A COVENTRY schoolgirl who asked her friends to donate to charity rather than give her birthday presents has been named JustGiving’s Young Fundraiser of the Year.
Lyla Brown raised nearly £5,000 for WaterAid after watching one of the charity’s television adverts, showing children in parts of Africa drinking dirty water.
Instead of asking for presents for her fifth birthday last December, the Bablake School pupil asked her friends and family for water.
Her parents, Luke and Kiley explained: “A few of Lyla’s family and friends asked us what she would like for her birthday so we decided to ask her.
“She responded ‘I want everyone to bring two buckets of water to my birthday party since they can carry one in each hand and they need to make sure that the buckets have lids on them so the water doesn’t spill – the lids are very important.’
“As you can imagine, we were confused by this and had to ask her what the water was for.
“To which she replied, ‘so we can send the water to the kids in Africa that have dirty water and no water to drink.’
“After a few long and confusing conversations she explained that she had seen the kids with dirty water on TV and she was very worried about them.”
Explaining to the youngster that she could not physically send the buckets of water to the children, Luke and Kiley set up a JustGiving fundraising page asked party-goers to donate to the charity WaterAid instead of bringing presents.
The page raised more than £1,700 in donations and attracted the attention of Severn Trent, which matched the total and threw Lyla a birthday party at its Coventry HQ.
The Government also matched Lyla’s amount due to a scheme set up between themselves and WaterAid at the time.
Mum Kiley added: “She was so excited that we could help the kids get water.
“This is something that obviously had a big impact on her when she saw the advertisement on TV and she seemed very worried about it so we were happy to go along with this and help her support such a good cause.”
WaterAid saves thousands of lives each year by providing access to clean drinking water and toilets and educating communities about poor sanitation.
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Lyla-Birthday to donate to Lyla’s page and www.wateraid.org for more information about the work of WaterAid.
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