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Nesters goats

Mtuseni and his mom’s goats

I often tease Mtuseni about his mom’s small herd of goats. She asks him to look after them and sometimes they get loose and he has to chase them in the sprawling fields surrounding the settlement. “I hate those crazy goats!” he’ll say to me. I love getting under his skin about it.

But the goats are an important asset for the family. Nester doesn’t raise them for food; she sells them to friends to earn some extra money. When I asked if people buy them for meat — or maybe to make goat cheese, which I love — he said no. They’re used for traditional Zulu ritual sacrifices. So much for a nice tangy chevre with fig compote! Mtuseni definitely straddles many worlds and cultures in his life.

But goats do play an important role for many families in developing countries. They provide milk for children and can grow into a herd that produces nourishing protein or generates income. They may be feisty and “crazy,” but goats are a good thing to have — and a good gift to give.

In this holiday season when the TV blasts commercials with people crying, “I want this. I want that. Gimme, gimme, gimme!” — the International Rescue Commission website offers an alternative. For $50 you can buy a goat for a family living in poverty, and have a card sent to a friend or loved one showing that you gave this meaningful gift in their name.

Not into goats? The IRC site offers a range of gifts focused on addressing needs in health, education and other issues in various countries:

Cape Town+Christmas+ornament+craft+beads

Beaded ornaments from Cape Town Market

So this year, what do you buy for the man or woman who has everything? A Rescue Gift that can improve the life of a person or family who has very little. It’s a much better reflection of the holiday spirit — and karma will likely pay you back eventually.

Check out the IRC website for the full selection of gifts.

Happy Holidays!

BB


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Help make a difference in the world with your holiday shopping this year. Share the riches of the season beyond your inner circle.

Nonprofit Tech 2.0 Blog :: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits

November 27, 2012 is the first ever #GivingTuesday. Launched to inspire charitable giving and conscious consumerism throughout the giving season, the 11 nonprofit gift programs listed below are ideal holiday gifts for family members, friends and work colleagues who are committed to social good and would rather you donate and invest in a nonprofit than spend money on another candle, sweater, or bath gift set. 🙂

That said, if you prefer to wrap and present gifts this holiday season, please see a previous post entitled 22 Online Gift Stores That Benefit Nonprofits. However you choose to spend your money on holiday gifts, there are plenty of ways do it to benefit good causes and create change in communities that need it.

1. Defenders of Wildlife Adoptions
Wild animal adoptions are the perfect gift for holidays… for a friend or yourself. Your animal adoption helps save endangered species!

2. Heifer…

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