Archive for the ‘Inspirations…’ Category

Live below the line…

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I am an avocate of frugal living it’s true.  I am a bargain shopper.  I sniff out ‘deals’ like pigs seeking truffles.  I like to eat healthily and not buy what I term as ‘crap’ from supermarkets (crisps, cereal bars etc).

So far, so smug – I’m sure you’ll agree.

But while I pat myself on the back for being such a canny shopper, the fact is that if I wanted to have a blow out on an expensive resturant meal, or gorge on cakes and sweets I could. I am lucky that I have the means to spend more than I do on food and drink.

However millions of people around the world don’t have that luxury, and face days of hunger, malnourishment and extreme poverty.   Can you imagine what it would be like to face the daily struggle to feed yourself and your family?  To have to make the choice between eating or buying clothes? To try and get by on a little amount of money – say £1 – a day?

Well imagine no more, and take part in Live Below the Line – a new campaign which encourages people around the UK to live off just £1 a day for food and drink for a week, to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by people living in extreme poverty.

In the UK many of us are used to being able to buy what we like, when we like.  In fact we often buy so much, that 8.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away by households every year.

The Live Below the Line challenge (which takes place from 2-6 May 2011) is a great way to highlight not only the daily challenges of  people trapped in extreme poverty, but maybe also just how much we buy but don’t actually need.   You can also use the challenge as an opportunity to raise funds for the fight against extreme poverty.

So sure, I consider myself a frugal shopper, but I don’t know what it’s like to walk a mile in the shoes of someone who has no choice.  I’m going to join the campaign on 2 – 6 May, and I hope many others will join me!


Written by Lores

April 15, 2011 at 11:52 am


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My sister is crazy and mad, and is throwing herself out of a plane in the name of char-i-dee (Little Haven’s Hospice to be exact)

As I am no-where near brave enough to join her, I’ve agreed to help her spread the word instead:

Click on the button below to read more:

Written by Lores

August 24, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Time to Stop and Stare…

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A wonderful poem, with words to bear in mind as we rush around in our day to day lives.  I do truly believe in being idle…or at least taking a little time each day to stop and stare.

What is this life if full of care
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep, or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

(William Henry Davies 1871 – 1940)

Written by Lores

May 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm

ColaLife – Getting Coca Cola to Save Lives!

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If you only support one campaign this year, then this is it:


Coca Cola is distributed all over the world – including places where there is no access to medicine or clean drinking water.

ColaLife is voluntary movement and campaign to get Coca-Cola to open up its distribution channels in developing countries to help save lives – by carrying much needed products like oral rehydration salts, mosquito nets, and vitamin tablets in its crates between bottles of Coca-Cola. 

These ‘social products’ can be transported in simply made ‘aidpods‘ which fit neatly between the bottles of Coca-Cola in the crates. 

What about Coca Cola using their distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts? Maybe by dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as ‘the life saving’ compartment?

ColaLife ‘founder’ Simon Berry speaking in 1988

A simple, effective, and completely plausible idea, and one which shows that a small action can make a massive impact.   

ColaLife is a completely independent, community run group – and they need support!  You can show your support for this campaign by:  

And of course – telling others about this campaign!  Pass it on!

Pay It Forward!

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moneyI blogged a little while ago about meeting the effervescent Nipun Mehta, founder of the organisation – a completely decentralised, global and volunteer led organisation looking to ‘pay forward’ random acts of kindness.

So I was really interested to stumble over an article today about a church in Oviedo, Florida, where the congregation are being given money to go out and make a difference to their community.

The church has two rules, the first that the money that each member of the congregation is given (whether that be $10, $20, or $100) must be spent on someone in need and could not be spend on themselves, and that secondly it could not be given back to the church. 

What a fabulous way to inspire people to get involved in random acts of kindness, and make a tangible difference to their local community!

I am also feeling inspired, and trying to think of ways that we could possibly incorporate a similar, ‘pay it forward’, gift economy idea into our next community event…

Written by Lores

August 5, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Be the Change…

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I actually blogged about this on my organisation’s blog, but I was so inspired I thought I would share it here as well (a slightly abridged version!)

This week I had the privelidge of meeting the inspirational ‘generosity entrepreneur’ Nipun Mehta– one of the founders of the not for profit organisation CharityFocus

CharityFocus was started in 1999, in the Silicon Valley, by four friends, who offered to help a homeless shelter by building them a website.  The organisation grew organically after that, now thousands of volunteers giving their time and skills to develop web solutions, websites, and web portals which touch tens of thousands of lives on a daily basis.  CharityFocus is an experiment in the joy of giving, no money changes hands – the organisation operates as a true gift economy, something that Nipun advocates

“Let’s serve without any strings attached, just for the sake of giving,”

Nipun Mehta, on starting CharityFocus

 On his  blog Nipun explains what the gift economy is:

“A gift economy is an economic system in which goods and services are given freely, rather than traded. In a market economy, one can hoard one’s goods without losing wealth; indeed, wealth is increased by hoarding— although we generally call it ‘saving’. In contrast, in a gift economy, wealth is decreased by hoarding, for it is the circulation of the gifts within the community that leads to increase— increase in connections, increase in relationship strength”

So a gift economy is one where no money changes hands, and you act without the expection of anything in return.  Wonderful principles, but how does it work in practice?  Well, Nipun couldn’t explain apart from it just does.  Somehow he is able to pay his bills, but as he says himself; “I am not rich in the material sense of the word, but I am rich in my life”.  People clearly understand the principals of CharityFocus.

Something else that is fundamental to the ‘success’ of CharityFocus is trust. “If you trust people they will respond positively” Nipun says – not a frivolous statement when you consider that CharityFocus is now a worldwide organisation with 221,235 volunteers.   Nipun uses the term “patterns of positive deviance” to describe the radical impact of trusting people.

The idea of no money changing hands, trusting your volunteers and decentralized governance within an organisation goes against everything that business schools and the open market teaches us about “how to do business”

Yet, CharityFocus is an organisation that has gone from strength to strength – from 4 volunteers in 1999 the CharityFocus network now has 221,235 members all working on wide range of inspiring programmes.  There are too many programmes to do them all justice here on this blog but you can read about all of them here.  However, I did just want to mention a few of my favourites; 

  • Karma Kitchen Opened in Berkley (USA) in 2007, and staffed entirely by volunteers, the Karma Kitchen is a place where there are no prices on the menu and where the check always reads $0.00 with only this footnote: “Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. We hope you will pay-it-forward however you wish.”
  • Smile Cards  Kindness is contagious!  These cards encourage anonymous acts of kindness – do a selfless act for someone, and leave behind a card telling them to pay it forward.
  • The Daily Good A newsletter with a little bit of good news – direct to your inbox – everyday

CharityFocus grew organically from the motivation of its volunteers, and despite its unexpected success, has never wavered from its three major organizing principles;

  • To be volunteer run
  • To serve without asking for anything
  • To focus on small acts – It kept us simple and human, raw and authentic

 In his blog post How to Survive in a Gift Economy Nipun says;

“In today’s world, anyone can stand up for an idea, be-the-change, share stories of the process, attract like-hearted people and create a collective voice to start a movement 

And these “be the change” ideas are spread via online connections and portals such as  Nipun uses the rather lovely phrase “Ghandi 2.0” to explain this.

At the end of our meeting, Nipun gave us each a little gift – a peace chain made by a friend of his, Joe Murphy, an artist intent on spreading the message of peace throughout the world.  Each peace chain has a unique design on one side and an inscription of the word “peace” in one of 75 languages on the other side.  Joe has not only made 431,204 wonderful peace chains in the last 18 years, he has given each and every one of them away – and in the spirit of the gift economy, Joe has been able to carve out living expenses from donations received from others.  Read more about Joe’s story here 

What an inspiration!  Everyone has the power of their own actions.  You can find out more about the work of Charity Focus here

“Be the change you want to see in the world”


Written by Lores

June 26, 2009 at 11:39 am