Submitted by Mary Lu Beaupre –
“I just wanted to help and I like to make crafts,” explains 10-year-old Ayan Isse. This was clearly the perfect combination for Ayan, who raised $700 at the Hintonburg Craft Sale on November 24. Ayan donated half of the proceeds to Project TEMBO, a local NGO which supports girls’ education and womens’ microbusinesses in Longido, Northern Tanzania.
“I wanted to be able to send girls to school,” says Ayan. Her mother, Bridget Remai, calculates that Ayan’s donation will pay for four school uniforms for TEMBO-sponsored girls.
Ayan hopes to use the other half of the proceeds for a possible trip with CSIV International which hosts an international camp for 11-year-olds to promote understanding by learning about each other’s cultures.
To prepare for the craft sale, Ayan made her own jewellery out of materials from her mother’s craft supplies. “The dining room table was out of commission for an entire week,” describes Bridget. “We ate all our meals crowded around the coffee table.”
Ayan also made and sold Pokeballs, which she designed and made by herself with a little help from her friends.
Pokeballs are clear plastic balls in which Ayan created little habitats of sticks, small pebbles, moss, thimbles, coins, small figures, and other found materials. These were the hit of the craft show, accounting for close to 70% of her sales. The most popular ones contained one or more miniature Pokemon figures, giving the balls their namesake.
When asked why she was inspired to support a cause in Tanzania, Ayan said that it came from both her dad and her mom. Her Somali-born father, Abdul Isse, had taken her to the Somali Hope Foundation benefit where she learned about initiatives to build schools in Somalia. Her mom, Bridget, co-owns Flock Boutique on Wellington St. W. and has been a regular sponsor of TEMBO’s silent auction at its annual fundraising luncheon. Ayan says she was inspired by TEMBO’s mission of supporting girls and women and she was particularly interested in giving girls a chance to attend school.
This was not the first time that Ayan had raised money for those in need. In 2011 when famine so profoundly affected Somalia, young Ayan made her own jewellery which she sold to raise money for the cause.
Both Bridget and Abdul dream of taking Ayan and their son to Africa. They want to visit Tanzania and Swaziland which is the country where they first met.
What’s Ayan’s next project? She is beginning Saturday classes to learn Somali and she looks forward to learning the language and meeting new friends.
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