Charitable issues and the tsunami

Relatives of tsunami victims now face some time in legal limbo. Without a corpse it is not possible (at least in the UK) to issue a death certificate for seven years, at least, not without jumping through many hoops. This means that widows and dependents are not able to access the estate. This includes things like insurance policies, property and accounts.

The net effect is that people who, on paper, are quite well off do not have access to that capital and could be in financial difficulty if they have lost the wage earner.

I predicted this privately soon after the event - I also predicted it'd eclipse other charities.

Now charities are beginning to say publicly that the tsunami could damage their efforts elsewhere. For example, with the UK leading the G8 this year, the UK government was to make Africa a priority, but this is being overshadowed. Tony Blair has said that this will not happen. In africa some 3000 people die from malaria alone each day.

The US have pledged $350million for the tsunami relief fund, up from an original $30million (less than the inauguration).

On a not unrelated note, I received my first spam the other day which directly asked me for tsunami money. I deleted it with disgust. On sober reflection I wish I hadn't. I wish I'd traced it.

I made a decision to try an give some cash to charity on a more regular basis. Before christmas I gave some money on behalf of the wife to train a mobile teacher in Africa from Oxfam Unwrapped.. She really appreciated this. The teacher will train people in Maths, literacy and so forth. The other day some cash went to the DEC, remembering to tick the gift-aid box. The golden rule if you're going to donate to charity in the UK is to use gift aid, by ticking the box the charity gets an extra 28% - this does not happen with a collection box (so I always walk past this). Oh, it's unlikely he'll ever read this, but to that bloke in KwikFit who did me a favour by fixing something for free, I put in that extra ten quid for you.

I think next time I donate to charity I think it won't be the tsunami, it'll be for something that is overshadowed by the tsunami appeal.

Overseas it'll probably be a development project, something long term. I like what World Vision are doing, I particularly like their 'sponser a child' scheme. A clever move for a charity as it promotes a longer term commitment from the donor. Unfortunately I'm not too keen on charity being tied up with religion - and can't seem to find a secular charity doing quite the same sort of thing. I'm all for religious types doing charitable deeds, but that's a different kettle of fish.

Domestically it'll probably be something like Dogs for the Disabled.

I continue to support Liberty - though this is a different sort of organisation to those discussed above, I'm also interested in the work of the electoral reform group, though they have yet to receive a donation.