It’s December, and many of you know what that means–Worldbuilders 2011! I mentioned in the last posting that I would be discussing Worldbuilders as soon as Pat Rothfuss began his annual fundraiser; well, it’s started. He posted the particulars last week over at his personal blog.
I’ve been following Worldbuilders for the past few years and donated last year for the first time. Worldbuilders, Pat’s fundraiser, is affiliated with Heifer International, an international charity with, as a far as I know, a unique approach to help families and groups around the world. Heifer, rather than focus on religion or traditional schooling, empowers people and families to provide for themselves and, in the end, allows them to help other families suffering from hunger and poverty. The primary difference between Heifer and other charities is their belief that most charities engage in short-term relief while few attempt to rectify the real problem. (You might compare this to the familiar metaphor of treating symptoms rather than the illness itself.) Heifer strives to end hunger and poverty by giving people the needs to provide for themselves–this is long-term relief. Donations to Heifer provide families with livestock, seeds, and training in sustainable agriculture. Livestock and seeds are matched with the region and needs of the families involved; thus, families in the high altitudes of Peru would be given alpacas, and families in Thailand might be given water buffalo to help them till difficult soils.
The real beauty in Heifer lies in “Passing on the Gift.” Families given livestock and seeds are encouraged to give surplus seeds in later growing seasons to needy families, and they are required to give subsequent generations of their livestock, like young calves or chicks, to neighbors and needy families in their region. Many families use the eggs, milk, and other goods provided by their livestock and crops to supplement their own income-selling their produce in local markets.
Pat, to encourage individuals to donate to Heifer, collects “prizes” from publishers like Subterranean Press and individual authors like Neil Gaiman to give out randomly to all those who donate. For every ten dollars you donate to Heifer through the Worldbuilders team page, you one chance in the Worldbuilders lottery. For those of you bad at math, that means twenty dollars donated gets you two chances to win cool signed books, rare copies, ARCS, and other nifty prizes, thirty dollars three chances, forty four, and so on. Also, and this is the cool part, Pat and the Worldbuilders organization will match fifty percent of your donation. Last year, Worldbuilders raised over $190,000.
I’ll post the links from above again:
Worldbuilders Posting on Pat Rothfuss’ blog
Worldbuilders Donation Page at Team Heifer
I would encourage all of you to check out Worldbuilders and Heifer International. Not only do you get to help needy families around the world, you get a chance to win “cool books and other swag.” Also, for the next few weeks, there will be frequent postings on Pat’s blog listing a number of the gifts donated for the Worldbuilders lottery–check it out.