It started with one child, generously donating her birthday money to the cause. Followed by another child who felt so moved by Mrs. Papneja’s presentation at Fern Hill School, that he came forward with loose change from his pocket because he felt other children could benefit from it more than he could. And in that way, we kicked off our Diwali Fundraiser at Fern Hill School 2 years ago, raising $2500.00 the first year and $4200.00 last year.
What prompted such a fantastic effort? Why was it so easy to get everyone, including parents and faculty on board? Sim- ple. Children educating other children, children empowering other children. Education, the great equalizer–something that our kids take for granted, something that is a coveted experience for so many in India, something that has the ability to be so life altering not only for the child, but his/her family and community. Education has the power to transform not only the lives of the student but has such far reaching positive ripple effects.
The children and families at Fern Hill School have embraced the cause and joined hands with AIM for Seva. The fund- raising done at school has added something extra special to our annual Diwali celebration. In addition to the colorful Diwali assembly, complete with songs, dancing, a fashion show in traditional clothes, and a presentation on the meaning of Diwali, we have added the fundraising aspect, challenging each class to donate and compete with each other to be the class that donates the most. This competitive spirit and enthusiasm has allowed us to go from sponsoring 5 children in our first year to 8 children last year. This does not happen without the support of the parent volunteers and teachers who volunteer their time and energy to putting on a Bollywood extravaganza. But at the end of the day, it’s about teaching our kids compassion, teaching them that if they are interested and committed, they can make a difference in the lives of many, one child at a time.
Priya Suppal, BSc, MD, CCFP, FCFP, Medical Director, Shoppers World and Main Street Medical Centres, Active Staff, William Osler Health Centre, Brampton Civic Site, Associate Professor, Family Medicine, McMaster University.