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A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

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Discussion > Know any good charities?

I'm finding it surprisingly difficult to locate a foreign development charity that doesn't take a advocacy position on climate change (or any other form of political posturing for that matter). Anyone here got any suggestions?

Jul 13, 2011 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

During my time in Rotary I did my best to avoid channelling any of the Club's money through the "recognised" NGOs for the reason you give. For the same reason I have by-passed many of the 'faith-based' charities such as CAFOD.
My favourites were -- and still are --
WaterAid ( and Mary's Meals ( I've included their websites so you can look at them for yourself. I can't promise that they never mention climate change but I know that both are "boots on the ground" organisations who basically 'do what it says on the tin'.
It's also worth having a look at some of your local church charities. I know there are a few in the Edinburgh area (for example) that are run by local people and have direct connections with their recipients. I assume that other areas of the UK will be pretty much the same in this respect.

Jul 14, 2011 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson


I'm very grateful for your suggestions, thank you.

Jul 16, 2011 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

I'd second Water Aid, very preactical, run by people from the water industry who know the ins and outs of the issues and as Mike says, boots on the ground and hands on.

Jul 20, 2011 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

What about Red Cross?

Jul 21, 2011 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx


I cancelled my subscription to Water Aid when they party to an appallingly sycophantic newspaper advert headlined 'Dear Tony Blair and Gordon Brown - A Big Thank You' which was little more than a panegyric to the Labour Party and the Trade Unions.

Dec 7, 2011 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterStirling English

@ sHx

I keep getting unsolicited address labels and other things from the Red Cross. How much of the money that they raise is spent on that sort of thing, I wonder?

Dec 7, 2011 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

It takes a little research starting with the search facility on the Charity Commission's web site , but you will find there are many, many small development charities run entirely by volunteers who have zero interest in promoting CAGW and who take pride in ensuring that all money donated goes to the people it is supposed to benefit.

Dec 7, 2011 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharityBeginsByNotGivingToOxfam

For those who are in too much of a hurry to do the research, Street Kids Rescue is one fairly good example of a small development charity, run by a successful businessman, and they are even taking matched donations through The Big Give this week. There are many other small development charities if that one is not to your liking.

Dec 7, 2011 at 8:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharityBeginsByNotGivingToOxfam

The Fred Hollows Foundation. They restore sight to the blind, no bullshit, no preaching.

Dec 8, 2011 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Wilson

Yep, I'd second Peter Wilson's recommendation of Fred Hollows. Fred was a committed Socialist, but hey. He and his foundation have been responsible for incredible success in restoring sight to vision-impaired people. A huge amount of their work is in the Pacific Islands, our neighbours.

If you're interested in charities beyond 'foreign' development (do we in NZ qualify as foreign and in need of development?), I'd plead for the Multiple Sclerosis society in your country. It's close to my heart because so many people I know have been diagnosed.

Two charities I have got to know through working with the MS society, and both are brilliant, are:

and Riding for the Disabled:

Your money will do real good at any of those.

Dec 11, 2011 at 8:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

Riding for the Disabled do a rather saucy calendar ...

Dec 11, 2011 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Ding dong!

Dec 11, 2011 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

This small charity makes braille combined with normal print books for blind children and/or adults to share reading.
They only send out one mailshot a year so as not to waste donors' money.

Dec 11, 2011 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Another one abroad that seems useful is the East Bali Poverty project which is improving the lot of the very poor and malnourished Balinese villagers who live in the eastern highlands of the island. They were suffering from depleted impoverished soil constantly washing away in the rains and consequently their diet was extremely limited and transport was very difficult. A scheme to stabilise the land with a long rooted plant called vetiver has allowed them to build a school, plant vegetable gardens, and get a better road to the village. The schoolchildren and the first villagers who were helped are now teaching others the techniques.

Dec 11, 2011 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Mercy Ships

As I said before, almost any organisation where Rotary — either at national level or your local club — is working with Rotary clubs in the area concerned will be using all the money (bar inevitable costs like transport, etc) where it was intended for.
I can't promise that no-one will mention global warming; Rotary wouldn't make that sort of judgment about who it supports though you could find individual clubs might have fallen for the hype.
(Just thought I ought to mention that!)

Dec 11, 2011 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson