“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

One of the things that always moves me deeply while in South America is how much the women give, both to myself and each other. In Peru, on the last day of my trip, the women make me a meal. They pool their money together, divvy up the tasks, and take turns tending to the fire. They regale me with a mountainous meal, usually a pork dish, as they know it is my favorite.

In Bolivia, when we spend the day in the countryside, the women each bring food to contribute to the communal lunch. Some women bring more, while others brings less, yet each woman shares what she can in spirit of community. There is no tallying, no comparison, simply an acceptance of what each can give.

One of the most common comments people make when I discuss Ruraq Maki is, “Wow. It must be really hard to do that work.” And I always reply, “Not really.” Despite the challenges the women face, deeply etched into the landscapes of their lives, there is a thread, a golden spool deep inside each of them, that weaves joy through their lives. I often wondered how the women can have such a resolute happiness and, now, I see it is because they give. To their children and families, to each other, to their communities, and to the world, by preserving their indigenous culture.

I sat down prepared to write this GivingTuesday post in a way that focused on the accomplishments and successes of the organization, but instead I decided to focus on the women. On how, despite receiving so little, they are still able to give so much. On how giving does not drain them, it empowers them. And on how we might give back to them.

Today, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution so that Ruraq Maki can continue to give the women free education workshops and employment opportunities. Our goal is to raise $5,000 by the end of the year to support our 2016 programs which will include a sewing class for the women in Bolivia and an more in-depth entrepreneurial course for the women in Peru.

You make our programs happen!

There are several ways to give:

  • Online: Donate today and PayPal will match 1% of your donation and there are no service fees for Ruraq Maki
  • Via Mail: Please send checks to: 41 Leese Street #2, San Francisco, CA 94110
  • Employer Matching: Double your giving with an employer match. Ruraq Maki is a 501(c)3 non profit and, in most cases, qualifies for matching programs.


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