Last month, InterNations went completely MADD – and we are very happy about this. Don’t worry! You needn’t be concerned for our general sanity. MADD is short for our new “Make a Difference in December!” campaign. Just in time for the holiday season 2013, we initiated community involvement in 16 cities worldwide, from Bangalore to San Salvador.
At various InterNations Events around the globe, we raised funds and donations in kind on behalf of more than 15 non-profit organizations, often cooperating with our established Volunteer Program in the respective communities. All in all, we are proud to announce the following:
• According to our latest numbers, nearly 3,000 members got involved.
• Over €14,500 were donated to charity.
• We received about 300 items, especially toys and books, as Christmas gifts for children in need.
The lion’s share of the donations came from a very impressive campaign organized by the Beijing Activity Group in our Volunteer Program. They invited the members of our Local Community in the Chinese capital to donate goods for a charitable Christmas Bazaar, for example, at our InterNations Christmas Party at the Hotel Kempinski Beijing.
The gifted items were then sold over a period of more than six weeks, from mid-November till early January – thus earning literally thousands of euros for Beijing Stars and Rain, China’s first NGO dedicated to children with autism and their families. On behalf of these kids and their parents, we’d like to send a heart-felt xièxie (‘thank you’) to everyone who contributed to this effort!
Moreover, we also want to thank all the people in plenty of other communities who shared their time, money, or effort to make the holiday season a little brighter for others, particularly for impoverished and disadvantaged children, people with disabilities, and refugee families.
More “Make a Difference in December!” Events and Activities took place, for instance, in Bangalore, Beirut, Budapest, Cologne, Dallas, Heidelberg, Lusaka, Miami, Minneapolis, Panama City, Quito, and San Salvador.
In Munich, seat of the InterNations Office, our Activity Group came up with a prize raffle to benefit the residents of a local accommodation for refugees from warzones like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. The support for Santropol Roulant Montréal, a meals-on-wheels organization assisting the elderly, met with great approval from the NPO, and the Lima Community’s donation drive for the Peruvian Westfalia Orphanage even made the headlines in the English-language expat press.
Not only are we proudly looking back on our achievements; we are also planning ahead for 2014. There will probably be a bigger and even more successful repeat performance of “Make a Difference in December!” at the end of this year. However, let’s not forget that there are always other people in urgent need of aid and assistance – not only during the festive season, but each and every day.
If you’d like to offer your help and have a positive impact on society, here’s your chance to “give back” to your community. Read more about the InterNations Volunteer Program and see if there is a group in your city, where you can collect donations, come up with ideas for fundraising drives, go for a “hands-on” approach, or become a mentor for someone.
As British statesman Winston Churchill once famously said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
(Image credit: 1) Grace Yane 2) Vicky Bokengo 3) Penelope Wan)