A few weeks ago, I received a letter from Amnesty International to donate some money towards their cause. Along with the letter, they very nicely sent some stickers bearing my name and address that I can use for my post, which is a very common ‘tactic’ used by charities asking for money in the US.

Being a sucker for such things (the stickers AND donating money), I relented and sent a $25 cheque to AI. They’d promptly sent me a thank you letter with a receipt, and even a letter from a Malaysian OSA prisoner thanking me for doing my part (I don’t remember the name, he’s a lawyer who tried to defend a girl who was allegedly raped by government officials, including a high ranking officer. I should’ve kept the letter!).

Now I receive such letters on a weekly basis from various charities but because I have very limited resources, I often turn them down. So why did I pick Amnesty International?

Very simply because it is a charity that stands for the rights of people who have no means to do so on their own because of political or religious persecution. Coming from a country infamous for its sorry approach to human rights and equality, I’ve grown up thinking that such was my lot in life. That I was, and will always be, a second-class citizen and that to fight it would not be a healthy endeavour. My $25, a small token to be sure, will at least pay for ten letters sent to world leaders, two minutes of a human rights’ lawyer’s meagre salary or even a few protest placards.

Another favourite charity of mine is Human Rights Watch. Apart from being an advocate, I also try to blog about some of the atrocities that happen around the world, especially those in my homeland and abroad.

Now why am I talking about AI and HRW now? Because I’d received an approval from my bid to write about my favourite charity by philanthropist Navtej Kohli and his foundation. Named the Tej Kohli Foundation, of which you can read more here, Navtej is paying bloggers to talk about their favourite charities. Now isn’t that a novel, noble idea?

Do you have a favourite charity? Check out the Charity Navigator to find out what charities appeal to you. This tool is fabulous. For example, I can see a charity’s organisational efficiency, its organisational capacity, a peer analysis (AI is at 49.43, which is not the best, and it only has two out of four stars, which is curious…). And if you register, you can access the historical data of a charity and use the tool to monitor your favourite charities, share them and so on.