You don’t have to wear a lifeguard’s outfit or jump into a burning building to save someone’s life. In fact you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your armchair or part with much hard-earned cash. Here are our top ten:
1. Sponsor a LifeStraw®
You’re meant to drink 8 glasses of water a day but more than one billion people (start counting because that’s a lot of people) don’t have access to clean drinking water. However, they could if they had a Lifestraw®. A Lifestraw® is a water purifier that looks like an overgrown straw but makes even toilet water taste like spring water. Head over to www.lifestraw.com to donate a straw for as little as three dollars.
2. Give the gift of the Jab
You probably can’t remember all the vaccinations you had as a child. Most of your vaccinations took place before you were two years of age and protected you against polio, small pox and a whole host of other diseases that you’re fortunate enough to never have heard of. Immunization can be expensive, but for just $8 at www.gifts4good.co.za you could equip a community nurse in South Africa with an immunization kit and save a child’s life.
3. Just listen
If your friend starts telling you about something terrible that’s happened to them, open your ears and close your mouth. You never know when just listening might be all a person needs to prevent them from ending their life. Simple rule of thumb here – ask more questions than you answer. Best of all – this one costs nothing!
4. Be Streetsmart
You don’t want to give the street kid money but you don’t want him to starve to death either. What do you do? Believe it or not- eat out! Just make sure you choose your restaurant wisely by going to one listed on www.streetsmartusa.org. (Don’t forget to check out Streetsmart restaurant guides in other countries like the UK and South Africa) All the restaurants on the websites offer the diner the opportunity to add an optional donation of $3 to their bill which goes to projects to help street kids improve their lives.
5. Do the Heimlich maneuver
This isn’t a fancy way to get the guy you like to slip his arm around you, but if you happen to be around when he is choking, you could find him in your arms. This simple lifesaving technique is best learned from professionals and is often taught along with CPR (another nifty lifesaving tool). Simply go to www.redcross.org to find out where they will be holding the next basic first aid course.
6. Buy a mosquito net
We have all killed a few mosquitoes in our lives, but in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa mosquitoes have avenged these deaths by taking more than a few human lives. Many of the deaths could have been prevented by the simple use of a mosquito net. If you want to save a life, log onto www.spreadthenet.com and for $10 they’ll make sure a mosquito net gets to a family who needs it.
7. Know your status
You’ve heard this one before but it’s one of the simplest ways to save a life. If you’ve had unsafe sex then get tested for HIV/AIDS and make sure your partner(s) are tested too. If you already know your status, then head over to www.gifts4good.co.za where for just $8 you can sponsor an HIV/AIDS test for someone living in Africa.
8. Free a sex slave
Bet you didn’t expect to see this one on the list! Head over to www.saribari.com and buy a beautiful hand-sewn bag or blanket from India for about $25. The money goes towards the training and support of women who have been exploited in the sex trade. A few dollars provides them with a safe haven and an alternative income. Each product is adorned with the name of the woman who directly benefits from your purchase and who now has the opportunity to choose a new life.
9. Donate blood
Only 3 out of every 100 people in the US donate blood, but this simple act can literally save a person’s life. Blood that you donate could be used to save the life of a premature baby, a child with leukemia or person who was driving in the wrong place at the wrong time. The best part is donating blood costs you nothing except a bit of time. If you’d like to know more or to find out where your nearest blood bank is go to www.givelife.org.
10. Sign your name
Cure® is an international organization which provides medical help to children who can’t afford it. You don’t even need to have money to help save a life at this website, simply sign a virtual cast, and $6 will be donated to cover the medical expenses of putting a cast on a child being treated for a clubfoot. Maybe you won’t save a life with this one but you’ll definitely change one by going to www.helpcurenow.org!