A lesson in giving from six year old children

2013 November 14


Year 2 children pooled their money together for Typhoon Haiyan victims in the Philippines.


An interesting thing happened in school today as some mums and I were packing relief goods donated by the parents of the International School at Parkcity (ISP) in Kuala Lumpur for the Philippine victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

A teacher from a Year 2 class approached us and asked, “To whom should I give this money to? It’s from some of my students.”

We weren’t prepared to accept cash donations as we were there to help repack the relief goods, so after we looked at each other in a brief hesitation, I received the notes, which were put inside a Ziploc bag, and asked him how much the total amount was so I could record it.

“It’s not much but my students wanted to give something.” I opened it and counted the notes, eight Malaysian ringgit in total, and the mums and I looked at each other and smiled.

It was the sweetest gesture a group of six-year olds could come up with.

I thought it was very special.

Since the typhoon broke and stories of its heart-wrenching devastation slowly emerged, well-meaning friends have sent me messages and thoughts from all over the world, wondering if my family and friends are all okay.  The images on CNN are heartbreaking, people searching for their fathers and mothers, wives and husbands, children and relatives.  Families have perished and the ones who survived are cold, hungry and have nowhere to go.

Many people have told me how helpless they feel being so far away and wishing they could do something.  But you don’t have to be physically near a disaster to do something, anything.  A little act, a little gesture, goes a long way. If you’re feeling helpless, think about the thousands of families directly hit and traumatised from this catastrophe.  That is helpless.


You can still do something to help, and here’s how:

1. Volunteer your time and effort.

There are organisations, schools, and associations in your immediate communities who will always initiate relief efforts. You can find this information out via the Philippine Embassy of the country you are living in.  If you feel there is nothing happening, you can start one together with a small group of friends.


2. Donate money. 

Relief operations are only as successful as the funding support they get.

There are lots of active international organisations like the Red Cross and United Nations who are doing massive efforts at coordinating and getting aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines).

Personally, I’ve opted to support the Cebu-based relief initiatives and charitable institutions due to my local ties to the place, of which I come from.  I am assured in the fact that these organisations are headed by individuals who get the job done because they have the people on the ground and the logistics in place. Due to the lack of bureaucracy, they get the aid faster and quicker to those who need it the most.  Here’s three of them:


  • The Aboitiz Foundation is a reputable foundation that has been providing much needed help to those who were immediately affected by the calamity.

You can find out more about them here:  https://www.facebook.com/aboitizfoundation

 And you can donate here:  http://ushare.unionbankph.com/aboitiz/


  •  The University of Cebu’s operations are focused towards northern Cebu, Ormoc, Tacloban and Samar areas in Eastern Visayas.  At the helm is their chancellor Candice Gotianuy working closely with Marylou Neri, two indomitable women with boundless energies for rebuilding and relief operations.  As Candice states on her Facebook page:

 “We will be funding medical missions (in the form of medicines) and may provide gasoline and generator sets as these can be used for pumping water from deep wells (depending on the reports from those we trust on the field). We will also be sending food packs, tarpaulins, and construction materials for the communities that are in the rebuilding stage.

 We believe in getting the goods out as fast as we can. We rely on people who have a credible network in place. We will tolerate zero politics.”

 You can donate by wiring funds to the following account:

 Bank                           : Banco de Oro

Branch                        : Cebu, Ayala Business Park

Account Name           : University of Cebu, Inc.

Swift Code                  : BNORPHMM

Peso Account             : 2420075958

  • Three Villages, 1 Goal is another recommendation.  I will be giving the children’s RM8 (US$ 2.50) donation to this group, and I’m going to match their donation with, US$ 20 = (2.50×8).  You can find out more and donate to them here:



So the next time you’re feeling helpless and you think there’s nothing you can do or give, think about a group of inspiring young kids who wanted to do something and wanted to give something; and did just that by pooling together what little money they had to offer to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Children do teach us many things, and what a great lesson learned this has been on giving.   Let’s reaffirm their gesture and make it the most memorable give of their lives by matching their donation with your own pledges.

I urge you to make a contribution, no matter how small to keep this kind deed moving and pay it forward; and help rebuild the many lives destroyed.  It is the start to a long and slow healing process.




4 Responses leave one →
  1. November 17, 2013

    What a wonderful idea Julia and a great way to teach our kids empathy and generosity. It’s heartwarming to know that more and more young kids are making these choices. You must be so proud of Fin, he’s growing up to be a charitable young man because of the values you instill in him. And quite a unique name too, Finvelope! Love it.

  2. Julia permalink
    November 15, 2013

    When my son was 6 he watched a programme that was raising money for Children’s charities. He was so moved that he said he wanted to give his birthday presents to the charity. We came up with the idea of a Finvelope (he’s called Fin!) to have at his party. Instead of parents shopping around and Fin receiving far too many gifts that he didn’t need we asked everyone to put a donation in an envelope. It was anonymous and we raised quite a large sum. Fin choose the two charities, child careers and Oxfam and sent them the money with a letter. I was immensely proud of him and I would love Finvelope’s to become something that catches on. As a parent I would much rather do this and let’s be honest our children will have what they want for their birthdays from family. They also learn about giving and supporting others and that they can make a difference.

  3. November 15, 2013

    Hi Carolyn, my friends and family are all okay. We’re doing the best we can to help in whatever way. We’re collecting relief goods around KL area to send to the Philippines, as well as asking for donations. Hope all is well with you, thank you for the concern. xx

  4. carolyn permalink
    November 15, 2013

    Thanks, Melinda, for this touching post. How are you holding up in the face of this storm? Has it affected any of your loved ones?

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