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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Fundraising for children’s future

Reading Time: 4 minutesTwo enterprising and compassionate mums have joined forces to support global charities for children’s education

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Bindi Shah and Susan Day. Age, nationalities and a lot of other factors set them apart. Their priorities, lifestyles and even the reasons to get involved in charity work are different; but as they joined hands, something great materialised! These enterprising ladies have been running a hugely successful annual garage sale in Beecroft for the last four years, to raise money for various charities that focus on children’s education. And they have a beautiful and inspiring story to tell.

Bindi and Susan’s story is packed with elements of their generosity, compassion and determination, and is unusual because they don’t represent any organisation and are not a registered charity.

“I wanted to donate my time to help people, instead of giving away some money and forgetting about it”, said Bindi Shah, explaining how she got into the organising of this massive sale. I could relate to what she was saying, as for a lot of us moms who complain about less time in our lives, here was an exception. Bindi and her Australian friend Susan – busy moms themselves, were working for a worthy cause and spending a lot of time, their most valuable asset, in organising this event.

So why didn’t they simply collect money, as a lot of other charity organisations do.

“I always had this dislike towards wasting things. I believed that good things are to be passed on, not just trashed. So here was a method by which we could pass on pre-loved things and yet raise money; and I thought it is recycling at its best!” explained Susan. “New unopened items like unwanted Christmas gifts, we even get stuff without the wrappers removed! And as they go to people who would actually appreciate them, it makes much more sense. Plus, the money thus obtained goes to the needy who build up a life on those dollars”, added Bindi.

They are right, philanthropy is not just for financially well-off people. Any of us could and should do this! Putting in a few hours of their lives here is the means of a hot meal a day for 50 children in New Delhi for the whole year – the incentive that lures them from slums to the Guru Nanak Garib Niwaj Educational Society school, as part of the ‘Come to school for a meal’ deal! The funds collected through the garage sale also pay a teacher’s salary a year at the Mary McKillop School in East Timor, and for educational purposes for a school in Papua New Guinea. Bindi and Susan have picked these charities through research and advise from friends also supporting the same charities.

But both ladies were certain of one thing as they decided to invest their time and energy into this project. “If we are donating the money, it should be for the benefit of children”, they averred. They believe that educating children creates a better future. Often the education of children is an area which gets the least priority when it comes to helping people! This is why Susan and Bindi could identify with the US based charity ‘Room to Read’ when they realised that it partners with local communities around the world to develop libraries and construct classrooms to promote literacy and gender equality. A share from the fundraising goes to this charity too, which has truly impressed Bindi and Susan with their objectives.

Another thing both Susan and Bindi agree upon is that this experience of fundraising is a positive influence on their own children too, who are growing up witnessing these deeds of kindness. And this has a positive reflection on them as can be seen by Jaini, Bindi’s teenage daughter, who gives up her weekends for months to help her mom sort out donated stuff!  “I think my boy has learnt to appreciate that we are among the more fortunate people who can buy things that we need, and we have the responsibility of sharing those things with our less fortunate fellow humans”, claimed Susan, a nurse by profession This is a valuable lesson that every mom wants their child to learn in life.

Having organised this fundraising garage sale since the past four years now, their concept is already quite popular. “People know us locally in and around Beecroft, and we put up posters and banners of the sale as far and wide as possible. The sale is in Autumn, but donations start pouring in months in advance and towards the D-day, our personal storage spaces overflow with stuff!” said Bindi. Even the Beecroft Scout Hall where the sale is held, offers them the venue free of cost. The most rewarding part is that they collected $6000 from last year’s sale from all the donations received. This is indeed an achievement for the two women who support each other’s passion with willingness and kind hearts, and their families and a few friendly volunteers who lend a hand.

Of course, a lot of people think Bindi and Susan are moving in the right direction and are keen to support their cause.  This is obvious from the queues in front of the Beecroft Scout Hall on the days of their garage sale. So here’s wishing these enterprising ladies all the best in their upcoming sale. Their contribution is going to make a difference to many young lives.

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