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End 2020 on a positive: give a gift for good this festive season

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24 November 2020: 2020 has been a year to forget, but ChildFund Australia is giving everyone a chance to make it one to remember for children in our neighbouring countries by giving a Gift for Good this festive season.

The 2020 Gifts for Good catalogue, which is out now, is the opportunity to make a present of everything from handwashing stations to school supplies to children and communities in countries such as Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.

ChildFund Australia CEO Margaret Sheehan said Australians were some of the most generous people in the world, particularly at Christmas.

Last year’s ChildFund Christmas survey found that 2 in every 5 Australians plan to give a donation as a gift to family, friends or colleagues during the festive season. This finding is supported by the World Giving Index, produced annually by the Charities Aid Foundation that, in 2018, ranked Australia 4th out of 146 countries in terms of its generosity.

“Our Gifts for Good Christmas Catalogue allows everyday Australians to buy scholarships, chicken farms, first aid kits, water filters, farm animals and warm jackets for vulnerable children and families in developing communities,” Ms Sheehan said.

“There is a huge range to choose from, and it can all be ordered online. Each gift comes with a card which can be given to your loved ones.

“2020 has bought such disruption and uncertainty for so many people around the world. We’d love Australians to help us ring in 2021 by giving a gift of joy that lasts forever.”

People can give a gift through ChildFund’s Gifts for Good catalogue at www.childfund.org.au/gifts-for-good. There is a huge range of gifts to choose from, and they can all be ordered online right up until Christmas Eve. Each gift comes with a card which can be given to your friends and family.

Great ethical gift ideas 

One mosquito net: $10

Every two minutes somewhere in the world, a child dies from malaria. Countless more suffer needlessly from this devastating — and preventable — disease. A simple mozzie net could save lives and is truly a gift that will keep on giving!

One school supplies set: $76

Help make 2021 a better one! Many children in South East Asia and the Pacific have not been back to school since learning was interrupted by COVID-19. Others just can’t afford basic school supplies like pens, pencils and notebooks. You can give one student the essential items they need for a successful year of learning, as well as a backpack to carry them in.

One handwashing station: $149

We know that this Christmas 40 per cent of the world’s population do not have access to soap and water at home. You can give the gift that will protect them from infectious diseases such as including cholera, hepatitis, diarrheal infections and COVID-19. You gift of a handwashing station could help keep children safe and encourage life-saving habits over a lifetime.

COVID-19 protection for 10 families: $800

At your (COVID safe) Christmas street party, or end-of-year work event, get together with friends and families in your street to provide COVID-19 protection kits for 10 families in our region. Your gift will help restock a health station with desperately needed medicines, medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessities to ensure that children and families have ready access to the care and resources they need to stay healthy.

While handwashing is one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of infectious disease, 40 per cent of the world’s population do not have access to soap and water at home.

On Global Handwashing Day (15 October) ChildFund Australia CEO Margaret Sheehan says the COVID-19 pandemic has been an important reminder of how a simple intervention can save lives.

“While we await the development of a safe vaccine, washing our hands with soap and water is one of the most important tools we have at our disposal to keep ourselves safe from COVID-19.

“In developing communities, handwashing can not only help protect children and families them COVID-19, but a range of potentially life-threatening diseases, including cholera, hepatitis and diarrheal infections.”

ChildFund works in partnership with local communities to overcome this challenge by constructing handwashing stations in schools, health clinics and villages.

Constructed with sinks, taps, and using water from nearby tanks, handwashing stations in rural schools not only help to stop the spread of illness among students, but are supported by health education programs that teach children how to integrate good hygiene practices into their daily routine.

Ms Sheehan said: “Most of us can simply turn on a tap and reach for the soap nearby to clean our hands multiple times throughout the day. When out and about, many of us have hand sanitiser readily available. These are things that, understandably, we take for granted.

“That is why on Global Handwashing Day, we are encouraging Australians to think about families who don’t have access to these conveniences and lend them a helping hand.

“Through our Gifts for Good catalogue, you can donate a handwashing station and give children and families the chance to better protect themselves from COVID-19 and other infectious disease.

Ms Sheehan added: “This year’s theme for Global Handwashing Day is ‘Hand Hygiene for All’. We know that COVID-19 is not over for anyone until it is over for everyone.

“Giving children around the globe the ability to clean their hands with soap and water is possibly one of the most important gifts we can give this year.”

Global Handwashing Day is held annually on 15 October and is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.