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TEAR supporter Devi Duerrmeier writes about the beauty of empowering people facing poverty and injustice.
How do you approach Christmas when, each year, it feels more meaningless to give the people you love the most the things they need the least?
It’s a question that Devi Duerrmeier, writer and stay-at-home mum from Melbourne, is asking this year. And one that makes her thankful for TEAR’s Useful Gifts Catalogue!
‘I've known about TEAR for many, many years and have always appreciated the Useful Gift Catalogue because it is a tangible way to think of others during the Christmas season,’ shares Devi. ‘The older I get the emptier it is to plan a Christmas with gifts for the people I love who are wonderful but have everything they need.’
In the consumer-driven buzz of Christmas, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the Useful Gifts are more than just sentimental tokens - they represent powerful and lasting transformation for people living in poverty. It’s a distinction that Devi reflects on with passion and personal experience.
‘I grew up as a missionary kid in the Philippines, and for 10 years our neighbors were squatters who lived in poverty. They were our friends, never people who came searching for handouts, and I saw first hand from a very, very young age the power of loving neighbours as ourselves, what it means to empower people with education and resources and the negative impacts of poverty, addiction and abuse. I think resources that give people tools to make a life for themselves are some of the best things we can give to anyone, anywhere.’
For her animal-loving kids, the Useful Gift at the top of Devi’s list this year is the goat:
‘I’m hoping it will lead to many conversations about why a goat is so much more than a pet for someone in a different country, and how the animal is a source of income and opportunity for the family who has it.’Buy a goat
As a parent finding ways to celebrate Christmas with meaning and generosity, Devi’s advice to others is to grab the Useful Gift Catalogue and go for it! ‘This is a much better way of making a direct impact on the lives of others - it empowers communities without creating unhealthy dependencies. It gives people so much more than a one-time gift. And do it for yourself and your family, it will broaden your worldview to consider the lives of people living in different circumstances from yourself.’
Buy your Useful Gift at www.usefulgifts.org