Friday, June 30, 2006

Compassion for poor and suffering

Young Sikh Girl raises money for Canadian Red Cross

Few children make a point of catching the latest edition of World Vision on television. For most kids, the dire circumstances of others their age living without food, water and shelter, and suffering the horrifying effects of AIDS, in the Third-World nations, don't register.

But Japnaam Kaur isn't like other children.

Since age four or five, she has asked her parents to choose channels that are playing World Vision when they sit down to watch TV.

And once the program ends, she always says the same thing: "I want to help them."

With the help of her parents, her school and other children in her neighbourhood, the seven-year-old set up a lemonade stand and recently raised $290 for the Canadian Red Cross.

"I wanted to raise money so that those children can have food, and so that not a lot of people will die from AIDS anymore," Japnaam said.

But she never imagined that her little lemonade stand, along with other stands some friends set up in support of Japnaam's efforts, would be such a hit.

"We sent notes home with kids at Lester B. Pearson school and St. Luke school, asking other people to help out," Japnaam said. "But I only thought we'd make about $50."

Mother Nature had other ideas. A hot, sunny Saturday recently enabled the children to collect boxes upon boxes full of coins.

"We charged 25 cents or a donation," Japnaam said. "One person liked the lemonade so much they had five cups."

It was a lesson for all the children who helped out that day-- as well as some adults.

"We are so proud of Japnaam," said her mother, Sukh. "This is something she's wanted to do for a long time - every summer she's become more and more determined."

Sukh also enjoyed watching her daughter learn what it takes to put a plan in motion.

"You could see every brain wave - like when she figured out that the more people she could get to help, the more money they would raise," Sukh said. "It was amazing to see her make that connection."

And when the sale was over and it was time to count the donations, Japnaam came up with a little routine.

"After she counted each coin she said thank you," Sukh said. "She realized that every little quarter made up such a big pot, and she was grateful for that."

Sukh explained that she and her husband have stressed to Japnaam how lucky she is to be in Canada.

Japnaam's father was a refugee from India 20 years ago, and witnessed the death of countless Sikhs in India.

"We haven't sheltered her from that," Sukh explained. "We've taught her to never turn a blind eye to others' pain."

And that's a lesson Japnaam thinks of every day.

"The people in Africa work a lot harder than we do and all they have is a small hut," she said. "We have big houses and they have nothing.

"I do a little prayer for them every night."


Blogger Jaswinder Singh said...

very nice!

12:15 PM  

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