Most of us have heard of the international NGOs Doctors Without Borders and Engineers Without Borders, and you might know about Reporters Without Borders. But what about Monks Without Borders? Or Clowns? Here's a list of borderless organizations you really should hear about.
1. Bikes Without Borders
Bikes Without Borders is a Canadian non-profit group that travels the world distributing bicycles to developing communities. They operate under the assumption that something really small – two wheels, two pedals and a set of gears – can help people do some really big things, like access health care, go to school and start businesses.
2. Astronomers Without Borders
The California-based group Astronomers Without Borders is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a group of idealistic star-gazers who travel around bringing knowledge about the night sky to people all over the world, “regardless of earthly differences in culture, nationality or religion.” If we’re busy looking up, pointing and gasping appreciatively, we can’t start wars, right?
3. Burners Without Borders
Burners Without Borders is a small but eccentric troop of do-gooders—all of whom have attended Burning Man, an annual carnival in the Nevada desert—who travel the world, from Peru to Botswana, promoting “radical self-expression” and “self-reliance” in developing communities.
4. Chemists Without Borders
You wouldn’t think chemists need much more than a windowless lab and an endless supply of beakers to get their work done, but think again: Chemists Without Borders brings scientists to developing communities, where they provide mentoring and information to help people access safe water, create sustainable energy supplies and deal safely with hazardous chemicals.
5. Clowns Without Borders
Clowns Without Borders is no joke. This goofy, San Francisco-based group of jesters trips, pratfalls and pogo-sticks all around the world, to refugee camps, conflict zones and crisis areas—from Haiti to India, from Colombia to Burma—to bring laughter, circus performances and, yes, big red plastic noses, to children who need some levity.
6. Kangaroo Without Borders
Kangaroo Without Borders has, unfortunately, nothing to do with transporting bounding marsupials across national boundary lines. Instead, this group of math-loving Australians spend their spare time organizing mathematics competitions for young people all around the world—who then, presumably, bound marsupial-like into brighter futures.
7. Geeks Without Borders
From its home base in Eugene, Oregon, Geeks Without Borders accepts donations of old computers and other technologies and then distributes them to orphanages, schools and other organizations around the world, where people wouldn’t otherwise have access to such life and career-changing tools.
8. Words Without Borders
Words Without Borders, run by a small cadre of literary activists, publishes stories written by international authors from every race and creed, in order to connect wordsmiths with one another and foster a “global literary conversation.”
9. Pirates Without Borders
Yar! Pirates Without Borders is a loose gang of likeminded mates who believe in “free knowledge, free culture” and “free software” — and are willing to “sail the seven seas” of the internet pillaging pay walls and pirate patented products as they go.
10. Monks Without Borders
As in the case of the chemists, you wouldn’t think monks need much more than a quiet slab of cold floor and a sweet haircut to get the job done, but Monks Without Borders will have you know otherwise. This motley team of “monks, nuns, priests, rabbis, swamis, imams, and clergy members from all the world’s religious traditions” travel the world promoting non-violence and interfaith cooperation wherever they go.