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Four gifts to brighten lives this Christmas
Every year, thousands of us spread a little festive cheer by buying Concern Christmas Gifts for our nearest and dearest.
As well as putting a smile on the faces of our loved ones, these perfect presents also help bring brighter futures to thousands of vulnerable families around the world by providing health, livelihoods and education…and more.
1. A bicycle: a life-saver in emergencies
A bike is one Concern gift that’s a ‘wheelie’ good addition to any vulnerable household, making it quicker and easier to get to work and to market, so families don’t have to put the ’brakes’ on their income.
48-year-old mum-of-five Jennifer Maganizo was able to buy a second-hand bike after receiving a cash grant from Concern, as part of our resilience programme in Nsanje, Malawi.
She uses her bicycle to transport vegetables harvested from her home garden to sell at the local market. From the profits, she has been able to buy iron sheets to repair the leaky roof of her house, so that she and her children can sleep safe and secure at night.
As well as routine journeys from home to market, Jennifer’s bicycle is also a life-saver in emergencies. She told us that when one of her children falls sick, she uses her bike to help ferry them to hospital 10 miles away.
The journey across rugged terrain takes up to nine hours on foot, which isn’t unusual in parts of rural Malawi. But with a bicycle, the journey has been slashed to just a quarter of the time and they can arrive within two hours.
I am so very thankful and so much appreciate those people who are helping me. This is coming from deep down in my heart.
Buy a bicycle gift for £22
2. A goat: a steady income for struggling families
A goat isn’t just for Christmas, because this gift makes a lifelong impact on vulnerable families. That’s something that’s hard to ‘bleat’.
Living in a refugee camp in Gambella, Ethiopia was incredibly difficult for 35-year-old Nyabiel Nyang. Like many of the almost 400,000 South Sudanese refugees who live in seven camps in the region, Nyabiel struggled to find reliable work and enough food for her and her children.
But with the arrival of three goats, her situation began to improve. As part of Concern’s livelihoods programme, Nyabiel received training on how to build and grow a kitchen garden, and seeds and tools to get her started. She was also given advice on how to care for her livestock.
The addition of manure from the goats provided the extra boost needed for her vegetable garden to flourish with home-grown tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mangos and cabbages. The goat manure also helps to fertilise Nyabiel’s drought-resistant moringa tree, the leaves and seeds of which are a good source of protein and vitamins.
Today, Nyabiel harvests enough fruit and vegetables to feed the whole family ensuring they remain healthy and nourished. And what they don’t use, they can sell at the local market. Some of the income from this also enables Nyabiel to send her four-year-old son Chiny and his siblings to school.
And it doesn’t end there. Nyabiel can breed kids to be sold at market to help more families. While nourishing goat’s milk will help supply Chiny and his family with vital protein. That really isn’t ‘baaa-d’ at all.
Buy a goat gift for £35
3. Scholarships: helping girls fulfil their dreams
Supporting girls to stay in school and finish their education should be ‘elementary’ enough. But in many countries around the world, it’s not that straightforward - girls don’t get the same opportunities as boys and often face pressure to leave school and marry young.
16-year-old Bati from Nairobi, Kenya has seen her future options completely transformed thanks to a regular cash grant from Concern. It has enabled her to study at Kalacha Girls Secondary School, and also pay for her books, uniform and food.
Staying in school for an extra two years is crucial for young women like Bati. It increases their ability to earn a sustainable income in the future and helps them avoid early marriage.
In our community, normally girls are discriminated against. Girls who are not in school can face early marriage. If I were married, I could not get an education. You work as a housewife, you don’t have any rights to say something.
Bati, whose favourite subjects are English and Biology, plans to become a nurse after completing her studies and further training – and she’s well on her way to fulfilling her dream.
“Thank you for the support,” she said. “Without your help, I could not extend my education.”
Buy a ‘Keep a Girl in School’ gift for £55
4. Apprenticeships: providing skills to succeed
Learning a valuable vocational skill has enabled 33-year-old Suheend from Tharparkar, Pakistan to ‘tailor’ her future to suit her, with her own sewing business.
Suheend received training in tailoring as well as a sewing machine to get her started, as part of Concern’s livelihoods programme for small scale entrepreneurs.
She now earns a steady income from her business making and mending clothes for her local community and is able to support her family.
Many women living in marginalised communities in Pakistan face a daily struggle to survive. With little or no formal education, they have few opportunities to earn a sustainable income.
But an apprenticeship can give women such as Suheend the skills they need to succeed. The combination of learning a practical trade and regular coaching enables them to work their own way out of poverty, take control of their lives and achieve their potential.
This gift is ‘sew’ special, it covers a six-month apprenticeship so another student like Suheend can learn a trade and earn an income.
Buy an apprenticeship gift for £196
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