“The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Alaina Podmorow heard those words — from Canadian journalist Sally Armstrong — during a speech on the treatment of Afghan girls and women. She was nine.
Now, Podmorow heads a non-profit, Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan:
Poised and confident, Podmorow, 13, now gives inspirational speeches herself as the founder of the nonprofit Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan, a fundraising organization that channels money for teachers’ salaries and training through Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
“I found that it doesn’t matter how little or young you are, you can make this difference,” she said in an interview during a conference on Afghanistan hosted by the Canadian Federation of University Women.
Her first fundraising effort in her hometown of Kelowna was aimed at raising $750, the amount she was told would pay an average salary to a teacher for a year in Afghanistan.
“We raised enough for four teachers’ salaries for one year and I was so amazed because that was more than I could have ever imagined raising at nine years old,” she said.
Chapters of Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan have sprung up around the country and fundraisers have been held in many cities. The groups have raised about $160,000 from the public and almost the same amount again in matching funds from the federal Canadian International Development Agency, the foreign-aid wing of the federal government.
Canadian kids helping other kids overseas in so organized and sophisticated a fashion isn’t new. In 2002, Craig Kielburger — then 19 — was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his aid work, which he began at the age of 12. Kids Can Free The Children has built 316 primary schools around the world, allowing 20,000 children to attend school. It has 100,000 members in 35 countries.
I’m proud of kids like these. I wish their names and actions were widely-known — not morons like Lindsay Lohan.