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Raising funds for The Humane League and Prince Albert Skills School: why these charities?

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Raising funds purely for ourselves and this trip would have made both of us feel uncomfortable. We have lived incredibly privileged lives thus far compared to the vast majority of the world’s inhabitants and this was an opportunity to show appreciation for that privilege, and attempt to share some of it. We didn’t simply want to have an amazing experience, we wanted to challenge ourselves to raise money and support those less privileged.


Crucially, this needed to be done in an effective way. It’s easy to have an impact on others, we all do this all the time. It is less easy to have an impact that clearly does good, and that is the most effective use of limited resources. As I have learnt (mainly from the Effective Altruism movement, which is highly worth looking into), the majority of global impact is caused by the top few most effective charities. The majority of charities cause simply some impact, while the very best charities are vastly more effective and cause most of the positive impact in the world.  It also turns out that human and non-human animal well-being can in fact be measured to a rough extent (using the concept of quality adjusted life years). Therefore, charities can be ranked by the good they do (in terms of improvements in wellbeing) per dollar they receive in donations. There are a few important criteria in evaluating the effectiveness of charities, but I won’t go into them here.


Emma and I struggled to choose just one charity to support. So we settled on 2.

The first, The Humane League (THL) was chosen because of its proven effectiveness, transparency and high impact per dollar donated. They have won multiple awards by charity evaluators as one of the most effective non-human animal based charities operating today. THL coordinates campaigns to pressure large food corporations to (amongst other things) commit to cage-free eggs and chickens. This is to alleviate some of the worst suffering inflicted on billions of sentient animals every year. By getting these corporations to make such public commitments, they allow birds to live better lives and not be squashed into tiny, dirty cages for their entire existence. THL advocates for veganism as an end goal, but their focus is on shorter term, measurable and attainable goals in that direction: actual improvements in the lives of feeling and thinking animals. For every 1 dollar donated to THL, conservative calculations say that 37 hens can live cage free lives.

Emma and I have both been vegan for +- 5/ 6 years and want to see the world moving in the direction of respect for the other beings we share this planet with. The amount of land and resources that humans as a species use in comparison to the other species on this planet is astounding, and our relationship to the rest of nature completely imbalanced. Let’s not forget that we are just another animal that happens to have a larger brain. Intelligence, however, is not the important factor when deciding the value of a life and how we treat it: rather, the being’s ability to experience pleasure and suffering is the factor to consider. Our dominion over and systematic torturing of the voiceless is embarrassing. By publicly supporting THL, we want to spread the message of respect for the rest of nature. By donating to The Humane League through our Gofundme (or directly) you can have a real impact on the unseen and unheard billions of individuals currently living on factory farms.


The 2nd charity chosen is equally important to us. The Prince Albert Skills School (PASS) was founded by Dr Hélène Smit in 2017 to fill the need for an education for those who have fallen out of the formal schooling system. The pupils of PASS learn life and social skills, technical skills that make them employable and help them become economically active citizens, and it also provides them with psychological support in the form of (amongst other things) providing a daily routine and safe environment. All the pupils come from a variety of challenging backgrounds including absent parents, partial rejection from society and homelessness.  It has been a boy’s school with about 15 learners at any given time up until this point, but it is now being expanded to include a girls school which is a super exciting step!


We believe that PASS is an organisation worth supporting because it has such a direct and necessary impact on peoples lives. Because it is targeted at young people, the impact of having attended PASS will be felt throughout the rest of their lives. The new girls school is currently being managed by Mariette Heskwa, a dedicated community member in the town of Prince Albert. While PASS has not been evaluated for effectiveness to the same extent as for example THL or the Against Malaria Foundation (another of the highest impact charities operating now), it has lots of room for growth and can effectively put more funding to use. Funds will go towards teachers salaries, food for the pupils (two meals a day costs less than 1 euro per student), and technical equipment like washing machines to wash the school uniforms and sewing machines. The girls school building is still in the process of being renovated so donations will also go toward the new ceiling and desks and chairs. It is reliant on donations and we hope to contribute in our small way by raising awareness for this incredible school!


The way we decided on how to split any funds that we receive was as follows. First, we calculated an approximate budget for our living expenses while on our trip. We are trying to live as cheaply as possible, and budgeted 10-15 Euros/person/day for the 3-4 months that we will be cycling through Europe, and 5-10 Euros/person/day for the 11-12 months cycling down Africa. This totalled about 9000 Euros for the 2 of us for the 15 month trip. We then decided that we should raise this equivalent amount of money for each of the 2 organisations we are supporting. So 27.000 Euros is our final goal. We know this is an ambitious amount, but we hope to reach it and if it is surpassed, any additional funds raised will go only to the 2 charities (we promise we won’t start living lavish lifestyles and glamping :) When you donate to our Gofundme, 2/3s of your money will therefore go to PASS and THL, and 1/3 will go towards our living expenses on the trip.


We hope to see how the money is being spent by the organisations and will also upload update pictures sent to us. We will write further more in-depth blog posts focussing on each of the organisations; how they operate, what kind of impact they are having, and how they can be supported in other ways.


Emma and I would love to hear feedback and questions from you about any aspect of our trip, the specific blog post, the organisations or any random stuff at all. You can comment directly on this post, email us or contact us on Instagram :)



Oscar


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