community; and can decide if, and when, they get married or have children, will we be able to say that they have equality and justice.”
Global Fund For Women has shared some ways to donate as an individual or a company. Whatever your choosing is, your donation helps to ensure that “every women and girl is strong, safe, powerful, and heard.”
For over 40 years, Oxfam has been the closest to those in crisis. From the cholera-epidemic in Yemen to the Rohingya refugee crisis, Oxfam shares some of the most intimate stories of the marginalized. Their vision is simple – to fight poverty. And they believe that this begins with the power of claiming your rights.
How we can help, aside from donating funds, is walking 100 km within (roughly) 48 hours along designated paths in Australia or along Asia. This meditative walk, alongside the mountains of Barcelona or the rugged Australian bush, connects the body and the soul and is a “true test of teamwork and determination”. Learn more about their projects or how you can help.
Borneo Nature Foundation
Sometimes we want to hug a tree, other times we want to hug an entire forest. And that forest might just be Borneo's tropical forests that house nature's most pristine and diverse ecosystems.
For over a decade, The Borneo Nature Foundation has focused on conducting high-quality research to maintain biodiversity, manage forests, and fight fires. Did you know? A local, but massive forest fire in Indonesia can affect the winter in North America! These on-the-ground scientists conduct research of which the results might help in creating balance in the world. And who doesn't want that?
Gardens of the Sun has been a support partner of the Borneo Nature Foundation from the start, and everytime one of you lovely folk signs up for our newsletter or makes a purchase, their on-the-ground helpers plant a tree in your name. So, go on; you can feel good about taking home that gem of your dreams.
What are your favourite charities?