My GiveLight Journey

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Change. Change can come in a variety of forms. Like an ocean wave wiping the shore clean, change can be swift and transformative, or like a cool breeze rustling through the leaves on a tree, change can be calm and gradual. This past year, several incredible women chose to look past their own circumstances and impart change on the world around them. They used the vast and varied skills and resources at their disposal to help ease the lives of children most in need, and with the message of GiveLight planted firmly in their hearts, found their own unique ways to create everlasting and transformative change.

Munira Shamim is a mother of three from California who has known Dian and of GiveLight’s mission for many years. As a recreational runner, Munira has participated in a number of half marathons, eventually setting her sights on the California International Marathon. Upon embarking on this lofty goal, Munira chose to look within herself and use her hobby to generate some good, reaching out to those in her networks to raise money for GiveLight. “All you have to do is invite people to give, and people will give,” said Munira, exemplifying the desire that so many have to find ways to impart change in the world. As Munira crossed the marathon finish line on December 8th, she did so with $1,300 in GiveLight donations from family and friends. Munira found a way to use her own personal physical goal to help others, showing us all that with a bit of creativity and reflection, change can truly come from anywhere. 

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A walkathon in 2015 served as a catalyst for Ake Pangestuti’s involvement with the GiveLight Foundation. This mother from San Ramon, California was inspired by the message of GiveLight and by Dian’s vision. “One of my goals in life is always using my best efforts to be a better person and a better Muslim,” Ake has said. “I believe that by helping GiveLight, I’m working toward my goal and helping others at the same time.” This year, Ake partnered with fifty other individuals who each pledged to raise $1,000 to be donated to the GiveLight Foundation. While Ake has already surpassed her fundraising goal, she is not stopping there. As a marathon runner, Ake has plans to also raise money through her participation in the upcoming Paris Marathon in April, showing us all that accomplishing one goal can serve as an impetus for future efforts. 

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Like Munira and Ake, Sabiha Chunawala was also greatly impacted by her first encounter with Dian, and was immediately drawn to the cause of GiveLight. Sabiha has a particular passion for literacy and educating children, and views the care and protection of orphans as a personal duty. While much has been written about the ills of social media, Sabiha was able to channel her platform for a positive impact, creating a birthday campaign to raise money for GiveLight. As a mother, Sabiha does not just teach her children about the importance of giving back, but rather she leads by example, transferring her passion for helping others to the next generation. “My children became involved in raising money and donating to GiveLight very early on, so it's something that definitely resonated with them, “ Sabiha shared. “ Whenever they had a big event or milestone, they would suggest getting donations for GiveLight or giving some portion of their gift money to GiveLight.” Sabiha’s efforts will continue to resonate through her children, and through the many others who viewed her campaign, proving that the inspiration for change can come from anywhere. 

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Oftentimes, the challenges facing our world today can seem insurmountable, and it’s so simple to question if any efforts can truly make a difference. These questions can easily lead to becoming a passive onlooker to the plight of others, not knowing where to begin, or if it’s even worth the effort at all. These amazing women show us that no effort is too small to create a huge impact on the lives of others. Munira, Ake, and Sabiha used their resources and ingenuity to create positive and impactful change not only in their families and communities, but in the hearts of the countless children whose lives will be made better by their genuine and heartfelt efforts.