Blog: Can small Slovak NGOs help solving global challenges?

A small gesture in the beginning can have a huge impact in the end, especially when workshops and educative tools are used on a weekly basis.

(Source: Anka Podlesná)

Don’t you think it should be possible to support all the charity projects you believe in, no matter where you are and what your nationality is? We think that solidarity knows no boundaries, and no limits. That is why (Great Country) found a way to broadcast great Slovak non-profit projects to the rest of the world in order to find resonance in the ears of the ones who know nothing about our country. Indeed, the challenges we are facing are becoming global, and can affect everyone.

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I was in Tvrdošín (Orava region) on August 7, on the occasion of the vegetables festival organised by the non-governmental organisation Misia Mladých (Mission of the Youth), which is taking care of needy single-mother families in the Orava region. What struck me was the motivation of the women I met there. I saw Gitka, a single mother with 11 children, selling vegetables she grew herself and cooking for the festival. I witnessed how motivated all those women were, and why it is of vital importance to lend them a helping hand in what they are trying to achieve. The Misia Mladých project, which is part of Great Country and supported by Pontis Foundation, is a wind of change for those families. They are given the chance to save money and to offer a better life to their children. The problem in the Orava region is that a lot of men die from cancer caused by mine digging, leaving families with a lot of children without a breadwinner. The project carried out by the NGO Misia Mladých tries to get those families back on their feet by giving them material and educational support. The principle is to give those families the resources and the knowledge to meet their needs by themselves. They are offered food trees, seeds, breeding animals, and they are participating in workshops about do-it-yourself techniques. This allows them to save money by buying less in the supermarket, and also to adopt a healthier and eco-friendly lifestyle. Since it has been launched on portal, this project evolved and was able to reach out for more families. They succeeded in bringing self-sufficiency to a lot of families thanks to 12 recurring donors. This kind of partnership is very fructuous because once you have started to help a family; they learn how to provide for themselves, so a small gesture in the beginning can have a huge impact in the end, especially when workshops and educative tools are used on a weekly basis. This local issue is actually becoming global. This kind of situation is happening all over the world and needs to be taken care of everywhere it has a negative impact. It can be dealt with by providing a little help to these women whom nobody else seems to be willing to help. Widows with children are far more vulnerable to poverty and precariousness than the rest of the population, and single-mother families often struggle more than enough to make ends meets.

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This story is one in a million for Great Country. The presence of a lot of small Slovak NGOs on allows you to discover their significant local impact and to support them while getting a benefit if you are an American taxpayer. Indeed, thanks to the tax policy of, all donations are tax-deductible for US taxpayers. That is a policy we completely agree with. We are convinced that solidarity is something that should have a benefit for the donor, because it has a huge social value. Indeed, US taxpayers can get a tax deduction from their participation, and this advantage should apply more often in our contemporary world, because of the huge contribution to social welfare it induces compared to a lot of other activities. We pay taxes to get some social welfare, but when we support social-friendly projects, shouldn’t we get some advantage from it? We are participating as much as state driven organisations to the common good.

In addition, we believe that the people who love Slovakia will want to keep helping the ones who need it the most in this country. Therefore you can help us make Slovakia a better country. The best way to make a better country is to build a team of supporters and to make all of them feel useful.  We wish to create a strong relationship with our donors.

To go back to the example of Misia Mladých, each donation to the project is vital for the families I met. Each tree planted and each goat raised is an opportunity for them to save money, each workshop helps to learn how to raise vegetables and manage their finance effectively. This is how this initiative improves their life, and with them the lives of the all-region community.

Take this opportunity to discover more about other Slovak projects on Global Giving. Your participation to the creation of social value is very important for us.

Indeed, as the proverb says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. We will always defend sustainable development initiatives. We don’t do one-time support, we remain helpful on the long run.

We will go back to you the more often possible with other wonderful stories regarding the people who have seen their life changed by our projects and our communities. Stay tuned for more stories from the Great Country initiative!

By Laura Verlhac, Intern at Pontis Foundation

Note: Dobra Krajina (Great Country) is a project of the Pontis Foundation collecting and distributing donations in a fair manner.

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