I feel you. That’s always hard - there’s the obvious thing, donating to organizations doing good work, but not everyone can afford to do that, or can afford to give to the measure they’d like to. Generally, going to volunteer somewhere can do more harm than good and isn’t an effective way of helping people and areas in need. And ‘raising awareness’ is so often a hollow, shallow tool that isn’t utilized to really spur other people to action and compassion the way it’s supposed to - I definitely feel and share your pain here.
What I’d suggest doing is, if you have some free time, volunteer with an organization - don’t go overseas to build a school or a well, but take some time to understand how aid and development work happens and some of the difficulties of doing good work. You’ll learn a lot about the organization and the people they work with, and they’ll definitely appreciate it: you’ll also get to talk to some amazing people and learn from them.
Then, use that information to really raise awareness and provoke change: challenge the way people think about development, conflict, and the world. Adjust the choices you make (buying fair trade, how you use your resources) and persuade other people to examine and adjust theirs as well. Try to live your life as a global citizen and catalize not just awareness, but action and justice.
It’s hard, and it’s often really difficult to see how exactly that “helps,” because it’s not immediately tangible. But ultimately, I think that has a really great capacity to change the world, and it’s something that people with even just a little bit of time can do.
Some great organizations I’d recommend donating to, volunteering for, and learning from:
-Us! (Oh, like there wasn’t going to be a plug in here somewhere.)
-Engineers Without Borders Canada (amazing wealth of volunteer opportunities all across Canada and no, you don’t have to be an engineer)
-Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders
Best of luck!