Every year I try to donate a portion of my income to charity. This year its been a bit lower because I wasn’t getting lots of money from the Student Loans Company. I used to try to find a single charity to donate to, such as the Iranian Queer Railroad, to whom I donated in memory of my friend Jeff, but this year, as last year, I donated to several different charities and write about them here. However this year, I have also added charities you can volunteer for if you don’t have any money to give.

Lama Foundation

The Lama Foundation is one of the few intentional communities left over from the 1960s. It’s a non-denominational spiritual community that is, quite frankly, AMAZING, and everyone should go visit it. There are statues of Quan Yin by the kitchen, Sacred Hearts over the door, water goddesses by the spring, and hindu gods in alcoves all over the places, random images of gurus and teachers scattered on every wall and in every room (which were all built by hand over decades of work). And most importantly, people everywhere giving their time and love to maintain a community where you can just be yourself and everyone likes you for it. It is awesome.

I have never felt so happy about giving large amounts of money to the Lama Foundation. When you turn up, their cars are battered beyond recognition, the building are home-made from straw and mud, and they don’t have indoor toilets. Every dollar you donate goes on feeding people who come to visit, to putting on programmes, to supporting the stuff that needs to be done instead of making things look good. Really, go check them out. They want to build a new roof for the main dome complex that will last the next fifty years, go donate!


The Albert Kennedy Trust

The Albert Kennedy Trust was founded in 1989 to provide LGBT young people in crisis with accommodation and support. It was named after Albert Kennedy, a 16 year old Mancunian who fell to his death from a car park while trying to flee homophobic bullying.

They regularly have to turn away homeless LGBT teenagers, because they don’t have room to take care of them all. I am not, unfortunately, able to offer foster care because of that whole being-a-student-and-moving-every-year thing, but if you have the time, they’d appreciate that a lot more than money. Although money is also useful…


Re:Vision Drug Policy Network

Yep, I’ve donated money to the drugs charity that I helped found. Always be suspicious of the person who won’t put their money where their mouth is, or expect other people to pay for their charitable endeavours.

The Re:Vision Drug Policy Network is a national charity aiming to empower young people to campaign against the war on drugs. The aforementioned “war” is often used to destroy the lives of young people under the bizarre illusion that this will somehow protect them. It’s therefore important that we as young people stand up and say “nuh uh.” We stand for the control and regulation of all drugs – it’s a little ambitious, but we’re confident we can make an impact. We started up in March and are looking to start doing some serious stuff from September. If you don’t have any money, we’ll take your time instead. :)