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Can a six-year-old change the world?

Read what six-year-old Amelie did when she heard about the children in East Africa who are facing hunger

Tarryn Pegna | 22 Dec 2022

Amelie giving two thumbs up next to a stall with cakes, books and toys.

Amelie gives a thumbs up in spite of the terrible weather as she sells cakes, books and toys to raise money to help people living in poverty. Credit: Anna, Amelie’s mum

In a small, rural village in Lancashire, three young children and their mum were walking the dog. They were having a very normal conversation for the time of year – a time when stores are starting to play carols, twinkling lights are being switched on, and every second advert or email is advertising some other wonderful must-have definitely-need toy for children (or grown up children!). The topic under discussion was: what did everyone want for Christmas?

It wasn’t long though, before talk turned to something more serious. With a massive hunger crisis in East Africa, mum, Anna, pointed out that there were millions of children who wouldn’t be getting any Christmas presents.

Six-year-old Amelie was shocked. Her family and her church had taught her kindness and compassion, and her heart was moved for these children who wouldn’t be looking forward to the same treats that she might be. Amelie thought about it for a minute and then came up with a kind suggestion. What if she were to send the children some of her toys?

The gift of food

It was a very sweet thing to say, but Anna explained that, even more than toys, these children needed the most basic, crucial things – like food and clean water to survive.

Amelie kept thinking.

Maybe they could sell some of Amelie’s toys and send money to help?

Again, it was a kind idea, but Anna wondered if it was a fleeting thought that would pass. It didn’t though. As the days went by, Amelie built on the idea. They could bake cakes and sell them too.

‘Mummy,’ she said, ‘it’s the right thing to do. We need to do this.’

‘It’s the right thing to do. We need to do this.’
Amelie, 6

‘Amelie is very determined,’ her mum tells us. ‘Once she has something in her head, she’s going to do it.’

Before long, not only had Amelie made a firm decision that she was going to do something to make a difference, but she had got loads of other people involved in the kindness effort too!

A team effort

Amelie’s family and church were already Tearfund supporters, and knew our work, so posters were made advertising a cake and toy sale with all proceeds going to help people through Tearfund.

Amelie made her own colourful posters, which mum posted a picture of to social media, and Amelie’s school allowed her to get up in Friday assembly and tell everyone about the sale and what it was for.

Mum and Amelie baked Victoria sponge cake, grandma baked scones and muffins (which Amelie decorated), and dad made his signature Biscoff rocky road – which was a real sacrifice for the family to sell and not eat!

And, of course, there were the toys. Some of them, mum tells us, were a wrench for Amelie. Particularly the teddies. They went in and out of the pile a couple of times, but in the end Amelie made her generous choices to give and added them to the sale.

Determined kindness

On the day of the sale, the weather was atrocious, but Amelie and her family were undeterred. Dad put up the gazebo, big brother, Jack, helped on the stall, and the people came to buy… until the gazebo nearly blew away and the rain (that was by now coming into the tent sideways) started soaking the cakes and toys.

‘She didn’t want to leave,’ Anna tells us. ‘She wanted to carry on selling.’ Amelie and her family did have to pack up, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Because of her poster on Facebook, people that couldn’t make it to the stall on the day started sending money to add to Amelie’s fundraising efforts. ‘Particularly in a small community, word gets out and people were so generous,’ her mum says.

In the end, Amelie managed to make a brilliant total of £370 for Tearfund to use to help people like those in East Africa who are struggling to get enough food to survive.

It was an amazing effort. ‘Amelie was very pleased,’ Anna says. ‘She had a big smile on her face.’

‘It was a kind thing to do.’
Amelie, 6
Tearfund’s Global Fundraising Director, Jane Pleace, was delighted when she heard about Amelie’s successful sale: ‘We were so chuffed to hear Amelie’s heartwarming story, and impressed that she showed such initiative and generosity at such a young age. I hope Amelie feels really proud that her fundraising will help children and their families in some of the world’s poorest countries, where Tearfund is working to bring an end to poverty.’ 

Pray with us

  • Pray for the millions of people in East Africa who are facing a hunger crisis. Ask God to provide enough food and rain where it is needed.
  • Pray for provision, hope and comfort for all those children around the world who will be struggling to have enough to eat this Christmas.
  • Pray for children like Amelie to feel empowered to help change lives and make a difference, no matter how young they are.

  Tarryn Pegna


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