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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Little things make a big difference

George and Anna Hetherington have been sponsoring children through ChildFund Australia since 1993. “We were young newlyweds, hoping to have children of our own soon but keen to help other children have a sporting chance at life,” says Anna.

George and Anna had two beautiful daughters, Josie and Evie, and made sure to instil in them values of generosity and compassion. Anna says: “We felt it was important that they grow up with a ‘how can I help others’ mentality and not the more common ‘what can the world do for me’ attitude, which is very easy to develop in our affluent societies.”

With these values in mind, a visit to a local doll museum sparked a brilliant idea for Josie and Evie. They decided they could make ‘pet rocks’ and sell them at local events to help raise money for ChildFund Australia.

The girls would collect pebbles from a creek and decorate them with materials like feathers, ribbons and stickers to give the rocks faces and their own personalities. “We live on a farm and both girls love their chickens, so the pet rock manufacturing site was on a large blanket near the chicken pen. Their chickens would peck at their craft supplies and run off with the googly eyes, glue or whatever they could escape with!” recalls Anna.


The infamous pet rocks!

Together as a family, the Hetheringtons have also held many sausage sizzles at local markets and fairs to raise money. Their loyal customers would always help them choose how the funds raised would be spent through ChildFund’s Gifts for Good catalogue. “People enjoy the chance to be involved in the decision-making process and it gives them a chance to think about how little things can make a big difference,” says George.

In the name of accountability, the family would also often write to their local newspaper listing the items that were donated so their customers could see just how far their contributions went towards helping others.

Despite a truck accident that left George badly injured this year, and the girls now at boarding school, they are still discussing new ways they can help fundraise for children and their families through ChildFund.

“Although our contribution may only be a small drop in a huge ocean – at least it is a drop and it is being delivered by ChildFund, which does its utmost to direct those ‘drops’ to those in greatest need,” says Anna.

In 2013, ChildFund is celebrating 75 years of working with children around the world. We are marking this anniversary by sharing personal stories throughout the year from the children and communities we work with, our wonderful supporters and our dedicated staff here in Australia and overseas. Please share them if you find them inspiring!

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