ChildFund New Zealand’s Kathy McKay reminds us that we can all make a difference.

Kathy & little friend making a difference

By Kathy McKay, Marketing Manager

I want to tell you a story I heard recently at the Readers and Writers festival.

A man is walking along the beach and as the waves lap in and out he notices there are thousands of stranded starfish. Soon after he meets a young girl, who is picking up the starfish one by one and returning them to the sea. He asks the girl ‘what are you doing?’ And she replies ‘They will die if I don’t get the starfish back into the sea’. ‘But there are so many, how can you make a difference?’ The girl picks up another starfish and carries it to the water. ‘It makes a difference to this one’.

To me taking action, even when the problem seems overwhelming, is what really counts.

Earlier this year I was fortunate to see how the actions of Kiwi supporters are making a difference to the children of Sri Lanka. I visited some of our programmes and met many inspiring people including a woman called Pathnarani.

Pathnarani lives in the tea estates with her husband and three children. She is a tea plucker and plucks 16kg of tea a day. It’s hot, hard work.

Every day Pathnarani used to get up at 3am to collect water. She would walk to the river in the jungle and wait in the queue with 700 other people. Several hours later Pathnarani carried two 20kg containers home. She is tiny and probably doesn’t weigh more than 40kg herself!

Pathnarani and one of the 20L jerry cans she used to carry for long distances

There was never enough water for a bath so every three days the family would go the jungle and bathe. On Sunday, her day off, Pathnarani would trek to the jungle to wash the family’s clothes. The family also shared a toilet with hundreds of other people. The children were often sick with diarrhoea and skin diseases.

Because of Kiwi action, through ChildFund, Pathnarani now has a tap at the front of their house and their very own toilet. This has made an incredible difference to their lives. The children are healthy and happy and instead of getting up a 3am Pathnarani now gets up a 5am! Pathnarani has so much extra time she has started her own business, making and packaging snacks to sell! The future is looking so much brighter for Pathnarani and her family.

With tears in her eyes Pathnarani asked me to pass along this message ‘Please give my heartfelt thanks to New Zealand for the difference you have made to my life’.

Pathnarani - tea plucker and small business owner!

For the last 21 years ChildFund New Zealand has been helping children break free from poverty. This is a fantastic milestone that simply wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our wonderful supporters. Thank you so much to each and every one of you for believing you can make a difference.

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