Present Aid 2011 gift guide
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Date: 18 November, 2011



Instead of buying (and getting) more stuff, why not think about Christian Aid’s gift scheme, Present Aid?'


Suzanne Elvidge recommends gifts from this year' s Presentaid catalogue, Christian Aid's charity gifts website

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Christmas is coming, and the shops are filling up with gifts (well, they have been since September).

There are gifts out there for all shapes and sizes, all ages and all tastes, but how many of them will still be in use in February 2012, and how many will be tucked away in a cupboard or drawer?

Instead of buying (and getting) more stuff, why not think about Christian Aid’s gift scheme, Present Aid?

Gifts start from just £7, and can be ordered online.

You get the satisfaction that people somewhere in the world are getting a present that makes a real difference to their lives and their families, and your recipients get a card explaining what you have bought, so they know that you are thinking of them.

So, whatever you give this Christmas, give joy!

Ten gifts under £20

  1. Beehive – £12 – something for a gardener. Bees make honey that provides nutrition, and can be sold to make an income, and the insects will fertilise crops.
  2. First aid kit – £18 – for the budding doctor or nurse. In an emergency or disaster, small injuries are inevitable, and without first aid treatment, small injuries can get worse.
  3. Business training for three women – £13.50 – for the businesswoman in your life. Training women in Mali in livestock rearing, market gardening, financial management and marketing of crops gives them security for the future.
  4. Wormery – £7 – a gift for a master composter – always my favourite Present Aid gift. Wormeries mean compost, which means better crops, which means better-fed families and surplus to be sold at market. What’s not to like!
  5. Twenty fruit trees – £16 – for the cider maker. Fruit trees mean that farmers in Nicaragua can diversify from just growing coffee.
  6. Kitchen set for a displaced family – £19 – a gift for a chef. Families that lost their homes in the Pakistan floods were able to survive with kits of kitchen essentials.
  7. Emergency hygiene kit – £8 – for the camping enthusiast. Keeping clean helps families in displaced persons camps to avoid infectious disease.
  8. Watering can – £10 – for someone who is green fingered. Farmers in Mali have to fetch water to tend their crops, and a watering can makes the job easier and quicker.
  9. Five mosquito nets – £15 – for the insect phobic! Something as simple as a mosquito net could prevent the one in five childhood deaths in Zambia that are due to malaria.
  10. Books, stationery and uniform for one schoolchild for a year – £9 – for the schoolchildren in your life. Sending a child in Pakistan to school, especially in a remote area, gives him or her the best possible start in life.

Ten gifts £20 to £50

  1. Three goats – £45 – for the animal lover. Goats... well, not to put too fine a point on it, goats make goat’s poo. Goat manure fertilises the fields and improves the crops. Goats also make goat’s milk to drink and baby goats to sell at market.
  2. Seeds and a hoe – £23 – for someone with a plot to look after. The civil war in Sudan has left people with very little, and seeds and a hoe will help them get back on their feet.
  3. Wheelbarrow – £33 – a gift for a farmer. Tools will help farmers in rural Ghana grow food to sell in local markets.
  4. Twenty-four ducks – £31 – for someone with a soft spot for ducklings. In southern Bangladesh, floods destroy crops, but a flock of ducks can provide duck eggs for food and income.
  5. Ten chicks – £27 – for someone with an even softer spot for chicks. Eggs provide extra food, and something to barter or sell.
  6. Water tank – £28 – for the DIY enthusiast. In Honduras, wastewater tanks can reduce the risk of malaria.
  7. A month's food for a family – £25 – for a family’s provider. A food basket for a Burmese refugee family in Thailand will keep a family together.
  8. Three hundred and twelve cocoa seedlings – £27 – a gift for a chocoholic. With coffee harvests declining in Nicaragua, cocoa gives farmers an alternative.
  9. Smoke-free stove – £25 – for the barbecue king. Smoke-free stoves protect women and children from inhaled smoke and reduce the amount of firewood needed.
  10. Two chickens – £21 – a gift for a frustrated farmer. For women with health and mobility issues, keeping chickens can give them independence by providing an income.

Ten gifts £50 to £160

  1. School desk for two children – £60 – a present for your teacher. Give children in Sudan the chance to go back to school after being refugees or child soldiers.
  2. Kitchen garden – £65 – something for your favourite gardener. A kitchen garden allows women in Afghanistan to have the chance to grow food for their families.
  3. Sturdy 'winterised' tent – £71 – for a camping enthusiast. A winterised tent will provide a home for people displaced after floods or other natural disasters, even in the chill of Northern Pakistan.
  4. A teacher's salary for two months – £86 – a gift for a student teacher. Supporting a teacher will help children in remote areas of Bangladesh get access to a local teacher who speaks their language.
  5. A sheep – £63 – for the Shaun the Sheep fan. Flocks of wool-less sheep will help to support Amazon rainforest families who can no longer hunt.
  6. Ball pool for a nursery – £115 – for someone who runs a toddler group. Nurseries in earthquake-hot Peru provide a safe place for children to play, learn, make music and eat.
  7. Butterfly business – £113 – for a budding naturalist. Breeding butterflies for release in nature parks can provide a stable income for people in the Philippines where ordinary crops are at risk from typhoons.
  8. Bicycle – £63 – a present for a triathlete. In Kenya, a bicycle will allow someone to get to work, or a health volunteer get to HIV patients.
  9. Donkey cart – £155 – for the car enthusiast. Donkey carts help Ghanaian farmers get their produce to local markets.
  10. Two buffaloes – £160 – a gift for an animal lover. Buffaloes can help landless single mothers and widows in India to support themselves and their children.

Five gifts over £160

  1. Adult literacy centre – £543 – a present for someone who loves writing. Give people in Sierra Leone the gift of words – teaching people to read gives them confidence and empowers them in a turbulent country.
  2. House for a family – £1310 – for the first-time buyer. The earthquake in Haiti left people homeless – building them a new house helps them to start again.
  3. Village well – £427 – a gift for a farmer. In Kenya, where the rains are poor, a well could help farmers (and their crops) to survive.
  4. Cash grant for a small business – £181 – something for a self-employed person. After the floods in Pakistan, a cash grant could help a family to start or re-establish a business.
  5. Sanitation training – £1718 – a present for your favourite health and safety officer. Provide four days' training for 188 displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, getting clean water to the whole community.
  6. Bamboo and eucalyptus shelter – £230 – for a traveller. Provide a shelter for Burmese refugees in Thailand, fleeing conflict and political problems in Burma.
  7. Brick-built house – £912 – a present for a builder. A simple brick-built house gives someone in Pakistan a shelter against the elements and a fresh start after the floods.
  8. One classroom – £4820 – something for your head teacher. Give a classroom, with kitchens, toilets, desks, books and teachers, for people in South Sudan.
  9. Materials for a school – £731 – a gift for the deputy head. Equip the classroom in South Sudan with chalks, pens and exercise books.
  10. Teacher training course – £596 – and finally, a gift for a newly-qualified teacher. Train a student teacher in South Sudan to educate other young people.

Suzanne Elvidge is a freelance writer and Surefish Ethical Living Editor



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