Eliminating Violence Against Women: A Responsibility We All Share

“Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue.”

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, United Nations

Up to 7 in 10 women around the world will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, and in India, the threat of violence can begin even before a baby girl is born, with abortions of female foetuses leading to a gender imbalance across the country. In a further cruel twist of fate, one of the outcomes of this gender imbalance – that in some districts it is increasingly hard for men to find women to marry – has led to further violence and abuse of women and girls in the form of human trafficking.

As the BBC reports, bride trafficking has become prevalent, with girls bought from their families in other states while still young to be married to local men. The girls not only suffer numerous human rights violations such as being denied an education but they can also experience physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands, essentially leading the life of slaves, and they may also be ostracised by the community who see them as outsiders.

With the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women taking place earlier this week, the BBC’s report The Story of India’s Salve Brides, in which it presents a number of short videos documenting the stories of those involved – a trafficked bride, an activist, but also a trafficker as well – goes some way to raising awareness of this critically important issue.

At LetzChange we are proud to be associated with a number of NGOs listed on our platform that are addressing both the causes and the consequences of human trafficking, and many others promoting the welfare and rights of women. One such NGO, Prerana (Mumbai) runs a rehabilitation programme where girls rescued from human trafficking are helped to recover from their physical and psychological wounds. The girls are also assisted with the legal aid process and receive vocational training in simple skills so that once they leave the centre they are more able to be self-reliant.

As Secretary General of the UN Bank Ki-moon says, the starting point for ending violence against women and girls is to challenge the culture and discrimination that allows it to continue. However, for many unfortunate women and girls across the country, that opportunity has been and gone. There is therefore a growing need to support NGOs such as Prerana that are picking up the pieces for these girls, supporting them on their long and arduous journey towards rehabilitation and a brighter future.

If you would like to stand by these girls too, please visit LetzChange to find out more and make a donation here.

0% Fee, 100% Change!

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Did you know that when you make a donation online, typically around 9% of the amount you donate will be deducted in the form of various fees by the website and their payment processor partners?

If you feel that is as unsatisfactory as we do, you’ll be pleased to know that there is an alternative. LetzChange is the only online giving website that does not deduct a single rupee from your donation, ensuring 100% of what you donate goes where it should – to the NGO.

Why not make a change today by making a 0% fee, 100% change donation on LetzChange now. Click here to get started!

Celebrate Independence Day with ClickToCare!

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As India celebrates its 68th Independence Day on Friday, we remain mindful that for millions of people across the country, independence is a dream yet to be realised. In particular, many of our country’s women and girls remain marginalised, discriminated against and dependent for life – a process that starts in childhood where education in poorer families is seen as a luxury that can only be afforded for boys, if at all.

Beyond the obvious and most important issue of equality, there are of course many, many reasons why education for girls is vitally important – for individuals, families and for society as a whole. Not only is education a human right, but research shows that when a girl stays in school her risk of child marriage decreases and her risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth is significantly reduced as well (more benefits on this great infographic).

What’s more, women and girls spend 90% of their earned income on their family (versus 30-40% for men), and educating girls is also fundamental to a nation’s economic prosperity and development as well: when 10% more girls stay in school a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3%, while eliminating barriers to employment for women (education being perhaps the best way to do this) can result in a 25% increase in labour productivity (another great infographic!).

For all these reasons and more, this Independence Day, LetzChange launches a new campaign in partnership with Deepalaya with the aim of helping underprivileged girls from slum communities achieve independence through education.

From the 13-15 August, we’re cashing in your Facebook likes and shares and your Twitter retweets and mentions for donations towards Deepalaya’s project “Help to empower and educate a poor slum-girl.” All you have to do is #ClickToCare by liking, sharing and re-tweeting LetzChange Independence Day posts on social media, and we will donate to Deepalaya on your behalf – Simple Social Giving!

Click through to Facebook and Twitter now and let’s help bring independence to as many underprivileged girls as possible!

*Full instructions and terms & conditions can be found here.

A ‘Prerana’ For Everyone!

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To accomplish great things one must not only plan, but also believe that one person can make a difference by finding a purpose to serve.

Ms. Priti Patkar, co­founder, Prerana Anti­ Human Trafficking was presented with the prestigious Human Rights Award at the 13th Annual Global Leadership Awards in Washington DC, USA earlier this week on the 17th June.  A fantastic achievement by a great woman, who has selflessly devoted her life to the rescue, protection, and rehabilitation of human trafficking victims in India.

Aphotic, dirty and dangerous are few of the words that best describe human­ trafficking. At a time when young children should study, plan their career and above all else enjoy their childhood, they are forced to enter the world of commercial sex and other exploitative and abusive activities. Often summed up as a ‘compelled service’, human­ trafficking has become a global threat to vulnerable men, women and children. Violence and coercion are used to sexually exploit women and young girls and force individuals to work with little or no pay; this is what Prerana is trying to end. Volunteers at Prerana work with passion and hand grip the task of equitably distributing human rights to all human beings.

Ms. Priti Patkar’s dreamt of a world free of human trafficking and made small efforts to make a great difference. LetzChange have joined hands with Prerana to help them reach their goals, committing to match (double) all donations made for Prerana on letzchange.org.

The LetzChange team congratulates Ms Patkar for the fantastic accolade that she has been conferred with and feels proud to be associated with Prerana.

Please show your support for Ms Patkar, Pratham, and of course the vulnerable children they continue to protect by making a donation on LetzChange.

Click here to find out more or make a donation and change a life today.

The Bhumi Snowball Effect

Bhumi is one of the largest youth based non-profit organisations in India, with hundreds of volunteers education thousands of disadvantaged children from slums and orphanages across the country.

In this short video you can meet some of the happy children benefiting from Bhumi’s extensive education program, which includes computer literacy, English, and mathematics as well as providing plenty of much needed care, compassion and confidence-building – developmental necessities that have unfortunately been denied many of these children.

As Bhumi Co-Founder Dr. Prahalathan explains, “Bhumi believes that every under-privileged child deserves quality education. We have transformed this conviction into a volunteering opportunity for India’s youth, launching a snowball effect of talent nurturing talent on the path to an educated, poverty-free India.”

Right now on LetzChange as part of our Spotlight Giving donation match campaign, when you make a donation to Bhumi to support the education of a child in need, we will match it – doubling the impact of your donation at no extra cost!

To find out more and make a donation to this fantastic Indian NGO click here.

A Picture Worth 1000 Words: Send a Girl to School & End Child Marriage

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Today India celebrates National Day of the Girl Child – a day of celebration to increase awareness among people about all the inequalities faced by girls in our society.

Nowhere is gender inequality more apparent, nor perhaps more damaging, than in education where on average a girl in India can expect to receive just 4 years of education in her lifetime. As a consequence she has little hope for an independent future and is vulnerable to serious exploitation including child labour and early marriage. In fact, 68% of girls are married before the legal age in Rajasthan, and 15% before they even reach their 10th birthday.

These awful statistics are poignantly brought to life in the picture you can see above, which was drawn by Gauri – a 9 year-old girl from Pali in Rajasthan – who was asked to draw her thoughts on education as part of a drawing competition organised by the NGO Educate Girls.

On the left, she crayoned a boy and a girl walking around a sacred fire, the symbol of Hindu weddings. On the girls chest you can see a mangal sutra, which is the necklace worn by married women. Both children seem unhappy and even though they are holding hands, their faces look forlorn and helpless. On the right hand side of the paper, Gauri drew the same children but this time they are smiling happily, wearing school uniforms, and walking towards a building where the words ‘Rajasthan High School’ are written.

Fortunately, Gauri is one of the thousands of girls now benefiting from the life-changing work carried out by Educate Girls. The organisation reforms government schools through community ownership, leveraging existing resources, empowering rural communities and mobilising local youth volunteers as positive ambassadors for education. The result? In just five years Educate Girls have helped over 58,000 girls return to school or enrol for the first time, dramatically improving their prospects for the future, while at the same time reducing the immediate risks of early marriage and child labour.

Here at LetzChange we are proud to be working with this fantastic, high-impact NGO. That’s why as part of our recently launched Spotlight Campaign we are matching all donations made to Educate Girls. For example, if you donate Rs. 500, LetzDream will add another Rs. 500, doubling the impact of your donation!

For just Rs. 250 you can send an out of school girl child back to school. Why not celebrate National Day of the Girl Child today by making a donation to Educate Girls on LetzChange?

Click here to donate and change a life now!

Double The Impact Of Your Donation!

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Introducing Spotlight Giving – a new initiative from LetzChange helping you make an even bigger impact with your charitable donations – at no extra cost!

For a limited time only LetzChange will shine the ‘spotlight’ on three high-impact Indian NGOs to celebrate their inspiring work and help them reach their fundraising goals. Every time you make a donation to one of these Spotlight NGOs our sister organisation LetzDream Foundation will match it – doubling the impact of your donation!

With a focus on improving the education and employment opportunities of India’s underprivileged children and youth, the first three Spotlight NGOs and their primary projects are:

– Educate Girls: Send an out-of-school girl child back to school

– SGBS Trust (Unnati): Help capable underprivileged youths find employment

– Bhumi: Sponsor the education of a child in need

All you have to do is select a project from the above NGOs that you would like to support, make your donation online using the LetzChange simple, secure and trusted online payment process and your donation will instantly be matched by LetzDream foundation. Simple!

Keep an eye on LetzChange.org and the LetzChange Facebook page over the coming weeks for much more on our donation match campaign including inspiring stories of change, video tours of the Spotlight NGOs, Q&A sessions with their founders, and much more!

Why not make a donation to a Spotlight NGO today and see how we can change India for the better, together.

Celebrating International Day Of The Girl Child

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On the 19th of December 2011, the United Nations declared the 11th of October each year to be International Day of the Girl Child. A day dedicated to recognising girls’ rights and the challenges they face every day around the world.

The theme of the 2013 commemoration according to the UN, “Innovating for Girls’ Education”, has been chosen to draw attention to the obligation and moral imperative to fulfil a girls’ right to education. Reports show that although progress has been made to encourage and ensure girls are receiving education, there is still a significant number who are being deprived of this basic right, particularly in India where discrimination against girls and women remains a deeply disturbing reality.

So, we ask the question, ‘Is it more important for a girl to reach her full potential? Or be pushed into an early marriage, stunting her emotional and mental growth?’

Babatunde Osotimehin, M.D, Executive Director, UNFPA, has said: “A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled. Since many parents and communities also want the very best for their daughters, we must work together and end child marriage.”

We feel that education is perhaps the best way for these marginalised girls to prosper in their future. Indeed, research shows that girls who stay in education for seven years or more marry 4 years later and have 2 fewer children.

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It’s for this reason that you’ll find so many projects on LetzChange dedicated to educating the Girl Child. From giving the gift of education to a disadvantaged girl to sponsoring a tribal girl to enter mainstream education, there are many ways for you to make a stand and get involved to help improve the lives of individuals, families and society as a whole. As the research complied by USAID in this infographic shows, “A woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community”.

This International Day of the Girl Child, why not take a look through the numerous NGO projects on LetzChange dedicated to educating girls and let’s see if together we can provoke a seismic cultural change towards this serious subject.

LetzChange – Simple Social Giving

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Welcome to the LetzChange Blog!

In this first post we would like to take the opportunity to tell you a little bit about LetzChange and what you can expect to find on the LetzChange blog over the coming weeks and months.

Put simply, LetzChange is the place to discover and donate to legitimate Indian NGO projects. We are a non profit organisation working with around 100 NGOs operating in India across a broad range of causes including education, disability, women and girls, and hunger amongst many others. On the LetzChange blog you can expect to discover more about many of these Indian charities, the inspiring work they do and how, with your help, they can improve the lives of India’s most disadvantaged people.

We’ll also be keeping a close eye on current affairs in India, particularly those affecting the marginalised and disadvantaged people in the country, as well as looking at the many positive stories of change and hope emerging from India as well.

We hope you will enjoy exploring LetzChange. We have created it to be a socially rewarding experience, empowering you to discover and donate to the Indian NGO projects and causes you believe in. You can even use the LetzChange social tools to help introduce your friends to the world of Simple Social Giving too.