#GivingTuesday – a global call to action

Giving Tuesday- Help good go viral

Over the last few days,  and with the growing popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’ve seen retailers offer consumers the opportunity to snap up bargains galore. Advertisements and the media have been telling us that it’s good to spend, spend, spend. But what if we took one day to demonstrate to the world how good it is to give? What if we took one day to help a cause we’re passionate about, make a new commitment to giving or volunteering, and raise awareness about the work of charities?

Giving Tuesday is a global movement to create an international day of giving. It’s a call to action for everyone who wants to give something back. First launched in the USA in 2012, this year is the first year that UK charities and businesses have joined to together to get involved.

Tomorrow – and this week – could you use your time, your money, or your voice to help a cause you really care about? Many people taking part in Giving Tuesday will be using social media to spread the word about what they’re doing to mark the day. On December 2nd 2013 there were 200,634 Tweets made using the #GivingTuesday hashtag – sharing everything from pictures of fundraising events to donations.

Here are some ideas to get you started if you’re thinking of taking part:

Give a Gift for Life. It’s simple – choose a gift from our catalogue that will directly benefit the life of someone affected by leprosy. We have a range of gifts to suit all pockets – from educational supplies to medicines to farming tools and seeds and even a house! All gifts are directly linked to the projects where they are needed the most, meaning that every penny you spend will benefit someone disadvantaged by leprosy.

Send a Christmas card to someone affected by leprosy. Help them know that they’re not alone this Christmas.

– Get involved with supporting our work through prayer: there are prayer points on our website or you can sign up online to become a prayer ambassador and receive updates by email

– Start collecting used stamps for us. Did you know that they can help transform the lives of people affected by leprosy?

– Get in touch with us and find out about our UK volunteering opportunities.

– Plan and hold a fundraising event to benefit our work. We have plenty of ideas to help you out!

– If you’ve chosen one of the above, think about taking an UNselfie! Instead of simply taking a picture of yourself and sharing it on social media, take a picture of yourself holding a sign that explains the cause you’re supporting and how you’re giving. It’s a great way to spread the word and encourage more people to join in

We hope you’ll join us in supporting this worldwide call to give something back this Tuesday.

‘A painting a day’ for The Leprosy Mission

Day1

An artist with a special link to The Leprosy Mission is dedicating this summer to raising money for us in a unique way.

The youngest daughter of Eddie Askew, the late General Secretary of The Leprosy Mission International, has certainly inherited her father’s artistic talent.  Jenny Hawke is a contemporary watercolour artist and made a pledge to paint a painting a day throughout the summer to be sold in aid of The Leprosy Mission.

Jenny, who spent much of her childhood living in India while parents Eddie and Barbara Askew served The Leprosy Mission, has challenged herself to spend an hour each day to painting something which has inspired her.  So far we have seen work depicting a day trip to London, helping out at a local food bank in Surrey and making apricot jam!

The paintings are six inch squared in size and are sold via Jenny’s Facebook page, but if you’re interested in purchasing one, you can also contact Jenny through her website.  A new painting is posted each day priced at £25, £20 of  which benefits our work.

Jenny, who lives in Surrey, says she is enjoying the challenge which she views as a “pictorial diary” of her summer and plans to continue the fundraising project until at least mid-September!

2a

Walkies – Stage 44

Exmouth – Sidmouth (13.1 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 520.8 miles / Distance to Poole– 103.9 miles

How many people can you squish into a beach hut?

Today, just 20 minutes after I started at the Exmouth Ferry, I was invited into a beach hut. In fact as I walked along the sea front I was greeted by 14 folk all crammed around the beach hut, drinking coffee and eating biscuits. They had come out this morning to greet me and wish me well as I travelled along my path. It was a glorious sight, and despite having hardly walked at all by that point, I enjoyed sharing a cuppa and a couple of chocolate biscuits. Toby also enjoyed the biscuits, but I hasten to add his were chocolate free!

One of the most frequently asked questions I get as I walk around is, ‘So where do you stay?’ I personally could not afford two months of B&B’s and there is no way that I think people who are giving money to sponsor me, should in fact be paying for my night’s sleep and a bowl of porridge in the morning! So I have mostly been staying with supporters of The Leprosy Mission or friends of supporters. Or my parents – having them living in Cornwall has been more than handy! But mostly it has been supporters. It is one way which folk, who may not have been able to join me on a walk, have been able to support me in a most invaluable way. I have met so many new people and I am most appreciative of these lovely folk opening their homes to me. Homes of all shapes and sizes, with perhaps the beach hut (yes I know I didn’t stay here overnight, but I was welcomed in just the same) being the smallest so far!

In fact the beach hut, with it’s lack of running water and electricity and it’s small and simple space, reminds me a lot of the homes that I was invited into during a trip to India about 18 months ago. These low cost houses were incredibly basic compared to our standard of house, and some of them were not much bigger than a beach hut either. But I, in spite of being a stranger and a foreigner who didn’t even speak the language, was welcomed in as though I was a long lost friend or relative. I was offered food, which was meant to feed a whole family, and I was offered friendship and love by people whose names I couldn’t pronounce. It was incredibly humbling, especially as I kept flashing back to my behaviour at welcoming guests.

I like people coming to visit and I welcome them gladly into my home. But I have been known to push the best biscuits to the back of the cupboard and get out only the ones which need eating up. I have found myself hiding some cake because if I share it out amongst my guests, there isn’t enough for me. I will sometimes give people the mugs I like least because I don’t want them using my special ones. How ridiculous is that? How stupid, irrational and selfish is that kind of behaviour? (no need to respond to those, as I already know the answer!)

The absolutely massive house in Fowey belonging to one Dawn French.....no welcome here 😦

I have been overwhelmed by the welcome and hospitality that has been offered and given to me as I travel around the South West Coast Path, just as I was overwhelmed by the welcome and hospitality offered to me in India. It has challenged me that it is not about how big or flashy your house is, and believe me I have seen some AMAZING houses so far, it is not about what food you prepare or in what tableware you serve it in, it is not about the softness of the bed or the water pressure of the shower. It is about the manner in which it is given. When we offer hospitality with love and generosity of spirit, then that is a good welcome. When we hold back and save a little bit of ourselves along with the things we don’t want to share, then that is no welcome at all.

So when I reach home and have slept long enough to have people to come and visit me, I hope that they will be overwhelmed by my attitude of welcome…..just as long as they use the right mugs!