Nine year-old raises Rf5200 for Villingilli orphanage at birthday party

As the setting sun cast a warm glow over Villingili, dozens of passengers got down from the ferry and made their way to their destination. For one little girl who was accompanied by her aunt, the ferry ride was part of an extraordinary journey she was making.

Mariyam Nishfa Faid, 9, had come to Villingili to visit the Children’s Shelter, the beneficiary of the Mf 5200 (US$404) fund that she had raised at her birthday party.

“I have books and toys, all I need really,” says a beaming Nishfa. “I have enough for now.”

Her tone, if matter of fact, seems oblivious to how astonishing her words are, in a world where the norm is for children to want more toys and more books.

Birth of an idea

Nishfa is an avid reader; her room has two shelves full of books. Her friends and family supports her interest by gifting her books.

“Mum gave me a book ‘Chicken soup for the soul for kids’ last December,” she says. A compilation of mostly true stories, a month later she would go on to read a story that would have a profound effect on her.

“It’s called ‘helping hungry kids’, a story about helping kids in need in Africa. I wanted to help so I asked my mum how I could do it.”

Her mother suggested she talk with her aunt Aiminath Naaz who had done volunteer work in Africa, “and she suggested that I could help the kids closer to home.”

Nishfa also states sweetly that since the money she raised is in Maldivian rufiyaa “it won’t go far in Africa.”

A party with a difference

Nishfa discussed with her family on how to raise funds, eventually deciding to take the opportunity of her birthday party to do so.

“I used to play football in the boys team in my school Jamaaludeen,” says Nishfa, explaining that she had to stop the sport since she broke her arm a while back. The initial idea was to have a party with a sports theme.

“We decided to do it simpler, so that nobody had to buy any jerseys. Invitees didn’t have to wear their best dress; they just had to wear a nice dress and come.”

Instead of bringing her gifts of toys and books, she asked them to bring money for the Children’s Shelter. She is immensely proud of the amount she raised and added the contents of her piggy bank to the donation. As for her party, “it was very good.”

Inspiring others

A warm welcome awaited Nishfa at the shelter, with the staff mentioning how they had heard of her on TV also. The shelter houses 54 kids up to the age of 19. The children are looked after around the clock by 25 caregivers working in shifts.

Nishfa seems a bit overwhelmed after the visit, simply stating “I loved the babies.” Her plans include visiting the orphanage with her aunt once a week if possible, to read stories to the kids. Asked if her friends shared her concerns she seems almost perplexed when she says only a few do. However she is already inspiring others who share her concerns.

Fellow Jamaaludeen student Dhiraya Hassan, 8, donated to the fund at Nishfa’s party. Her mother, Mirufath Faiz, says she was very happy with the idea of donating instead of taking toys.

“Dhiraya also has the same mind-set as Nishfa, she donated the collection of coins in her piggy bank for the Pakistan relief fund.”

Dhiraya has announced to her parents that she wants to help other kids as well, and as a first step, has borrowed the Chicken Soup book from Nishfa.


25 thoughts on “Nine year-old raises Rf5200 for Villingilli orphanage at birthday party”

  1. She should be in the majlis instead of the selfish uncivilized waste of space we have there.

  2. This is such a lovely story to read. What a inspiring child and family. Grown ups should learn a few lessons from Nishfa.

  3. I am so happy to hear this. Well done little girl.

    I hope all the barbified shiny children and their parents see this and take a moment to think about life.

  4. Nishwa for Majlis! I would definitely vote for her. I would even join her campaign.

  5. May god bless this beautiful child.. its true how the children of our ever-expanding economy are spoiled with useless toys n goodies, I wish and pray that this remarkable story will inspire a lot of other kids, parents and others to help the people and children in need, it doest have to be another thousands of rufiyaa, it could be just a used schoolbag in good condition, or another simple gift like some sweets.. the story just made me realize how positive parenting and education is changing our lives.. this is such happy news..


  7. well done Nishfa and her family. A lot of parents do donate money after collecting from birthday parties. My point is that it doesnt mean you have to go public about it. Or make it a news item and get publicity. Be humble and embrace the good in you in a more subtle way.

  8. One or two of the comments on here sadden me.

    I'm assuming Ahmed Farooq had a bad curry last night. What else in this story could make him throw up?

    The 'be humble' comment also sounds rather mean spirited. Surely if children of this age show their humanitarian nature in this way, then it should be recognised by the rest of us. How do we expect our younger generation to be inspired by such a story, and follow this kind little girl's example, if the story receives no publicity? What encouragement is there for others to follow her example if all we do is question her motives by implying that her stimulus was merely to show off. Such comments are hurtful and counter-productive.

  9. It is absolutely wonderful for a little girl to do such a big thing.Shame the rick ego rich political people in the country never think of doing such a thing.

  10. A very inspirational story. children and adults alike SHOULS learn from this wonderful girl. !!

  11. what an inspiring little girl. I wish that more people would take into consideration real and challenging issues that exists in this society. We should find ways and means to assist such kids at the orphanage and on how to provide assistance to the kids who has faced violence all their lives. We have to think of ways to provide an alternative means to these kids as an 'orphanage' like the one we have here is surely not the ultimate answer. Fostering is an alternative we have in this society but is unfortunately rather shadowed. Let us think of real problems that persists and find solutions to such. Violence, abuse, lack of a long term plan, an overcrowded orphanage, inadequate staff at the orphanage and limited and scarce resources at the orphanage are all immediate issues that should be tackled in the short term.

  12. I am finding this more of a scheme by her parents to become a bit more famous in the country. I mean come on, the whole "detailed" account of how she got the whole idea, and the remaining part of the story....I just find it hard to believe. A donation was made, but the family wasn't happy enough that that was it? Had to appear on basically every single media source available?

    There is a saying in dhivehi which goes...

    "edhumei nethi vedhumei nukuraane"

    IMO, this applies to her parents.

  13. @dhon kamana.
    it's important to share these stories so that others may be inspired by the action just as Nishfa got inspired by the "chicken soup for the kids' soul.

  14. Wow - now that is life-force. Well done Nishfa. Wish the bigger ones take you as an example.

    It is an awesome story and exactly the kind of upbringing children need. Congratulations to the parents who instilled theses values in their children. You are great parents.

  15. why is there a book called the "chicken soup for the soul" under every topic you could think of. SO that other people could get inspired by what they did or get a relief from how something was done. If this story was never shared how would we know that there is a little girl somewhere who has a heart for the human kind, how would other kids and parents think about teaching there kids about the moral values of helping the needy and less fortunate. Please don't try and find the negative side of everything but rather find the positive impact of this. Yes this little girls was inspired by a story she found in a book someone somewhere in the world wrote, lets hope that hundreds of kids in Maldives gets inspired by Nishfa's story.

  16. I don't know, I don't find any moral, on this story other than media stunt, to exploit this child. First of all how many kids in Maldives have so called piggy bank, nonsense. If the parents has genuinely done this they will not go on every TV and radio to sell this story.

  17. Those who refuse to understand will not understand unless they are willing. Let us be patient and understanding with those who do not know, that they will uncover the wisdom within themselves cos we all human beings are bestowed with that wisdom. Acknowledgement and appreciation is what elevates us most.

  18. Well Done, Nishfa! I am proud of you!
    I'm sure the story must have inspired other kids just like Nishfa got inspired by the stories she read from 'Chicken Soup for the Kids' Soul'.
    Most children her age are not aware of the less fortunate children in our society. So this story could benefit each one of us, well if we are interested in it.
    It's best to teach children values such as sharing, caring, helping others in need etc through examples, examples taken from real life would definitely have a better impact on them. And Nishfa has set a good example to other children.
    True, Islam teaches us to be humble, and emphasizes on doing our actions with good intentions. But in our society, which lacks good examples, it is important that stories such as this, which can inspire adults and children, are made public so we all can learn a lesson from it.
    May all children learn from the example Nishfa has set, and for adults, if everyone one of us is like little Nishfa we will have a wonderful society! Hope to see such a day.
    Keep it up, Nishfa!

  19. Piggy banks are not halal. What Nishfa could have done with the 5000rf is bought a ticket to Africa and joined the Salvation Army.

  20. shazra should have deified the very few parents who have actually fostered children from the hiyaa instead of this if she wanted to do a nice feel good piece about the plight of the hiyaa kids. the ones who have not ended up molesting them.

    nice job not mentioning the children or specific issues at all in this piece by the way. seems a shame though, considering its a chance to make more people aware of the situation, since i'm sure a bunch of people tuned in to bask in the glow of sweet feel goodity spread by the precocious nishfa, parents and chicken soup.

    All of this money being donated by MPs, the Chinese, and Nishfa seems to have had little effect in improving the conditions of the children living at the hiyaa. also living in a hiyaa of this standard is just depressing no matter how much money people donate in an effort to feel good about themselves.

    nishfa's mother should read this so she can inspire nishfa to look deeper into issues.

    also the children in ETCC in Maafushi need more donations than the ones in the hiyaa. just saying.

    or the state should try to spend a bit more money on child protection issues instead of wasting millions on politician's salaries and building MNDF regional centres. seriously. or just think of the children. a little.

    i don't even know why i'm writing this. chicken soup just pisses me off. also. media whores.

  21. This is good idea, but the second girl sounds like they want some fame... why her, out of all the other girls... If they have been genuine, why go on media, tell their name and every good thing they've done...


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