Hand Up Fund

If you’ve been following my blog, you will have noticed that unorthodox travel is my passion. I travel by way of hostel, borrowed couch and room sharing – navigating an organic network of generosity and open hearts, with every stop an opportunity for connection with wonderful local people, a warm welcome to the intimate details of their home lives, and an open door to rich cultural experiences that you never find on group tours or in hotels.

Most often the first in line offering an abundance of hospitality to everybody they know, are the people with very few material possessions, who live what some may call ‘a simple life’ – although not always by choice. I know this because I have experienced their generosity of spirit first-hand, and my unique access has allowed me to see opportunities where I could help improve their situation at a grass-roots level – even just by a little, and sometimes by a lot.

What frustrates me is that these are people all too often invisible to local and international aid organisations. Their needs as real but not so great as to create a splashy crisis or media-juicy campaign to tug open the wallets of strangers. Nor are they people at the lowest end of the socio-economic scale who often receive assistance from the many existing organisations. These are people getting by, quietly, barely. Willing to stand in government line-ups for hours for the slight hope of a little relief.

* Quality English books are simply not available to support the Colombian student’s learning our language to use in their business and school studies

* There are no start-up funds for the budding entrepreneur seeking to make a living wage for her family by selling home-made sweets on a Brazilian street corner

* A small electric cooktop that would allow a Venezuelan couple to prepare hot water for bathing and cooking, because their landlord has cut off the gas to the shared property in order to save costs

After many years of travel, I am now on a mission to help improve the lives of the people I meet, by providing them with the opportunity to do the improving themselves.

My aim is not to solve the problem by giving them what I think they need, but to give people what they actually do need. Those things can only be discovered by knowing them well enough, by seeing and hearing their stories and observing their lives.

Although the need is not often explicitly stated, or even stated at all, it is usually just revealed as I get to know the person, their family and friends. Those are the gifts I love to give – the ones that are truly unexpected and appreciated because they are practical, useful and necessary.  

I wish I could help make all their needs, dreams and desires come true. I want to give a hand up to the people I encounter, help them realise their potential, and let them know that someone cares, no matter what their economic situation or social status is.

The biggest challenge I face is that I don’t personally have the funds to help all the people who’ve made an impression on me. I do what I can to give back to these beautiful people, but I could do so much more with a little help from others. The people I aim to serve do not need a hand out, just a hand up. And I believe that with your help, I can provide that.

This page is your opportunity to help make a difference in people’s lives. Every cent donated will go towards helping someone I’ve met and identified as needing something that will help make a positive difference in their life.

Here are some things that would make a difference:

* Basic necessities of toiletries and food items ($10-$50)

* English books ($30-$60 with postage)

* Stove cook top ($100)

* Business start up funding ($150-$200)

If you can help, a donation of any amount via PayPal below is welcome. If you prefer to deposit money directly into my account, contact me for details.

Keeping it above board, I will write blog posts and document the projects and people your donations provide a hand up to, and where possible, I will provide photos and a personal thank you from the people you help.

Thanks in advance!


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