Every Little Bit Makes A Difference - The Magic Of True Givingby Mamapumpkin
Posted on 25 July 2013
It has always been my quest to raise kind, happy and well-mannered children who are inspired with life, and within this quest is an area to exercise a charitable heart and to teach them the meaning of true giving.
What is true giving?
It is the unconditional act of offering something tangible or intangible without any expectation nor agenda, wholeheartedly.
Recently, together with 2 friends, we organised a Kids for Kids Bazaar where we rounded up the Children of Malaysia (aged 5 to 15) to come up with a business plan for a one day retail business model. They were to decide how they were going to make money on Sale Day, decide what they wanted to sell, work out the cost of goods and decide how much they were selling them for. All profit AND costs were to go directly to the Children of Myanmar, some 280 kids whom some friends of mine support in Yangon. We had offered the Children of Malaysia a workshop to assist and prepare them for this, showed them how to design signages for their stalls, taught them how to calculate their costs of goods and profit and take stock of their goods.
The kids were amazing. They came up with all sorts of ideas – songs, riddles, jewellery, homemade drinks, art work, games, swimming lessons, cookies, sandwiches, homemade wrapping paper, pre-loved toys, they were all up for sale. Oh, and my dearest daughter sold hand sewn tissue pouches. At the same time, the Children of Myanmar (whom we support) had also done some art work and homemade cards made from dried flowers for us to sell in Malaysia that very day. All in all, we had made RM27,000 and all the 3 months of hard work and sweat had paid off. This money is now being used for the education of some of the older kids in Myanmar.
The Children of Malaysia learnt some big lessons. They learnt how to run a retail business, they learnt how HARD it was to make so little money (stalls were only opened for 4 hours that day but they had spent the hour before setting them up and weeks preparing for their little business), they learnt to be more creative, they learnt to communicate better, but most of all, they learnt that after all that hard work, they were still more fortunate than the Children of Myanmar. With all that hard work, they’d have expected to at least keep some of the profit, or at least keep their cost of goods. But therein lies the lesson. This was a GIFT to the Children of Myanmar. If they weren’t prepared to give wholeheartedly, then they could not participate.
I personally thought it was a success as we had raised the funds and my objectives were met that the Children of Malaysia learnt such valuable lessons. Likewise, the Children of Myanmar had also prepared homemade thank you cards to the Children of Malaysia, hand written, to genuinely thank them for their efforts in raising funds to support them. We had given the Children of Malaysia certificates of participation and prizes for the Most Enterprising Business, Most Creative Business and the Most Profitable Business. The Children of Malaysia also received goody bags that were sponsored out of our own pockets filled with soap, free sewing lessons, free swimming lessons, stationery and other such goodies. We had organised performances for the entertainment of our guests that day. We had put in a lot of our own money to make the event a success. We received tremendous support from Bangsar Village, our venue provider and the Star, who wrote about our cause and BFM who interviewed us prior.
Yet, there were unhappy people that day. Unappreciative of the incredible efforts that we had undertaken to do this and because we were all full time working Moms, except for one who ran her own business (so you can imagine how full time that alone was), things were not perfect. Some people had complaints when things did not go their way. I do not know the exact details of the complaints but I did hear that people were asking if the money raised were really going to the Children of Myanmar or to fund my Chanel hobby. Comments like that really hurt.
Why couldn’t everyone just do good and have a great time?
Some parents made their kids participate not for the learning but to promote their own individual businesses. Some wanted the participation certificate to add another tick onto their kids’ extra-curricular resume. Some wanted to get rid of junk (which is fine as long as your kids learnt the lesson). Some were not happy that their own kids did not win. Sigh.
Where did the art of true giving get lost in translation?
Because the idea went down well, we have had many requests to hold another event next year so that those who could not participate this year (due to lack of space, we sold out 30 tables) could participate. Most who participated this year also wanted another event next year and have asked us to inform them accordingly. We have a waiting list!
But you know, it takes just a few rotten apples to really dampen our spirits in doing good. So I remind myself that we cannot please everyone and that those who get it, get it. And those who don’t might never get it. My commitment to the Children of Myanmar does not stop so I guess soon, we will have to kick our butts into gear again to start organising next year’s Kids for Kids Bazaar…...
To read up on our bazaar this year -
Who’s up for helping me?
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