When my daughter’s fifth grade teacher asked parents to share their careers or passions with the class as guest speakers, I knew it would be the perfect forum to talk about GiveLight. Surely, sharing the lives of children their own ages should resonate with our neighborhood kids I thought. Also, I wondered how cool it would be for the kids to have an opportunity to skype directly with GiveLight founder Dian Alyan. I myself had first learnt of GiveLight when Dian visited my son’s preschool and spoke to the kids at their level, literally, and got them thinking about children not so different from themselves except in not having parents but who still equally deserve respect, love and care.
The teacher readily offered to have a projector set up for the day of so we could speak with Dian in real time. Dian was mutually enthusiastic about speaking with my daughter’s class and a date and time that worked for everybody’s schedule was easily set–all it would take was an hour. I was looking forward to participate in my daughter’s education in this unique way and before I knew it the day to present to my daughter’s class on GiveLight had arrived!
After checking in at the school’s front office, I made my way to my daughter’s fifth grade classroom. Upon her teacher’s request, my daughter introduced me to her class. I briefly shared how I came to know of GiveLight and why their work is so appealing. Together, we then watched a brief and beautifully made five-minute video highlighting GiveLight’s work and impact. I had made sure to email this video in advance to the teacher. After the video, I shared my involvement in local SoCal efforts to further GiveLight’s work such as the “Sole to Soul” campaign, Rohina Malik’s show “Unveiled” at the prestigious Laguna Playhouse theater, and more recently, a comedy show “Laughter and Light” with Jeremy McClellan in Fullerton, CA. The next segment planned was the kids’ chat with Dian. I shared some details about Dian and her background that led to the founding of GiveLight before we rung her up on Skype and were quickly connected! On screen Dian was now “with” us and she spoke first-hand about GiveLight’s inspiring projects around the world and the rewarding work it is. She also spoke about the graciousness of the orphans for simple things such as hugs and you could visibly note the kids’ expressions of awe. After Dian spoke for some time she welcomed the kids to ask any questions they may have. Their questions ranged from asking about the orphans’ daily schedules, their hobbies, how GiveLight helps refugees, and even the orphans’ favorite instrument. When a student asked how she could contribute Dian pointed out as an example that my daughter had organized a penpal program for her and her friends, further suggested students send clips of their own musical performances to share with the orphans, and perhaps even a class chat with the actual kids in a home! As she took their questions, more and more hands shot up to ask questions. It’s clear that the kids enjoyed learning about GiveLight and are hopefully motivated and empowered to consider the world beyond their own lives and affect positive change like GiveLight!
~ Khadija Harsolia