Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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Last time you were here, you were looking to help vulnerable children and families. Your support can save and change lives.

Long-time ChildFund supporter Robert’s personal experience of growing up in a disadvantaged household has led him to make a difference in the lives of poor children.

“Children feel poverty far more intensely than adults,” the South Australian driving instructor says. “Coming from a fairly poor background myself, I know what it’s like to go without and what it’s like to want something and know that you’re never going to get it.

“I’m in a better situation now, and I want to relieve a child somewhere of that anxiety.”

Robert began sponsoring children through ChildFund more than 28 years ago in 1993, and today supports two children, Erupe and Lilian, from Kenya.

Robert keeps up to date with Erupe and Lilian’s lives and their progress at school through letters. Erupe is at the end of her high school education, but Robert is hoping to help her continue studying.

“She wants to be a teacher,” he says. “I’m hoping to support her through her studies.”

Education, says Robert, can help children like Erupe and Lilian break the cycle of poverty in their families and communities.

“I sponsor children not just to relieve any poverty they are experiencing, but also to help them go to school,” he says.

“Education is important because they will not be able to better themselves unless they are educated.”

Robert says it a responsibility for those who have the means to support children and families in need, to do so. He has a son and a daughter, who also sponsors children.

“We’re wealthy compared to other countries,” Robert says. “I feel we should support those who are less well off.

“I would encourage anybody to sponsor a child. And if they can afford it, I encourage them to sponsor more than one child.

“Through our correspondence with our sponsored children I can see the money is making a difference.” In addition to being a sponsor, Robert has left a gift in his Will to ChildFund. “I believe that I should share this wealth around,” he says.

Today we’re talking with ChildFund’s Bequest Executive, Martin Shields, about ‘Include a Charity Week’, Bequest Donations and why you should think about including ChildFund in your Will.

Martin, can you tell us a little about yourself and your experience?

I have worked in the Not for Profit sector for almost 20 years. Recently, I started as the Bequest Executive at ChildFund Australia and enjoy being in touch with our supporters who care so much about the children and young people that we support.

What is Include a Charity week all about?

The 6th-12th of September is ‘Include a Charity Week’. This week is all about encouraging every family to talk about their estate planning and whether including a charity in their Will is something they are interested in doing.

Include a Charity is a group of 100 charities that encourages everyday Australians to talk about leaving a gift in their Wills. These special gifts let us give support to communities around the world.

What is the theme for this year’s Include a Charity week?

This year’s theme is “When legends begin.” For many Australians, their family history, values, culture, and identity are important to them. You can immortalise those values by leaving a gift to a charity of your choice in your Will. By doing this your passions and interests will continue when you are no longer around. Your gift could inspire others to do the same.  You just need to go online and check out the interactive quiz that helps you explore who you are, your values and prompt you to think about what is important. What sort of legend are you?

How can people get involved?

It’s really simple! For information about leaving a gift in your will to ChildFund click on the link Leaving a Gift in your will to ChildFund.   

If you would like to have a friendly, confidential and obligation free chat, – give me a call on 02 8281 3117 or email

Do I need to be wealthy to leave a gift in your Will?

No, not at all! ChildFund is grateful for every gift in a Will that we receive, no matter how modest. Every gift provides hope for a better future for 70 million children and young people across 23 countries.

What is a Will, and do I even need one?

Simply put a Will is a set of instructions that lets your executor and the people you care about know what to do with your assets (your estate) after you have died. This means that they can be confident that they are carrying out your wishes.

Do I need a Will to leave a gift to ChildFund?

Yes. Without clear instructions on what you want to happen, ChildFund will not receive anything after you have gone. The only way to be sure that ChildFund receives a gift is through a Will.

Why are Wills so lengthy and complicated? Can’t I make it simple?

In an ideal world, a Will would be simple. But, when a Will is made, no one knows what circumstances your executors and loved ones will face after you’re gone. Changes in your circumstances and the law could affect your estate and how it needs to be handled. To ensure that your executor can deal with your assets effectively, no matter what the circumstances, it is important that they have the powers to act in the best interests of your estate and beneficiaries.

How do I know that ChildFund will use my Bequest properly?

ChildFund always works with the executors or solicitors administering the estate to ensure that the wishes and instructions of the Will writer are followed – providing it is legally and ethically possible. 

So, this Include a Charity Week, have the conversation with your family and think about whether you would like to leave a Bequest to ChildFund Australia. If you would like to know more, please contact Martin at 02 8281 3117 or email