Valentine's Day: How to do good and more in international life category

Valentine’s Day can be so much more than spending money on cards, flowers and trinkets. You can show love by doing good. In this post we give you ideas how to make a difference and show love. Read on why and how to make a special gift that keeps on giving. Global needs have seldom been bigger, and in a shrinking world we see too much expression of fear, loathing and indifference. As a humanitarian, I prefer a donation over a flower any day – but especially so on Valentine’s Day, which is supposed to express love, friendship and hope. How about it? Would you too like to show your love by giving to those in need – in the name of your Happy Valentine? 

Valentine’s Day: What Is It? 

According to Wikipedia:

Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14. It originated as a WesternChristianliturgical feast day honoring one or more early saints named Valentinus, and is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country.”

We know of at least three Saints called Valentine, of which two were martyred on February 14th. The connection with love is a rather recent invention from around the 18th century, when cards and trinkets started to express romance. It has developed into a commercial success. It is also a pressure point for many. “Did you, or did you not, get as many cards as I did?” 

In Slovenia, Saint Valentine or Zdravko was one of the saints of spring, the saint of good health and the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims. A proverb says that “Saint Valentine brings the keys of roots”. Plants and flowers start to grow on this day. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on that day.  

In Finland and Estonia Valentine’s Day is known as “Friend’s Day”. As the name indicates, this day is more about remembering friends, not significant others. 

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Whether you connect February 14th with love, friendship or spring – you can connect the three meanings in one very powerful gift.

Valentine's Day can mean love, friendship or spring - illustrated by heart shaped balloons

Valentine’s Day: A Gift of Love, Friendship and Hope

This post is not intended as a political statement. If anything it is an expression of hope that we can do things differently. We can do good. We can show our love, friendship and extend hope. You can give to charity, donate to a cause or volunteer. You can do this together with your partner, for your partner, or in the name of someone you hold dear. 

Valentine’s Day: For A Better World

When we take a look at the situation around the world the plight of many strike us. Refugees, children, civilians caught up in conflict and natural disasters are but to name a few. The world seems to have shrunk from its ability to lend a hand, openly support and donate to those in need. We see our global picture change as a result of fear, xenophobia and outright racism.

International Living develops a different view of what 'home' means, illustrated by people running around the globe.As a humanitarian, I cannot and will not stand by this. As a third generation international nomad, a TCK , the idea that what is different limits us —  is only as limiting as the borders we create ourselves. I reiterate that this is not a political statement, but my expression of hope for a better world. 

Do Good – Donation

How about if you take a bit of the monies you normally spend on flowers, dates and trinkets and do a donation? It makes a huge difference to those in need, and your loved one will be impressed too. Together you can do good, as every gesture, cent and penny make a difference.

  • Aid Workers: If you on the front lines of a natural or man-made emergency; or support the work to make the world a better place — you are already extending a hand of love, friendship and hope. By doing what you do – you act as an Ambassador for your organisation. Idea: If you invite in volunteers on 14 February you can open eyes, create new humanitarians, and enable thoughts that contribute to change. 
  • Donate: Look at the internet can see how you can donate to well-known organisations and NGOs. You can donate in the name of your Valentine, and make a very much appreciated gift at the same time. Here are some examples: 

Save The Children

This Valentine’s Day celebrate someone in your life with a gift that’s truly special – a gift of love for a child in need. With your donation of $20 or more, Save The Children will include a personalized Gift Card.


Valentine’s Day Inspired Gifts are real lifesaving items that UNICEF will send in honour of your valentine to children in need. Spend $10 or more and give food, vaccine, schoolbags etc for children around the world. UNICEF will send a card to your Valentine. 

World Food Programme

Be a lifeline. Act now and give food to hungry children and their families. A one time donation to WFP of $15 gives a 1 month supply of food to a hungry child.  Or – Set up a monthly donation now to become a ZeroHunger Hero

Red Cross

Amid the chaos and despair of conflict, the International Committee of the Red Cross is a unique sign of hope to those whose lives have been shattered by war. You can donate in your name, or for someone you love.

Valentine’s Day: Sharing, Caring and Giving 

Do you, like me, know someone who suffers from an illness? Valentine’s Day can be the opportunity to spend time, share moments and extend friendship and hope.London Marathon 2016 is Simon's Run for Life in Support of Cancer Research Uk, illustrated by Awareness Ribbon. Read more on

You can also take this idea and visit a relative, who is perhaps in Senior accommodation? Or volunteer for an animal sanctuary, or a local church charity. 

Making 14th of February about a bigger cause makes a difference. Not only to those you extend your gesture to, but to yourself. If you give love, friendship and hope – the feeling and emotion you get back is 10fold. 

For a Cause

You can also send a card and donate as part of the process, or find a cause you care about. Here are some ideas: 

Charity Gift Cards (USA)

 Give a charitable gift that allows the recipient to designate the charity of his/her choice. 


Send a Valentine’s Day eCard and donate the cost of a greeting card to charity. 


JustGiving is a global online social platform for giving. Select the causes you care about. Donate to individuals, organisations or events. 

Volunteer Online and Off

You’ve got the power and the passion to make a difference on any issue you want – will help you get it done.

Valentine's Day with a difference illustrated by heart and brain taking a selfie

Valentine’s Day: Love, Friendship and Hope

Flowers, cards and trinkets are the traditional way to tell someone you care. Why not combine it with giving to a cause, event or organisation that makes a difference in other peoples lives? 

You can spend the day on a date, or share it as part of a volunteer group. If that isn’t a new way to really show what you’re made of — s/he ain’t worth it! The person or group that you give your time to, will treasure and find hope beyond what words can express. 

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama

In a world where negativity flows too easy, finding ways to shine a light on what matters can be tough. Positive actions makes borders between people and nations thiner. Good will always shine through. 

Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing. If you like articles to Feel, Be and Do Good – every day and working (far) away – feel free to join our mailing list here below. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Copyright and Terms of Use