Giving of a different nature for the holiday season

“We have so much… stuff.  None of us really need any more of it this year.  And yet all of the world there  are people that don’t have enough.  Wouldn’t it be better if we got someone a goat than giving each other more stuff?”    

      – my mother, 4 years ago

That was the beginning of changing our Dague family Christmas traditions.  We don’t do gifts to each other any more, but instead give something to some cause that each of us cares about.  It takes a major stress point out of the holidays, leaving only what is important behind: spending quality time with people you love.

This year my contributions are coming in two forms, and as time is running out on one, it seemed a good idea to post soon.

One Laptop Per Child

The One Laptop Per Child project has been nothing if not ambitious.  The idea is to develop a portable computer specifically designed for developing countries, and distribute millions of them to children in these countries.  It has wireless, mesh networking, and a set of base applications that let you do email, web browsing, instant messaging, simple programing, and a whole host of specific educational software to boot. 

From now until November 26 you can Give One Get One, where you purchase 2 laptops, you get one sent to you, and one goes to a child in one of the participating countries.  I purchased mine the other day.  It runs all Linux and open source software, so I’m pretty excited to get mine, and that some possibly budding geek in another part of the world is going to get one because of me.

I’m also looking forward to ways in which I may be able to contribute to the software environment on the XO pc.  With any luck it will even get here prior to my trip to India, as it would be interesting to bring along on that adventure.

Kiva

Kiva is a microfinance organization, which lends small scale loans (usually a couple hundred US dollars) to individuals through out the developing world.  When you participate in kiva you transfer money into their system, then you decide which loans you would like to support.  Once the loan is repayed, you get your money back.  You can reloan it to other individuals, or withdraw it from the system.  It isn’t a gift, per say, but it does enable individuals to bootstrap themselves.

Chris has been active with Kiva for a while, selling Kiva products to help raise money for the core organization.  I need to thank him for making me aware of the organization, and micro lending in general.

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