Nine year-old Anjali lives with her family in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada. One day, Anjali saw a fund-raising program on TV about the “Me to We” Foundation. This particular program was about children raising funds to donate bicycles to poor students in Africa who walked many miles to school every day. Anjali asked her mother how poor children in her native country, Sri Lanka, travelled to school. Anjali’s mother replied that when she was growing up, she also used a bicycle to go to school, though many less fortunate children did not have bicycles and had to walk to school like the children in Africa. Immediately Anjali replied, “I have some money from birthday gifts … I’d like to donate a bicycle to the poor children in Sri Lanka.”
(Pictured above – Suwishana receiving the bicycle from Thondunathan Swami’s mother)
Anjali’s mother contacted me and shared her daughter’s wish. We found a young girl named Suwishana whose family lost everything during the war and are now temporarily living in Jaffna. She walks more than a mile to catch a bus to go to school everyday. With Anjali’s donation, we purchased a bicycle and gave it to Suwishana. One month later, Anjali raised money from her family and friends and she told us that she was ready to donate a second bicycle. This time, we found a university student who had also been greatly affected by the war who needed a bicycle for her commute to university everyday from home. We gave the university student that bicycle and told her that the bicycle was a gift from a little girl named Anjali from Canada. When she heard that, tears rolled from her eyes.
Both students who received bicycles from Anjali, wrote beautiful thank you notes to their little sister, who lives half-way around the world and still cares about them. With more Anjalis among us, the world we live in would be a much better place!
(Pictured below is the university student who received the bicycle along with Thondunathan Swami and his mother)
As shared by – Thondunathan Swami
(The story was shared originally in 2011. Anjali is now, Twelve years old and has continued to expand this project since then)