Shoring up the Defences

Here is where I’m going to be recording donations I give. Some regular, most one-off. Both as a way to make sure I keep an eye on what’s going on in the world and to give me something to look at when it all gets too much and I need to know I’m doing something.

This page will be regularly updated.


Amnesty International

Why? “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

End Violence Against Women

Why? There are a lot of women’s charities in the UK, and this is a big coalition of a lot of them. They’re a campaigning group, working to change government policy. Most recently, they’ve commented on this hot mess. We need as many rational voices as we can get right now, so this sort of thing never becomes normal.

Shiromini’s Petition

Why? OK so no money changed hands here, I just signed the petition. Sometimes petitions to me seem utterly hopeless. There are so many, and what do they accomplish, really? Slacktivism at its finest. BUT. I didn’t link the petition here, because Shiromini is not being deported. Thanks to the outcry raised about the injustice of her and her mother’s situation, she’s being allowed to stay and complete her studies. I’m aware that 99% of people in this position don’t get the media coverage, but all we can do is make a fuss whenever a case like Shiromini’s is given coverage, to let them know it’s not acceptable to treat people this way. In the face of the victory of the petition, I thought it was important to record this here, because it goes to show that even if you don’t have money to spare, you can make a difference. Sometimes all it takes is shining a light on the murk and the cockroaches all run away. The thing to remember is that the Tories are trying to shed that Nasty Party image right now. If we show them their hypocrisy in the cold light of day, they might change to save their face.


Why? OK this feels sort of like cheating. The ACLU does good work in a lot of fields. They’re fighting the idiotic immigration ban, and they’ve fought against racist voter ID laws – and I think we can all agree that this is one hydra that will just continue to grow heads as the years go by – and it’s probably just easier to go and look for yourself. One benefit of this to me, as a non-US citizen, is that it’s nationwide, so I can feel like my little donation will help as many people as it can. And do I wish I didn’t have to care so much about the US when there are other countries closer to home (and that, you know, I’m in) that could use me? Yes. Yes I do. But this is globalisation, and I can only try to do the best I can. I’ve seen posts on Facebook and elsewhere asking people to consider not supporting the ACLU, which is experiencing record donations, but to go for a more local and maybe Muslim-specific organisation, and I did think about this, but as I said, I don’t feel like I could choose a small organisation. I’m not local. I’ve also seen arguments about the efficiency of various of these organisations, and I know too little about it to make an informed choice. The ACLU seemed to be the safe choice – experienced, well-established, far-reaching – so that’s what I went for.

Climate Mirror

Why? Climate Mirror is one of the several organisations working furiously right now to back up vital data that might be misused or tampered with under a hostile government. If you’ve forgotten that Trump hates scientists, no one can blame you. He’s pushing through his terrible things on an avalanche of crazy, trying to overwhelm us with crazy so we end up freezing and can’t do anything to fix anything at all. Don’t forget that he banned Environmental Protection employees from talking to the media (or even posting on social media). Don’t forget that he is an inveterate climate change denier. His immigration ban is affecting scientists too, by the way, in case anyone thought they might have been given a small break from the crazy. And if there are any Brits reading this and feeling superior, don’t. We seem to be heading towards a world where science can’t exist at the whim of individual nations and governments. And if you don’t care about the politics, then as the Azimuth Climate Data Backup Project says: “these backups are worth having regardless of the current political situation. They should have been made long ago.” So do it for science!

Marie Stopes International

Why? The US’s global gag rule. Which, by the way, not even particularly above board by the US’s own standards. The gag rule affects all kinds of health agencies, not just those for whom abortion is a focus, though – HIV/AIDS organisations and zika virus organisations are also affected. I went for the biggest abortion-provider in the end, feeling horribly like anything I decided to do would be a political choice. I have a lot of misgivings still. On one hand I don’t want to give the impression that the Real Tragedy is that organisations who have nothing to do with abortion are being caught up in this net, as if you can understand why someone would target abortion, and on the other, it is a tragedy, absolutely. For every person affected. Whether it’s Good Abortion or Bad Abortion or Not Abortion At All. Of course, one of the several real tragedies here is that the US president can ruin the lives of so many people who never got the chance to stop him from coming to power. And you get the impression that he doesn’t even care. This is just some kind of box-ticking Republican return to status quo for him, if he even understands what he signed.

PEN International

Why? Right now it’s hard to know where to begin to start fixing everything that’s going on right now, so I decided to start from the absolute biggest picture. I’m so used to seeing the news everywhere and shared in so many different ways – on TVs in cafés and airports, on the screens in S-bahn stations, shared on Facebook, on newspaper sites, Googling whatever questions come into my head – that it’s easy to forget that technology and the internet isn’t where news comes from. People do the work. Journalists need to be supported more than ever at times like this (especially when they’re the only ones who dare to ask the difficult questions we wish our leaders would ask), so we can continue to find out the truth and react to it.

Focus Ireland

Why? Because homelessness is horrible and should be unheard of in our wealthy countries. OK, you want the real reason? Christmas FM. They have different charity partners every year and I’m embarrassed that 2016 was the first year I donated to one.


The Guardian

Why? I guess it’s not so much a donation as payment for a service, but… In November 2016 I realised that I read the Guardian every day and I had never paid for it. As someone who knows how much work writing is and can only imagine how much work journalism is, I thought that was pretty terrible of me, so I fixed it. It’s not a perfect newspaper, but funding it ensures that more of the things I like will continue, and hopefully one day no one will ever have to resort to clickbait headlines ever again. Dare to dream.


Why? Because the Tories have done their level best to systematically destroy the ability of disabled people to live independently. Austerity measures are hitting disabled people disproportionately hard, and instead of slowing down, the government is doubling down on it. Cutting benefits, employing notoriously incompetent/evil private companies to falsely class people as being fit for work, cutting community services to the bone, the list goes on. The exit of the UK from the EU is likely to mean much less accountability on difficult issues like this. Not that they pay attention to UN reports as it is. (Here’s a secret: I donate monthly to Scope and it started because I was chugged back when I was at uni or something and I couldn’t say no. But I’m glad in a way; it means some of my inherent passive laziness is being harnessed for good.)

Age UK

Why? Partly chugging again, and partly because everyone gets old. My family is currently at one of those sorts of generational cliff-edges, if you know what I mean. Maybe that’s why I have such a soft spot for this charity. I’ve seen (from the outside, of course) how hard it is to get old, and (again, thankfully, from the outside) how hard to deal with your parents getting old, people who used to be so big, giants to you, shrinking. My family is tight-knit and we look after each other and it’s still hard sometimes. Not everyone has that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.