A Quick Message About Donations – Please consider donating to “Doctors Without Borders” to help people in need

This is a quick message not a full episode and I just wanted to say a few words about donations, essentially this: If you’re thinking of sending me a donation this Christmas, you could instead consider sending your donation to a charity in order to help people who are in need of our assistance at the moment. So, rather than sending something to me, send it to others, by using a reputable charity like Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) by going to www.msf.org/en/donate



In a recent episode I mentioned that you might want to donate to LEP as a way of wishing me a Merry Christmas and saying thanks for my work.

I’ve already received a few donations – so thank you very much if you’re one of the people who sent me something. It’s really kind of you to support my work on this podcast. I appreciate your contributions, I really do.

But today I was thinking about this, and I would like to say again, that instead of sending a donation to me for this podcast this Christmas, that instead you might consider donating some money to charity.

Because there are loads of people out there who right now are having a really bad time, and through no fault of their own they’re suffering – either because they are living in a place with no system of care, or they’re just stuck in the middle of a political or military conflict or an environmental situation that they have no control over.

There are many people all over the world in impossible situations, and in the vast majority of cases it’s not their fault – it’s nothing to do with them really – it’s governments, corrupt politicians or the effects of climate change. These people are just trying to live their lives but forces outside of their control mean that they can’t – not even in the most basic way – they’re being stripped of the absolute basics.

I think about the people of Aleppo in Syria for example – thousands and thousands of civilians are caught up in this extremely messed up international conflict, a conflict in which so many different factions are involved – the governments of many of our countries together with extremist groups like ISIS are all involved in this extremely complicated situation. It’s a horrendous conflict and there are just ordinary people stuck in the middle of it – whole cities of people just smashed to the ground and what for? They’re the victims of an ideological and economic proxy war which we don’t even really understand.

The fact is, these people need our help, quite frankly.

So I’d like to say – actually, don’t send any contributions to me because I’m alright this Christmas. I’ll be with my family having a good time – maybe having an argument about the rules of Monopoly or something or perhaps feeling a bit sick because I’ve eaten or drunk too much, but I’ll be doing more than alright, all things considered.

And since I’ve got some people who listen to this podcast, I thought I might just suggest that you send money to a charity that will use that contribution to give medical care and support to people who have basically been forgotten or ignored.

Because your health is the most important thing, right?

As long as you’ve got your health, you’re alright. Obviously, we’re all striving for more than that – we want success, to achieve things in our work or in our language learning. But ultimately, your health is the basis for any type of quality of life.

Some people can’t even be sure of that. They can’t even be sure about just the most basic of human needs.

So, I think you get it – I’m not trying to guilt trip you or anything. I just want you to consider making a contribution to a charity for Christmas.

Obviously you don’t have to, it’s just a suggestion.

Now, it’s a little bit tricky donating to charity – because by giving money to an organisation you’re saying to them – Here you go, now I completely trust you to actually use that money for good things, and that you won’t just spend it yourself on some cake or something, or give it to corrupt leaders for whatever reason.

When you give to charity you are basically putting your trust in that organisation to spend it properly and in the most effective way possible.

  • It seems that before you make a donation you need to make sure it’s a reputable charity with good ratings in areas like:
  • Their overall mission and to what extent they actually accomplish it
  • Their goals and how they measure their own performance and evaluate their achievements
  • Their financial records – including details of exactly how the money is spent
  • Guarantees that they are neutral, impartial and independent – and not affiliated with governments or other organisations that might take a cut of the money
  • Where and how they actually use the money
  • To what extent they use emotional blackmail in their campaigns, or to what extent they prey on weaker people to give donations – both of which I think are signs of disreputable organisations

There are services that allow you to check the trustworthiness and effectiveness of charities, like for example charitynavigator.org

So, with all those things in mind I’m recommending that you donate to Doctors Without Borders, also known as Medecins Sans Frontiers or MSF. www.msf.org/en/donate

On their website:
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.
Our actions are guided by medical ethics and the principles of neutrality and impartiality.

They are performing a vital role in giving basic medical care to people who have been forgotten or ignored by people in power. Much of their work is done in Africa, in Asia and also in the middle east providing care for Syrian refugees.

One of the things I like about them is that they take a politically neutral position.

More words from their website:
MSF’s work is based on humanitarian principles. We are committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.
MSF operates independently. We conduct our own evaluations on the ground to determine people’s needs. More than 90 per cent of our overall funding comes from millions of private sources, not governments.
MSF is neutral. We do not take sides in armed conflicts, we provide care on the basis of need, and we push for independent access to victims of conflict as required under international humanitarian law.

Doctors Without Borders is one of the most widely known international charities involved in many Middle Eastern conflicts, including the Syrian civil war. Doctors Without Borders has been crucial in their medical aid to Syrian Refugees, especially in the neighbouring nations of Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan. Their stellar work has landed them very high rankings on Charity Navigator.

So, they seem to be a charity who will do their best to spend as much of our donations as possible on actually helping people.

So, please consider sending something to them over the Christmas period.

It’s really simple to do – just go to MSF.org and click donate. You can choose how much you give, but I am sure that every penny counts. It could make a massive difference to someone’s life, allowing them some relief, comfort or care at this time of year.

OK, so that’s all I wanted to say! Thanks for listening and have a good Christmas.



  • Wesley

    Hello Luke,
    Thank you very much for reminding me to make a donation this Christmas. We so often complain about our lives and forget that other people are facing problems which are much worse than ours. It was very compassionate of you to tell us to donate to MSF rather than to LEP. I’ve just sent some money to MSF via its regional office in my country and it was really easy. I can say I feel a better person now since it can make someone else’s Christmas better and it’s safe to say that all that was possible thanks to you.
    I wish you and your family a Happy Christmas!
    All the best,

    • Catherine Bear

      How right you are, Wesley. Well said! :)

      I think, LEPsters generally belong to the category of the people who see a glass half full (rather than half empty) — I mean we all are overly positive, open minded and optimistic creatures. :))
      Happy holidays,

      • Nick

        Many people say that I’m a pessimist. So I guess not all of us “are overly positive, open minded and optimistic creatures” ;)) At least not always.

      • Catherine Bear

        Really? I’m suprised. I thought of you in this way. You never occured to me as pessimistic (judging from your comments here). Maybe they meant “realistic”? If you were pessimistic, you would never learn a foreign language, because you would be thinking “Oh, screw it, I’ll never learn it. :(” And also you would never participate in the comments section, thinking “What the use? Nobody would ever answer me. Or they would say negative things. :(”
        What do you say? :)

      • Nick

        I totally agree with you, Cat! I aways answer that I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist and that people who say that I’m a pessimist always don’t believe me :))

      • Catherine Bear

        and also you have to be an optimist if you work with hardware and software. Notably, they always present some troubles. If you were a pessimist, you would throw them out of the window or chop them down to pieces with a chair.

        Besides you teach people (and the olderly one to the bargain) — so you really have to stay optimistic. It needs a lot of patience. Older people understand slow and have thousands of questions, and you have to motivate them to stay optimistic.

        On the other hand, maybe you can learn from their optimism as well. Because if older people start to learn computer stuff, they have to be optimistic! What do you say?

      • Nick

        Yes, you’re right, Cat. When I see how much older people want to know in that difficult subject and many of them doesn’t quit to the end of the course even when they don’t understand many things I definitely learn from their optimism. And also do you know how they’re happy when they again can say to everybody that they’re attending school like back in their young days. I’m happy for them at that moment :)

      • Catherine Bear

        You have a generous and kind heart, Nick — you are a true teacher! Keep up your great work. We need people like you, like Luke, like Anthonio and others. It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by beautiful people (even if it is a virtual environment). :)

      • Nick

        Thanks a lot! We also need people like you, Cat! ;) Who can unite all the LEPsters together :)

      • Catherine Bear

        Well, that is an optimistic message indeed! :)
        Thanks a lot, Nick!
        Have a nice day!
        Cat, enjoying the Christmas holidays (ура, наконец-то!) :))

      • Ptholome

        I agree with you Nick.

        My wife tell me the same and I always tell her that I try to solve any problem when things become bad. because for the good things we don’t need to do anything. She says I am a pessimistic person when I am only a person thinking how to solve a bad situation in the future and mainly how to avoid it.

        My answer is always do you remember only once we needed money for anything and we didn’t have it? Non she says… That’s my job.

      • Nick

        Yes, Antonio. I also don’t think that a person who is trying to prepare for everything even for bad things is a pessimist. I think it’s realism: wait for good but to be ready for bad.

      • Catherine Bear

        Hi Nick! How are you? I hope you have made the New Year’s resolution to be more optimistic this year. ;)
        See what damage can pessimism do to people:
        I wish you a healthy and wealthy New Year!

      • Nick

        Hi, Cat! I’m okay,thanks.
        How is your plan to spend holiday time watching Russian movies?
        No, I haven’t made the New Year’s resolution to be more optimistic this year, because I’m too pessimistic to believe in such things :))
        I also wish you and you family all the best in a New year!


      • Catherine Bear

        Thank you, Nick, for this philosophical thought at the beginning of the year. :)

        How about this one:
        “The life is a mirror, if you frown at it, it frowns back; if you smile, it returns the greeting.”
        — William Makepeace Thakeray (1811-1863), English author

        PS: Yes, thanks, watched some old Soviet films (like “The Girls”, “Office Romance” etc.), but also went to the pictures to see “The Rogue One” — so a lot of pictures, old and old-new… also listened to lots of OPPs while jogging — so quite the routine things as well. Hope you are enjoying your holidays too. :)

      • Nick

        What is your impression about “The Rogue One” ;)

      • Catherine Bear

        A bit too much of a WAR to me. :)
        In the beginnning, a bit dark and a bit too slow.
        Good performance by Felicity Jones, liked it.
        Liked the droid, dry and a bit dark as well.
        My son freaked out as DV appeared with his lightsaber at the end.
        The last scene was like “Wow! How can it be?!” A bit sad because of the recent news. The life is short.
        How did you like the film, Nick?

      • Nick

        I haven’t seen the film yet. I think I will watch it at home, in English. I want to hear their own voices :)

  • Yaron

    I’m not a christian, and I’m not celebrate Christmas… anyhow, well, I guess that this is what Christmas spirit all about. It’s always important to remember to be kind and good to other people, and help to the weak.

    Happy Christmas, Happy New year, or in general, happy holidays to all.

    • Catherine Bear

      Me neither. But it is a good occasion — as you say, dear Yaron — to be even more compassionate and give light to everyone (no matter of religion etc.) :)

      • Yaron

        Shalom to you too :)
        I like this word because it means both: Hello & Peace (and also could use for goodbye)
        So, (I wish) Shalom to everyone.

  • Olga Litvinchuk

    “To donate to MSF, please click on the URL of your nearest MSF office:”

    Luke, to be honest I don’t know how to donate in different countries ( I did once a payment in Ukraine, but there many difficulties. could you please help and say what do to if I’m from Belarus. Should I contact with them? access@msf.org
    Maybe this question can ask any people from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia.
    (because, you know, we don’t have euros as the main currency in our countries)

    If you know, can you provide me with some instructions, please.

    p.s. I’ve got an idea, maybe “remittance” would be easy?

    tomorrow I’ll ask accountant from work how to it from my city.

    • If you have a credit card you should be able to pay using any of the country links. I suggest clicking UK (because everything will be in English) and then continuing by choosing your donation amount, then adding your address and credit card details. See if it works. If not, then perhaps as your accountant. Let me know if you have any issues.

    • Nick

      Do you have a Yandex account? You can use their Money service and pay easily. You can even register a virtual credit card and pay on any cite in every country.
      It’s not an Advert. I’m just using it and it’s super easy to pay everywhere. I even transfered money to Luke without using PayPal or any local bank, but frankly I don’t know how it went, with success or not, but they decreased amount of my wallet anyway :))

      • Catherine Bear

        Usually Luke replies personally if he gets the notificiation from his bank about a donation. At least, he did it in my case.

      • Nick

        Well, shit happens :))

      • Nick

        I mean that probably he didn’t get my donation.

      • I might have received your donation Nick but without your full name I might not know it’s from you. I only know you here as Nick. When did you send it? And what name did you give? (send me an email if you prefer – use “Contact” in the menu above)

      • Nick

        Thanks for your letter Luke! I happy to know that banks found a way to transfer money safely. I already tried to buy a mug, but they sent me a message that there is some problem with a payment. And I was very upset that I couldn’t send you neither money nor buy a mug. At least half of my efforts had a success and it’s good.

      • Catherine Bear

        Don’t be pessimistic, Nick ;)
        Maybe he didn’t get the notification yet. It usually takes a long time……..
        From a German bank to a UK bank (within the EU system), for example, it can take up to 10 days.
        So, there is hope. :)

      • Nick

        Well I used a way of paying with a credit card on PayPal page, maybe something went wrong…
        Anyway I think I can buy his mug or T-shirt.

  • Catherine Bear

    Luke, thank you for reminding us to be more generous and give away to those in need. What a Good Samaritan you are. :)

    Take care and enjoy wrapping up your presents + say hello and thank you to your family!

    Looking forward to the new episodes on the boxing day (yeah!!!) :)


  • Ptholome

    done: Ref No: W0071557

    • Catherine Bear

      Dear Ptholome, you are a good leader, you are the first to be the good example. Well done! :)
      Feliz Navidad! :)

      • Ptholome

        The leader is not me but Luke who has donated my donation to “Doctors without borders” in fact, I only have changed the receptor of the money. He is the one deserving our admiration.

      • Catherine Bear

        True! :)
        Are you singing Belen, Campanas de Belen today with your grandchildren? Or do they sing English songs only? Do they sing The First Noel?
        Merry Christmas to you and your family! :)

      • Ptholome

        No, Cat. I don’t remember the Christmas songs though when I am at home I put the Cd on the DVd player and play them all the morning until my wife complains and stops it. I suppose she has not good memories from her Christmas childhood or maybe it is only that she is not Spanish and don’t understand our Christmas feast. So here I am trying to sing English song but I don’t have the lyrics.
        And also I am a very bad singer.

      • Catherine Bear

        Well, you could try “Les anges dans nos campagnes” with your wife. Or “Il est né le divin enfant”.

        Luke you too. Luke has a good voice. :)

        You see, Christmas time is all about singing to me. I know many of those in different languages (used to sing in an international choir and we would give concerts for charity reasons in churches at Christmas time). But since I moved to different regions because of my work, unfortunately I’ve lost that community…

      • Ptholome

        I love French Christmas song like
        Petit papa Noël
        quand tu descendras du ciel,
        avec de jouets par milliers.
        N’oublie pas mal petits souliers….

      • Catherine Bear

        French is just beautiful! And also so difficult. I’d love to learn French (it has been on my learn wish list for so many years now). It is almost impossible to start to learn a language if there is no external and urgent push to learn (especially in the adult age).

        Only songs remain. Songs are like windows into other languages (i.e. other worlds); they can connect people and break the first barrier.

      • Ptholome

        I believe that with Spanish, French, and English I can speak to 2 milliards of people all around de world.

      • Catherine Bear

        Lucky you, Ptholome!

      • Ptholome

        It is only true I was a big traveler. I am not so I will only speak Spanish with a few people, French with much less, and English with not many. finally no more than 150. So the two milliards is only a kind of joke.

      • Ptholome

        You are “Una caja llena de sorpresas” a box full of surprises Cat. How people could think you were an IA software.

        Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad. Buon natale