Win an Ipod Nano - 8G - Help Build a Self Sustaining Orphanage

You know those kind of family friends who have been friends so long that you don't really remember the start of the friendship but your history is so intertwined that they show up in all your stories?

The donors of this prize are just that sort of family friend. We actually stayed with their grandma on our honeymoon, that's how far back it goes.

A few years back they bought a property with the cutest little guest cottage that they rent out as a vacation rental. Blue Fern Cottage has everything you could want, a little home away from home, and easy driving distance to the beach, Legoland, Seaworld, the zoo, wild animal park, etc. You know, all the things people head to San Diego to see. They have had guests stay from all over the world.

When we let it be known that we were looking for prizes to help make this fundraiser fun they at first thought of offering a few nights stay at their cottage. But since that's not something everyone can use they decided to donate an ipod nano instead.

Unless you've been living under a rock the past 5 years you know what an iPod is and why you want one. So compact, so cool. I would totally use this for working out, to listen to books on tape around the house, to bring along our favorite tunes in the car.

If you came here today just looking for a free iPod, cool. Let me tell you the story of why this is happening today and what we're fundraising for.

A few years ago we started The Charis Project, a non-profit that supports an orphanage in Thailand. The regular readers here at this blog are amazing. They rallied and provided the funds we need to get 40 refugee orphan kids enough food to eat and school uniforms and a safe place to live. They were practically starving when we first met them and the person who was trying to care for them had no resources.

We got them past the crisis and then we settled down to look at the long term. How were we going to take care of all these kids until they grew up? What happened when they were adults? What about all the other kids who needed help in that area? What could we do about the social and economic factors that lead to these children being orphaned or abandoned?

The traditional way this is done had us staring down a long road of never ending dependance on donations, perpetuating the culture of dependance that foreign aid so often inadvertently fosters, spending lots of money to do one good thing, help these kids in particular, but doing very little to change anything in the larger scheme of things.

So we tried to figure out a better approach and the idea of a self-sustaining orphanage was born. For the whole plan download our executive summary here.

Purchasing land to live on and farm is an important step toward financial independence for this orphanage. It's also a step forward in aiding the entire community as well as we get closer to implementing socially conscious businesses that will provide jobs, and essential resources such as clean water, clean energy, microfinance, and education to an impoverished tribal village.

That's where you come in. We really don't plan to be doing this forever but right now we're asking for your help to buy this land. If we don't finish paying it off this year we forfeit on our agreement and lose all the money invested last year as well as a place for the children to live.

The land as it currently stands.

We still have to raise $8225 to reach our goal.

To be eligible to win this iPod you need to make a donation. Yeah, I know, you give in lots of places, you don't have a lot of money, there's a recession on, and it seems draconian to insist that you donate to win. Me too.

Think about it this way. If one hundred people see this and one of them can afford to donate $50 that's awesome, that's more than we had before. But if each of those 100 people all donated just 5 dollars, we would have $500. Which do you think is better in the long run?

The point, after all, is to help these kids that no one wants and who have no one. They will continue to have no one unless each one of you reading this steps up and chooses to do one small thing that will have a ripple effect for years and generations to come.

And if the thought of your $5 today, or whatever you can afford, being part of changing the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of kids weren't enough of an incentive, you are also eligible for all of the other great prizes we are giving away too.

After donating, you get a second chance to win if you support our friends at Blue Fern Cottage who donated this prize and leave a comment on their facebook page saying, "I donated to The Charis Project". You get a 3rd chance to win if, after donating, you go ahead and tweet this contest using the hashtag #thecharisproject.

Winners will be chosen at random from all entries after the contest closes shortly before midnight on Saturday, September 10, 2011.

(If you already donated, thank-you so much. You are already eligible.)

To find out that we're legit check our Guidestar Profile, or, come with us to Thailand. If you don't like paypal you can donate through our causes page.


  1. Donated. Liked & commented at Blue Fern Cottage. Hope it's all going well.


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