The Best Things In Life Aren't Things

30 Nov 1999
If you read our blog regularly you'll know we share lots of stories about the girls we support. We want people to actually know what it means when we say 'education changes a girl's life'. And what becomes possible when they get out and Do It In A Dress, make a donation, or pledge their birthday. We want them to know the kind of impact their support is making. But these stories can be a bit one sided. They can make it seem like the impact only flows in one direction. And if you've ever supported someone or something you really care about, you know that's only half the story. When we give, we get a whole lot in return. Neuroscientists have long been telling us that we’re hardwired for generosity and that when we give to others our brain’s pleasure centre lights up, as feel-good endorphins are released into our system. You probably know that feeling. When we give, we’re rewarded with a sense of purpose from knowing that we’re 'making a difference’ or transforming the world to become a place we want it to be. We feel like our best self is showing up when we act out of kindness, compassion, or gratitude. We get to be role models for our kids and an inspiration to our friends. And that’s a pretty amazing feeling. When we chat to our community about what motivates them to support One Girl, they often say they are so grateful for their own good fortune and want to pay it forward. Or they want to help create a more just world for women and girls. And when people pledge their birthday to support our work, they talk about wanting to 'own less, do more'. They love that they can replace ‘unnecessary gifts’ with something that literally changes lives. Two female friends smiling together in outdoor, night time setting That’s certainly what Helen had in mind when she told Dianne and her other girlfriends that she didn't want any presents for her 40th birthday. What she did want, was to send a girl to school. When we asked Helen what motivated her to make that decision, it was pretty clear that it was part of a bigger picture for her. Helen: Consumerism and materialism are so unnecessary - especially in our society where most people live really well and don't want for much. All this stuff is just weighing people down and creating a lot of damage to our environment - plus this type of spending doesn't contribute to what is needed in the world. It doesn’t give back. It just goes to corporation profits!”  She'd already raised hundreds of dollars with a bunch of like-minded school mums by replacing last year's end-of-year Christmas gifts with donations of farm animals, refugee tents, warm blankets, and solar lamps to families in need. So when her birthday rolled around and she and her girlfriends were looking for a way to celebrate, Helen knew I Don't Want A Present was the perfect solution! Helen: ‘My girlfriends are quite a powerful bunch together – so I suggested [we support] One Girl, so we could make a difference in a girl's life and an impact in the lives of those around her.”  They loved her idea! One Girl’s mantra - that every girl deserves to be educated no matter where she is born - really resonated, so it was inspiring for them to support Helen's choice. Dianne:‘We all adore and respect her, so when she mentioned the idea [of pledging her birthday to support One Girl] none of us were surprised. As usual we were in awe of her beliefs and passions and as always, happy to support anything she gets behind because know it’s always coming from the right place.’ Their support was the best pressie they could have given because Helen got to celebrate a milestone birthday (and let's face it - birthdays ending in zero are the big ones) by doing something she was really proud to do. Helen: ‘It feels really good to know you have helped someone who really needs help, rather than giving your money to line another corporation’s fat pockets.’ Giving a girl the gift of education is an incredible thing to do. It totally transforms her life and ripples through to impact her family and her community as well. And the amazing people who make that happen, like Helen and her girlfriends, deserve all the feel-good endorphins that flow back to them. If that sounds like you and you have a birthday coming up (or any other special occasion) head over to ‘I Don’t Want A Present’ and pledge your birthday too!

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