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Support projects, petitions and campaigns

March 11th, 2019
type:Crowd Funding, Donation, NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Despite some improvements occurring in LGBTQ visibility and rights around the world, being LGBTQ is still legallly criminalized in over 70 countries. In 8 of those countries, being LGBTQ or engaging in same-sex sexual activity is punishable by death.

From murderous purges in Chechnya to executions in Saudi Arabia and violent attacks and torture in Africa and the Caribbean- queer people’s lives are still at risk in large swaths of the planet.   

Modeled after the monumental Underground Railroad, the Rainbow Railroad (RR) is a nonprofit organization working tirelessly to help LGBTQ people escape persecution in their home countries and bring them to safety in North America and Europe.

Relying on a global network of volunteers and private donations, RR provide support, guidance, and information to LGBTQ people who are in hiding and wish to escape their home country, supply financial means for travel to safety in the West, and assist them through the assimilation and asylum process in their host countries.

At any given moment, the organization works on an average of 30-50 cases of LGBTQ people seeking to flee danger in their countries of origin. Under the current climate, the numbers steadily rise.

Visit their website to learn about their work and get involved.

You may donate and help cover the cost of securing an LGBTQ person’s path to freedom (which averages at roughly $10,000), host a fundraising event, partake in sponsoring cases of newly arrived LGBTQ refugees in Canada, or volunteer with RR.

Image credit: Rainbow Railroad website.
March 08th, 2019
type:Donation, NGO, Protest, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Across the world, far-right elements have penetrated the socio-political discourse— garnering rising support of local populations by touting xenophobic sentiments and a rhetoric of “us” vs. “them”. They inspire hatred and suspicion by capitalizing on people’s most primal fears, prejudices, and insecurities— both financial and cultural.

As a result, oppression of racial minorities, immigrants, refugees, and women has exacerbated dramatically.

The Coalition Berlin is a Berlin-based NGO committed to dispelling racist and hateful sentiments and inspiring tolerance and social-equality.

They do so through a series of events, community actions, and rallies across the German capital.

“We will speak up against injustice and oppression wherever it occurs. We do not accept a world in which hate is used as a weapon and diversity seen as a threat.” the Coalition members declare in their manifesto.

Visit their website to learn more about their mission, event calendar, and ways in which you can get involved.
March 07th, 2019
type:Donation, NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Grassroots International is an non profit organization working to forge connections between U.S. based groups and communities across the globe in order to help them tackle issues such as poverty and climate change-related disasters.

The organization places its focus on vulnerable communities in locations that range from Brazil to Asia, who deal with various socio-economic hardships and human rights violations and puts them in touch with American organizations and volunteers who can help them advance their causes.

Grassroots international organize rallies, fundraising campaigns, advocacy efforts, and operates a team of volunteers who together help to empower communities around the world in their fight for their right to land, water, and food as well as for climate justice.

Whether you’re interested in supporting indigenous people in Brazil whose lands are confiscated by the government, Guatemalan communities ravaged by mining projects, or feminist groups galvanizing support prior to Women’s Day, Grassroots International can put you in touch with local groups and situate you at the heart of the activism effort.  

Visit their website to learn how you can help spread their message and get involved.

Image credit: Grassroots International website.
March 05th, 2019
by:Yair Oded

The disastrous effects of the oil industry on our planet are acutely visible.

As stated by the IPCC in their 2018 report, the international community has to drastically reduce emissions by 2030 in order to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. This means divesting from oil and embracing new energy production technology.

Emboldened by a series of court victories against oil giants and successful climate initiatives launched by communities, civilians, nonprofits, and governments from across the globe— Greenpeace seek to step up the game and ensure that oil becomes a feature of the past.

Support Greenpeace by signing their People vs. Oil petition calling on global leaders to ban all new oil development and extraction, phase out production and sales of oil-operated vehicles, and transition to “people-centered, renewable energy and transport systems.”

You may also help by spreading the news and circulating the petition in your networks and social media platforms.

Time is of the essence. Every vote counts.

Let’s end oil. For good.

Image credit: Greenpeace website.
March 04th, 2019
type:Donation, NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Treatment of immigrants in the United States (both documented and undocumented) is worsening rapidly. What was already a harsh reality for immigrants in previous years, has devolved under the current administration to an absolute nightmare— as the government issues more and more decrees that complicate the immigration and asylum process and render them increasingly treacherous and inaccessible.

Meanwhile, across the country, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has morphed into nothing short of an anti-immigrant army— employing inhumane tactics to intimidate immigrants and arrest them in their homes, jobs, in the streets, and even at courthouses while their non-immigration related cases are being deliberated.

The Immigrant Defense Project is a nonprofit organization working to protect immigrants (both documented and undocumented) across the United States. Among their many projects and campaigns, the organization provides tools and information for immigrants who are at risk of deportations and inform them of their rights.

They also launched an interactive map called ICE Watch, which tracks the location, time, and story of ICE raids committed in the northeast, and provide detailed information about recent tactics they employ to apprehend immigrants.

The organization lobbies with government and legislative authorities on behalf of immigrants in order to cease arrests at courthouses and halt deportations of immigrants who commit petty crimes, and adopt more substantial laws protecting them from abuse and arbitrary imprisonment and deportation by the immigration authorities.

They also provide training to litigators and volunteers dealing with immigration and immigrant detention cases.

Please visit their website to further acquaint yourself with the reality of immigrants in the U.S., learn about your rights as an immigrant, and figure out how you can help defend them as a lawyer or volunteer.

Image credit: AP file photo through
March 01st, 2019
type:Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

Stability has yet to reach the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country which has known incessant bloodshed, conflict, corruption, and poverty since the 1970’s. After 18 years in power, DRC’s leader, Joseph Kabila, has announced an election in which he ultimately lost to to Felix Tshisekedi, who took power in January 2019. Many argue, however, that Tshisekedi’s victory resulted from fraudulent elections, as his opponent, Martin Fayulu, was projected to win by a landslide. The growing assumption is that Tshisekedi had made a deal with Kabila, allowing him and the elite to remain involved in the country’s affairs.

Furthermore, while DRC’s government and financial elite have looted the country’s natural resources (through the support of greedy Western governments and corporations), the local population has been thrown into a growing humanitarian crisis- as poverty and disease ravage Congolese people across the country. Freedom of speech and dissent have been utterly stifled by the regime, and killings, abuse, and intimidation of journalists and political activists has been rife.

As Western governments and corporations gain from DR Congo’s corrupt regime, they are reluctant to exert any pressure on its authorities to adopt Democratic principles of governance. It is up to the people of the world, therefore, to raise their voice and join the Congolese people in their demand for justice.

Front Line Defenders (FDL), an NGO that monitors and supports human rights activists across the globe, has placed one of its focuses on the situation in DRC. FDL regularly publish and track cases of individuals harassed and arrested by the authorities in DRC for their humanitarian work and expression of dissent.

FDL also provide financial and medical aid to such local activists who face abuse or prosecution by the government.

Please visit their website to learn more about the situation unfolding in the DRC, and make sure that the country’s freedom fighters are supported by the international community.

Image credit: Front Line Defenders website.
February 28th, 2019
type:NGO, Petition
by:Yair Oded

For decades, the Saharawi people of Western Sahara have been pushing for independence from Morocco, which refuses to relinquish control of the region. Last December, another failed round of talks between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front has left Western Saharans under grave uncertainty regarding their future.

While the United Nations maintains its presence in the area through MINURSO (the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara), it fails to oversee the humanitarian situation in the region and curb the numerous human rights violations taking place there— including gross violation of freedom of expression, movement, assembly, and the right to fair trial and freedom from torture.

Western Sahara Action Forum (WSAF) is a nonprofit working to pressure the UN Security council to establish a human rights monitoring mechanism in Western Sahara alongside the renewal of the MINURSO mandate— until a free and fair referendum takes place to determine the future of the region’s residents.

In addition to gathering and circulating information regarding human rights abuses in the region, WSAF take actions to raise the issues with those in charge at the United Nations.

One of their campaigns invites supporters to draft and send letters to members of the UN Security Council regarding the issue.

Please visit their website to learn how you can help pressure the international community to take a stronger stance against human rights violations in a conflict zone that often fails to reach the public’s attention.
February 02nd, 2019
type:Donation, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Kenya’s youth is in a challenging position. Research shows that 1 in 5 Kenyans between the ages of 15-24, who are eligible for employment, are unemployed. In turn, high unemployment rates increase these youths’ exposure to criminal activity, teen pregnancy, prostitution, and dire poverty. This puts an already vulnerable population at an even greater risk.

Since 2001, Raising Futures Kenya have been working tirelessly to provide the country’s youth with employment opportunities and guarantee their prosperity and well-being (as well as those of their families).

Through a network of volunteers, Raising Futures Kenya collaborate with individuals, other NGOs, and local government to provide training to young Kenyans in various fields, with which they could later on find employment or beginning their own small business (a process through which Raising Futures assist them).

The organization places special focus on children and teenagers with disabilities, who are still largely discriminated against in Kenya and often have no access to vocational training, education, or employment. Raising Futures collaborate with schools that specialize in education for children with disabilities and provide them with more resources to meet the needs of these children.

The organization also focuses on the advancement of girls, who also suffer from discrimination in education and employment, compared to male Kenyans. In fact, 72% of the program’s attendees are girls, who receive vocational training and support in launching their own businesses.

Raising Futures Kenya have thus far educated and trained more than 2,000 youths. 86% of their graduates are either employed or self-employed and 89% of them contribute to their family’s needs every month.

What’s more, is that an estimated 50% of graduates currently monitor and support others in their community, which through a trickle-down effect ensures the prosperity and improvement of others around them.

If you are interested in volunteering with Raising Futures, please visit their website.

If volunteering isn’t an option for you, please consider donating to their important cause.

Image credit: Raising Futures Kenya website.
January 28th, 2019
type:Donation, NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

As climate change exacerbates due to human activity and natural resources dwindle, both humans and animals suffer great habitat loss, and a growing number of wildlife species are at risk of extinction.

WWF is a United Kingdom-based independent conservation organization, whose primary goal is to “to create a world where people and wildlife can thrive together.”

Through a global network of members and volunteers, WWF work to encourage people to live sustainably and espouse practices that minimize their impact on the environment.

One of their main methods of operation is to apply pressure on and provide guidance to governments, companies, and organizations, working tirelessly behind the scenes to promote green and sustainable policies that would protect wildlife and natural resources and reduce carbon emissions. Just last year, WWF campaign successfully urged major banks across the UK to implement policies that would safeguard World Heritage sites.

Another successful campaign of WWF is one through which people may ‘adopt’ an endangered animal and thus learn more about the risks it faces as well as of actions taken to protect it.

From forests to oceans to freshwater and frozen environments- WWF maintains a presence across the globe, drawing public attention to conservation crises, educating communities and institutions about ways in which they can contribute, as well as aggressively pushing for sustainable policy reforms in order to mitigate the catastrophic effects of climate change.

VWWF also holds events (such as marathons, for instance) to raise awareness of their cause and help fund-raise.

Please visit their website to learn about ways in which you can contribute: either by attending events, volunteering, fundraising and campaigning for the organization, or donating.

Image credit: Luc Sanchez via Flickr