I’ve always had a desire to help children in need. I remember my heart first breaking as a 7-year-old, while watching a TV ad of children suffering in the third world. At the time, I thought the only way to help was to sponsor a child. So my Sri-Lankan dad agreed to give me a dollar a day if I completed a whole page of maths problems correctly! The maths definitely helped since 15 years later I was working in finance. At this point I thought I could help by providing more finances. But I didn’t feel fulfilled at all. I knew God had other plans for me. After a lot of prayer I decided to become a primary school teacher and haven’t looked back!
I work in Western Sydney where there is a lot of need. It’s not the third world, but you’d be saddened by how many children come to school so hungry that it affects their behaviour and concentration in class. As a result, a few teachers and I decided to start up a breakfast program.
It was a long process that included writing proposals, budgets and visiting other schools. Our applications to receive funding fell through so it was initially funded by our small group of teachers and a few donations. At first we were just going to use a few tables outside a classroom. However, that wasn’t allowed and at the time I saw it as an obstacle. But then God’s favour started to pour in. What I saw as an obstacle was in fact God having a much better plan for us. Our Principal found a canteen that another school was giving away. It was named Yum Club by a Kindergarten student after an SRC student vote – because breakfast is YUM.
We now feed around 70 children each morning. At first, our students from a refugee background, were simply intrigued by having toast or cereal for breakfast. Then it became part of their morning routine. It’s now become a social hub for our students and their parents.
This year the parent community are a lot more involved and their kids love it. Initially there was a parent who wanted to help but was hesitant as she did not speak English. I love that the other parents included and encouraged her to help out anyway. At first she would only wash dishes. Once she learned a few words and gained some confidence, I walked in one day to find her serving with the biggest smile on her face. Her children were so proud of her! It reminded me of why we started the initiative in the first place.
All we did was identify a need and met it by stepping out. It did take a lot of sacrifice but the impact it’s had on the community and the beautiful smiles we see every morning are worth it.
– Pamela Mahendra, Sydney
As a Sisterhood, we are passionate about ensuring every child has the opportunity to be loved, to develop and learn, and to fulfil their potential. The Colour Sisterhood is a movement of everyday women, following their heart and using what’s in their hand to make the world a better place. Pam’s response represents an individual response to a local need. There is so much we can each do to #bethechange locally or globally, for vulnerable children, sisters and nations.
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Reflect. Respond. Rally. #iamsisterhood