I love the holidays – always have. The winter days are cozy, most people are in the giving spirit and cheer is in the air. And let’s not forget the vacation time. From Thanksgiving until New Years, who doesn’t take a few days off from the hullabaloo of the 9-5 job and give in to hot cocoa cravings and family movie nights?

Though that question was rhetorical, there is in fact an answer: many, many families the world-over do not have the privilege of taking time off or wrapping gifts for their children during the holidays. Or any other time, for that matter. They barely have the luxury of eating three meals in the same day. And this situation is not found only in far-off countries in Asia and Africa, like many would believe (we can thank the media for that one). We don’t have to look further than our own back yard – in America’s inner cities and immigrant communities – to see that this reality exists much closer to home.

But since the holidays are a time of hope and cheer, let’s not think too pessimistically. Rather than dwelling on this dismal situation, let’s think of how we can change it!

The recent explosion of non-profit organizations, double bottom-linebusinesses, and impact investors provides myriad opportunities for individuals to get involved in a personally fulfilling way to change the status quo, so think about what YOU want to change.  Ask yourself what you feel strongly about – is it children’s education? Gender-based violence? Health? Clean water and sanitation? Microfinance? Green energy? Animals? Something, anything else? Now where would you like your efforts to target? Here at home in the U.S.? Abroad?

Once you’ve figured those out, think about HOW you’d like to get involved. Do you want to donate your money? A few unique ways to do so that Avana Microinsurance loves are Bolder Giving and Inventure Fund.

Rather than money, what about giving your time, your network or your expertise?  Each of us is in a position to give something. What is your “thing”?

As someone who has devoted much of her time and resources to working with and for non-profits, social businesses and the like, I’ll be the first to tell you that every little ounce of help and support matters and is greatly appreciated.

At Avana, we are passionate about spreading the word about microinsurance, a  valuable tool for providing low-income men and women a way to manage their risks and secure their economic gains against unexpected loss.  We want to help create a world in which an injury or death does not mean falling into debilitating poverty. If this mission resonates with you, then please do not hesitate to contact us.   If not, we hope that you find your mission and a way to make a difference that matters to you.

Happy Holidays everyone. Let’s join hands to make 2011 a great year all around!

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Tags: enterprise, microfinance, social, volunteering

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