Tuesday, 4 September 2012

ActionAid Summer Blog Party #ActionAidBlogParty

It's taken me a while to write this post... I'm still not sure it's right, but here goes.

Last month I read a post by Hello It's Gemma about the ActionAid Summer Blog Party.
I decided it was about time I did something about the musings in my mind and registered.

I have real dilemmas about supporting charities:
Whether to support home or abroad, how to best offer support, and how to work my way through the plethora of charities in a bid to ensure however I contribute my effort will be of most benefit.

There is no easy answer to this. It was one of the questions posed to Alex Graham, award-winning TV producer, when he spoke about his choice to support ActionAid and the effort in Myanmar.
And, of course, there is no simple answer, it is about finding a reputable charity, which chimes with you on a very personal level.

For me, listening to Alex, I heard a lot of what I needed to know. Alex offered a personal overview of his trip to Myanmar.
And, what made the most difference to me was the idea that ActionAid does not go into countries with a bag of quick fixes, a ready made solution to allow it to report back on the numerous things it has brought to a country.
ActionAid instead focuses on adding value, understanding the heart of the community, and what people need to bring the difference to their lives.

And this is the personal connection. I know me. I know as soon as people tell me what I need to do, the shutters go down. I'm not alone here, I watch it happen every day at work.
And this for me is why ActionAid is something I can connect with.

I have walked away from this event feeling very motivated, I think there is so much that can be achieved, little steps than can lead to more involvement.

The brainstorming session, led by blogger extraordinares Penny and Gemma, provided so much on how to make a difference. You see, blogging to me still feels like a parallel universe, I love it, yet I am amazed by how much goes on in it, how much others have clicked, and found their niche. These two fantastic women have definitely found theirs.

I was grateful (and delighted) to find I also had a place, that brain storming was completely that, with lovely people, where everything was accepted. I was pleased that I could actually contribute, through the things that have inspired me on twitter and facebook over the last year, to all those seemingly mundane meetings with our Communications team at work, where finally the things they've said can be translated on a personal level.

I feel inspired to write about Myanmar, to let you know how you can sponsor a child with ActionAid
I would encourage anyone who can to do so. But I think that's a post for another day, when I feel confident enough to write on this.

But, as seeing so often makes it more real, if anyone has discussed with their other half the right age to get their child a bike, or even, like me and my other half, whether to get a balance bike or a traditional bike... please take a moment to consider how different childrens lives can be:

I am still balancing my financial books, I suspect in my heart it will be January before I can even think about the commitment (and even then I am thinking about my two little people starting pre-school).

Before I put everyone off completely, please can I introduce you to Give as You Live
Give as You Live is for free!
You know all that online shopping you do, when the other half is distracted, well, imagine how much better you'd feel if a charity was benefiting for you doing that shopping!! If you're in any doubt, check out this post.

So, I was lucky that due to a union dispute I received a back payment last month, I decided I'd use this to fund Christmas, well, the childrens gifts at least. I did my shopping online (as usual) and this time received lovely emails about my contributions to charity.


I have completed my Christmas shopping (a little nearer to the date) for the last three years or so on line.
Now, I get to ensure my charity gets the benefit of me shopping online.

So, for my few (or many!!) readers, please sign up to give as you live, please ensure that the shopping you do online, and those unseen charges, get sent to a charity you believe in.

And if you're unsure, or convinced, please think about that charity being ActionAid, If you're not decided on a charity at the moment, choose ActionAid, for now, your small purchases will make the world of difference (for free!) whilst you make you mind up.

I'm going to be back in a couple of weeks time, once I've clued myself up, to update on the benefits of child sponsorship. I want to explore it a bit more, understand how it works, the benefits, the pros and the cons.
I hope you might find it useful, if you've ever been on this thought process.

If you want to read more from people who support ActionAid, please check out these blogs:

Gemma from Hello it's Gemma
Jennifer from Jenography
Margot from Coffee and Vanilla
Muriel from 40blog Spot - A French Yummy Mummy in London
Penny from Alexander Residence
Pie from Pie and Biscuits
Pru from Perfecting Pru
Sylwia from Sywia Presley
Tom from Diary of the Dad
Uju from Babes About Town

I'm really grateful to all of these bloggers for making this such a motivating event, and especially to Leslie and the lovely team at ActionAid for being brave enough to get bloggers in a room- and give us coffee and cake!


  1. This is such a hard post to write (mine is still being edited for the 40th time!) but you have written a really great post. I am so pleased you enjoyed the afternoon and it was lovely to meet you (although very briefly).

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