Living in Australia, so named 'The Lucky Country' we often wonder what things would be like to earn that extra money each week, or match our neighbour's new, fantastic high definition 3D TV.
If we spend such a great deal of time thinking about what to get others and what it is that we want, doesn't that highlight a key issue in our materialistic lives? When is purchasing more items and clutter to complicate people's lives so necessary?
If we can't think about what we want then maybe the answer is there. We simply have enough items and need to take a look outside our cushioned lives.
There are a handful of organisations that offer gifts to poverty-stricken communities such as Tear Australia's TEAR cards. These gifts are aimed at those of us who have quite enough and would like to give and receive selflessly.
In Tear's range of 'Useful Gifts' individuals can get on board as can entire communities too. Depending on what your budget is, Tear has got it covered with a gift of school supplies starting at $5. You needn't worry about monthly transactions and fees and you can buy whenever you feel like. There is no locked-in contract. Tear also offers regular donations but one can simply purchase a card when they see fit to do so.
The gifts you purchase for under-privileged villages can become an invaluable part of everyday life for those living well under the poverty line in war-ravaged communities. One can purchase items such as a goat, clean drinking water or an entire women's self-help group. These gifts are aimed at making life better in the long term as well as the short term. You can purchase a small business start-up to change an individual's life and kick-start the local economy in the process. Anything is possible with your kindness.
Every little bit helps and when we look at our first-world discrepancies of only having one car per household or miniscule issues of not being able to afford to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster; it really puts things in perspective.
Old Town street in Mombasa, Kenya
You can purchase the TEAR cards directly through their website at anytime, and even stock up on them for birthdays. 'Chickens' make a lovely gift at Easter time, and even if a loved one does not appreciate this gift as much as you anticipate, its intent has already been achieved and the gift is on its way.
There is no need to worry about monies being caught up in administrations fees like some charities. All of the cash Tear receives goes directly into implementing these community strategies. You can browse the website at your convenience and read up on the initiatives they are involved in.
Travelling opens your eyes to the way people outside our country live and sometimes the situations are extremely dire.
A typical street mall in Kota, Indonesia.
By making a small sacrifice at usual gift-giving times or guiding a person to see possessions differently; the true gifts of selfless love, equality and opportunities can thrive.
To give up a birthday present occasionally seems like a small price to pay to give a smile back to a child or a village halfway around the world. Something that we forget to put at the forefront of our lives. If you are a good person with a good heart, you in turn will be happy also.