Real People. Real Care.

How do we walk well alongside our friends who are enduring much suffering?

All the way from the Caribbean comes this story from a Common Change group.

Daniela is an 88-year-old widow with a happy disposition and a ready smile. Her husband passed away in 2004 and she was left alone in their small studio apartment without family support. In 2006, she was taken in by the Elderly Project that her Common Change friend helped start.

Sadly, a few months ago, Daniela contracted cancer of the uterus and was put on a treatment of radiotherapy, as at her age surgery was too risky. Unfortunately, she lived quite far from the hospital, so making the daily commute was going to be a problem.

Daniela’s two main needs were identified as a room to rent close to the hospital and a companion for her during the eight weeks of her treatment. Through networking, the Common Change group was able to identify the answers to both of these needs, and a request was made to the group for the equivalent of $764 to cover the all these costs as well as taxi and food for the whole eight weeks.

Thanks to the action and collaboration of a group of friends who had committed to being part of a different kind of giving, Daniela was able to be well looked after during her treatment.

It’s not all about money. It’s about relationship. Is it time to become part of a Common Change group?

It’s the Relationship!








Another week, another need met by a Common Change Group.

But this time it’s different!

Why? Because it was my ‘CONNECT’ Common Change group and because it was my need that I had shared.

Kayamandi is the name of an African township just outside Stellenbosch in Cape Town. It is also the township where, for eighteen months before I got married, I lived.

The recipient of this particular need is a friend of mine, Fezile. And by us meeting this need we will be helping him and some friends of his establish a group that helps keep youth off the streets in the K [as I like to call it] and doing something more productive with their lives.

They will be starting with cleaning equipment as they look to create an identity as a group and clean up some of the trash that tends to build up in some of the poorer parts of the township. Then they will be moving on to playing board games and creating space for soccer and a gymnasium. Their main focus, as mentioned, is providing an alternative for the youths of the township who might otherwise find themselves getting into trouble.

So when I think of why I like being a part of a Common Change group, this is always one of the reasons that comes up. The giving is connected to the recipient by one degree of separation. Somebody in the group ALWAYS knows the person who is receiving the benefit from the money at the end. So beyond simply throwing money at a need, we are empowering someone in the group [this time, me] to meet the need of a friend [Fezile] and to walk a journey with them. A journey of encouragement and accountability and cheering on.

Seeing needs being met is always an exciting and encouraging thing. But it is that little bit better when I know the person in mind and the community that this is going to impact.

This is as easy as grabbing a bunch of mates and saying to them, “Hey, let’s give this a try for six months.” What have you got to lose? Register today at


Skills Training

Have you ever dreamed of a better future?

Daniel is a keen young man, eager to enter university in Ghana, but a lack of funds means he may have to settle for no higher education.

That’s where Common Change got involved. Daniel’s friend is a member of a Common Change group.  He brainstormed with Daniel, and Daniel came up with the idea of taking a foundational computer course while he tries to gather the funds necessary for university. The amount involved for the foundational course was $450 for the next 6 months. The group was happy to pay this to help Daniel get closer to his dream of a university education.

Some needs we meet are small. Others seem much larger. Who knows the possible impact this first step could have on Daniel, on his family and perhaps even his community or country?

We take our little and combine it with that of our friends in our group and pretty soon new possibilities become visible as needs are shared and met.

How can you get creative in meeting the needs around you?

Emergency Assistance

Have you ever known someone who was in a serious accident? 

Josie, the friend of a Common Change member, was biking to work and got thrown off her bicycle. Despite wearing a helmet, she sustained serious damage to her mouth which required many complicated and painful medical procedures.

While in a long drawn-out recovery, limited to a soft food diet and still in a lot of pain, Josie faced long, frustrating battles with the Insurance company she was with at the time, facing many obstacles and frustrations along the way.

As the official channels continued to move at a snail’s pace, the oral surgeon prepared to send the account into debt collection, which would add damage to Josie’s credit history on top of the other emotional and physical toll this has taken on her.

Which is when her friend jumped in and shared the need with her Common Change group. Before too long, the group was able to contribute $2896 towards paying for the charges already incurred from the dentist, the CT scan, and the oral surgeon. The insurance company had denied the claim at this point and so the whole amount was falling on to Josie.

Josie still has a long journey ahead of her, but thanks to a group of people who have committed to combining their resources to meet the needs of people they know and care about, she was able to get some relief.

Imagine the possibilities that can occur when you decide to commit some of your resources towards meeting the needs of others.

Is it time you signed up and got your very own group going?