Tag Archives: Non-Profit

Hello Guyana, Goodbye Canada (soon!)

26 Jan

Okay, so I haven’t updated this blog in awhile; and it’s not because I haven’t had spectacular things happen to me. It’s because I’m a bit busy and lazy. So here’s a quick recap:

  1. In the dead of winter (Feb 2011), I changed jobs. It was an exciting and much needed change and I met some great people and learned a lot because of it (I am no longer at this position).
  2. In the summer, I travelled to London for an amazing Indian wedding with people I’d consider family. I went to Paris to explore and hang out with a girl-friend. I fell in love with Copenhagen and their bike lanes while visiting a family-friend studying there.
  3. In the fall, I got to help plan and execute the TEDxToronto After Party. I met some inspiring artists and performers and had a lot of fun doing it.
  4. Around the end of 2011, I got together with two brilliant girl-friends and launched helloberry bracelets. Through the stresses of brainstorming, set-up, long meetings, and many late nights, we always had fun. I never thought I could do anything entrepreneurial, but I can’t say that any more. We’ve been well-received and our fans are fan-tastic! (see what I did there?)

And now….

I am moving to Guyana.

I will be there starting on February 9, 2012 for a one year placement in Shulinab, Guyana (located about 1-2 hours south of Lethem in the Interior) as a Women’s Enterprise Development Advisor. I applied to Cuso International and was selected by them along with VSO Guyana to work with the South Central People Development Association (SCPDA) .

I will be dedicated to working with and among various communities in the Rupununi region to assist with finance, accounting, and a bit of marketing and product development. I will mostly be working with Amerindian women who have enterprises in agriculture and craft-making. Although it seems that I will be teaching them business skills, I know I will learn lots from them as well.

A big question is


The simple answer: Why not?
The detailed explanation: I’ve always been an advocate of volunteering. I’ve always wanted to work for a non-profit organization; volunteering with one is the first step to working for one.
Many of you know that I love to travel. My travel has always been short-term because of time constraints. Now that I have the opportunity and freedom to do something long-term, I don’t want to just walk about the earth and see things. I want to do things – meaningful things.
And that’s why I’m doing this.

Now to answer the “Where exactly…?” questions, here’s a map to help you visualize where I’ll be located (click to enlarge):

By clicking that map I bet some of you just learned that Guyana isn’t an island (although it’s associated with the West Indies which include island nations), and that it’s situated in South America, above Brazil and to the east of Venezuela.

Guyana was colonized by the Brits (so they speak English). To the east, there is Suriname (colonized by the Dutch) and French Guiana (colonized by the French). These three countries are the only ones in South America that don’t speak either Spanish or Portuguese as first languages.

Okay, that’s enough geography and history for now.

Here’s where I ask you to support me and Cuso International.
Cuso International sends volunteers abroad to work on collaborative development projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. They are one of North America’s largest international development non-profits that works through volunteers like me.

Here’s the great thing about donating – every dollar you donate is multiplied by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help fund Cuso International’s efforts to support global development, environmental sustainability and social justice.


Donate now!

Thank you in advance for your donations; without your generosity, Cuso International wouldn’t be able to send volunteers overseas to pass on their knowledge and expertise.

WATER – a privilege which should be a RIGHT

15 Oct

Clean water is a privilege.

We often forget this because most of us living in the “western world” are so lucky.
I’ll bet that 99.99% of the people reading this (with maybe a .01% margin of error) have access to clean, safe water right now.

But what about those who don’t have clean, safe water – or water at all?
How many miles did you walk to get that glass of water?
How much time did you sacrifice to buy a bottle of it?
Do you monitor your water consumption when you shower or wash your hands?
Do you ever have to think about whether your water is disease-infested?

Clean water is a privilege. But it should be a RIGHT.

So what can you do?

  • Educate yourself on water issues around the world – start by visiting Water.org and Charity: Water
  • Donate or make purchases which give a portion of profits to water charities
  • Sign a petition to bring clean, safe water to millions
  • Write a post about Water for Blog Action Day today!
  • Read some Blog Action Day posts – some suggestions:
      Sabrina Scott: It’s #BlogActionDay – Let’s talk about Water
      Justine Abigail: Chasing water(falls)
  • Tweet about Blog Action Day by using the hashtags #BAD2010 and #Water
  • “There will never be enough charity to bring safe water to everyone”, but there are sustainable solutions.

    Find out more at Water.org

    Want to help AND get something nice for yourself?

    There’s a way: Help build 3 new wells in Ethiopia!…and get a pair of seriously comfortable TOMS shoes while you’re at it.

    TOMS teams up with Charity: Water.


    13 Apr

    Got some extra cash? Want to empower people through financing?

    Be a loaner!

    Kiva - loans that change lives

    So I just made my first Kiva loans.
    I figure…if I can afford to eat out as much as I do, and spend unnecessary (and sometimes copious) amounts on entertainment, drinks, and travel…I can afford to lend money to someone who needs it more than I do.

    Enter Kiva.

    I just lent money to 3 individual entrepreneurs from 3 different countries.
    One sells books and comics in Ecuador.
    One raises guinea pigs in Peru.
    One farms bananas in the Philippines.

    My Kiva Lendees

    Over time, they will repay their loans.
    I will then receive my initial investment back.
    Then I will re-lend it to other entrepreneurs who need funding.

    You may have some questions on how this whole operation works.
    I can’t explain it like kiva.org can, so I’ve pulled some information from their website with links below.

    I hope you’ll join the loaner movement.
    [if you already aren't a part of it :)]


    What is Kiva?

    Kiva’s mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty.
    Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.

    Learn more

    How Kiva Works:

      1) Field partners approve and disperse a microloan to an entrepreneur in their community
      2) The entrepreneur’s profile and story is uploaded onto kiva.org
      3) Lenders (potentially you) browse through kiva.org and choose someone to lend to using paypal or a credit card
      4) Kiva provides the loan to the field partners
      5) The entrepreneur repays their loan over time
      6) Lenders get their money back and can re-lend to another entrepreneur, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds to their PayPal accounts

    Learn more

    Solidarity – T-shirts by Paulo Coelho

    24 Dec

    Starting October 8, 2009, MANGO released a second edition of Paulo Coelho’s solidarity T-shirts in 90 countries.

    Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian novelist most known for his book The Alchemist, and in September 2007, he was named a Messenger of Peace to the United Nations.

    Although the shirts were out in October, I was late to purchase them since I like to wait until I have list of things to buy before hitting the mall. I’m not the kind of person to shop for a couple of shirts one day and go back the next weekend to pick up a pair of jeans….I’ve left my mall-rat days behind!

    Well, I finally braved the mall (during the Christmas shopping season, which probably isn’t the best idea I’ve had) and found what I was looking for.


    Everyone has a treasure that is waiting just for them.

    (the picture says ‘him’, but the shirts say ‘them’)

    We are responsible for everything that happens in this world.

    The Good Fight is the one that we fight in the name of our dreams.

    Love is the key to understanding all mysteries.

    What is the real “I”? It’s what you are, not what others make of you.

    When you want something, the whole Universe conspires to help you realize your desire.


    Coelho’s messages are uplifting and inspiring, and I am a believer in the words printed on these t-shirts (even if they are hard to believe during difficult times).

    Another great thing about these shirts? Coelho’s t-shirt revenues (close to 40% of the retail price), will go to the Paulo Coelho Institute, which takes care of 430 children in Rio de Janeiro, among other projects. The Institute is a non-profit-making institution financed exclusively by the author’s royalties.

    I’m a sucker for inspirational messages and companies/products that give a portion of revenues to non-profit causes. But I don’t think that it’s a bad thing. :)

    Paulo Coelho’s blog entry on his MANGO shirts
    MANGO’s blog entry on their Paulo Coelho shirts
    Follow Paulo Coelho on Twitter