Highlights 4 carefully vetted charities per quarter in the areas of Poverty and Health, Education, Human Rights, and Natural World.
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Service Corps volunteers save lives and fight for gender equality by supporting local human rights organizations in Ghana’s Northern Region.
Our Beyond Belief Network is a collective of organizations putting compassionate humanism into action through community volunteering and charitable fundraising.
The hosts of our official podcast travel the country telling stories of life-changing events, expanding our horizons and our compassion.
Foundation Beyond Belief is a humanist charity that promotes secular volunteering and responsible charitable giving. Guided by the principles of secular humanism, our mission is to:
Unite the humanist community in volunteering and charitable efforts.
Advocate for compassionate action throughout the world.
There is a cautionary tale that frequently surfaces in discussions about international aid. Women from a particular village walk miles to the river to do laundry despite the donation of a laundry trough circling the village’s water tank. The organization that donated the washing station failed to realize that laundry time serves another function: women-only social time. The laundry trough in the village didn’t offer the women the same respite from men, and the women couldn’t chat with each other around the tank as easily as they could at the river.
I believe that a Humanist Service Corps volunteer could have helped the international aid organization tell a success story instead of a cautionary tale. By observing the women, doing laundry with them, learning from them about their needs, and including them as essential, leading members of the problem-solving team, the HSC volunteer could have helped the locals and the international aid organization co-design a sustainable solution. In a nutshell, this is the kind of work that the HSC does, and this is the kind of engagement HSC asks of its volunteers.
What makes this kind of volunteering rare, and why is it so important?
Sustainable, effective, culturally-responsible volunteering is rare because it’s difficult and time-consuming to build the necessary relationships. Many international volunteering programs don’t see the cross-cultural relationships as an essential part of the mission. The relationships may benefit the volunteers, sure, but the volunteers are already guaranteed to benefit from the experience and cross-cultural relationships aren’t part of the benefit promised to the locals.
It is understandable that volunteers would be concerned about maximizing their impact and might even feel a little guilty hanging out with the locals. After all, international volunteering opportunities often exist only because of global inequalities created by the very countries volunteers are from. When volunteers spend time building relationships, aren’t they selfishly wasting time that they should be spending on improving lives?
No. Emphatically no. Volunteers only perpetuate oppression when they focus on their personal impact to the exclusion of all else. One of the tragically ironic consequences of imperialism is that the exploited are seen as having nothing to offer, even as they are still being plundered. It is a revolutionary act for a volunteer to acknowledge and embrace the benefits they receive when they adapt to another culture. Moreover, when volunteers are focused primarily on changing the environment, they often miss the opportunity to be changed by it. That missed growth is a profound loss, because learning and adapting to the local environment by building real, reciprocal relationships is the key to implementing sustainable solutions as well as the most rewarding aspect of the volunteering experience.
There is a strong positive correlation, not a zero-sum relationship, between the benefits that a volunteer receives and gives. The kind of volunteer work that is most rewarding for volunteers - cross-cultural learning and relationship-building - is also the kind of volunteer work that leads to sustainable solutions. Thus, the only way to serve responsibly and effectively is to embrace the selfishness inherent in service. When we see every interaction not as an opportunity to teach or to give but rather as a chance to learn and receive, only then do we come to understand what strategies are appropriate for the cultural context. If you can see the beauty in that paradox, then I invite you to apply for the 2019 Humanist Service Corps.
To apply fill out the application form and attach a cover letter and your resume. Your cover letter should include why you are interested in volunteering with HSC, a summary of your service, and a summary of your international experience. Your cover letter should be no more than one (1) page, single-space, 11 point font.
Applications must be submitted by January 15th, 2019. All applicants must be 18 or older and available from July 2019 to July 2020.
Learn more here.
By Conor Robinson
08 Jan 2019
01 Dec 2018
December is International Human Rights month, celebrating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. The document states fundamental freedoms all humans are entitled to including freedom from discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Other rights include freedom from torture, from arbitrary arrest and detention, and arbitrary interference of privacy. Equally the document declares everyone's right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, to seek asylum in other countries, to enter into marriage only will free and full consent, and freedom of thought.
FBB envisions a world where these human rights are realized across the earth. For our Human Rights category of giving in our Humanist Grants program, we seek organizations that have compassionate, effective programs working to actualize these rights for people for whom they are or have been denied. Our Human Rights beneficiaries from the last year are work to end gun violence, support the poorest women in Puerto Rico recover from last year's hurricanes, support girls going to school rather than being forced into marriage, and work for a fair and equitable criminal justice system in the US.
Take a look at FBB's Human Rights beneficiaries over the past year.
Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 800 civil society organizations all around the world committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to fulfill their potential. They are an umbrella organization that does the research and effectiveness studies that are used to provide roadmaps for local partners to work together.
Their research is bringing local, community organizations together to be stronger and more effective. Girls Not Brides works with experts to create theories of change and roadmaps for local organizations, but their strategies are member tailored to address specific issues that members identify in their communities.
Proyecto Matria is local organization working to help the women of Puerto Rico become self-sufficient in order to overcome situations of violence and gender discrimination. Founded in 2004, they empower women with services as far reaching as housing services, which is vital in the wake of the destruction, but also with education, psychological support, and job assistance in the form of small business incubators and microcredit services.
The Sentencing Project has over 30 years of experience in the field of fair and equitable sentencing practices. They work under a series of important and often overlapping key ideas: fair sentencing, incarceration, felony disenfranchisement, racial disparity, drug policy, juvenile justice, women, and collateral consequences.
The Sentencing Project explains its work as “include[ing] the publication of groundbreaking research, aggressive media campaigns, and strategic advocacy for policy reform.”
They bring awareness regarding the disenfranchisement of Americans with felony convictions. Priorities include families struggling without food aid because of drug offenses, the effects of sentencing practices on children, and racial inequities that are pervasive through our criminal justice system.
A nonprofit online news outlet focused exclusively on researching and reporting gun violence, The Trace incorporates possible solutions to the gun violence epidemic into their reporting. They believe that the gun violence problem is exacerbated by lack of knowledge.
They divide this lack of knowledge into four elements: 1. US residents lack awareness of how many lives are lost by firearms, 2. the national conversation is missing the big picture--headlines are focused on mass shootings, but they only comprise 2% of gun deaths, 3. gun violence data and records do not exist or are not public, and 4. the NRA operates in secrecy, distributes misinformation, and has increasing political influence.
The Trace is remedying this lack of knowledge and understanding by clarifying the problem. For example, they have created an interactive map with every incidence of gun violence in the US. They also direct attention to the communities most affected by gun violence, which are largely communities that are marginalized in other ways as well. Far more people are killed with handguns than assault-style rifles, while everyday gun violence hits marginalized populations the hardest. Nearly half of gun homicide victims are young black men. American women make up nearly 90 percent of the female gun violence victims recorded by all wealthy nations.By FBB