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Ever since moving overseas I've seen some extreme cases of poverty and human suffering, especially with the tsunami in Sri Lanka. It makes one realize how lucky we truly are and I definitely appreciate what I have more than ever.

The main lesson that our relief work with tsunami refugees taught me was that an incredible amount of good can be done by one person or smaller organizations.

There have been some websites and organizations that have started up lately that make it really easy and in some cases free to donate money.

Sites such as freerice or thehungersite donate money every time you click on them. They get the money from businesses who advertise on their site. In freerice's case, you have to answer a vocabulary question and if you get it right, you donate 20 grains of rice.

Then there are sites such as kiva and Heifer International where you can loan (kiva) or give (Heifer) money. With kiva, you can loan money to people in developing nations who will use the money to make business improvements and then pay you back. You become the banker. Heifer International will take your money and buy people animals that provide food and extra income ($20 will buy someone a flock of ducks). The recipients must take offspring and give them to someone else nearby so your gift keeps on giving.

I know this year, Dana and I are getting each kiva gift certficates to each other so we can help someone out. We're also buying our niece and nephews these gift certificates for Christmas. That way they can experience the joy of helping someone else out.

There are more sites and I've posted them on a new website. It's got all of the links and some ideas for educators. I've also started a message board where people can post ideas or other websites that are charity related. Teachers can also post messages on the boards and connect with other teachers around the world or challenge other classes around the world in freerice, for example. I know I'm starting a freerice challenge at school soon.

Anyway, I hope you check the site out and more importantly check out some of the donation sites. If you do, let me know what you think of it or post that on the message boards. If you want to challenge one of my classes with freerice, let me know. I'd also love to hear if you are going to join kiva or Heifer, for example.

And pass on the link to your friends if you think they'll like it, especially if they're teachers.

Anyway, I'm addicted to freerice and am going to get back to it.

Please check out the site and click away!
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