Is there a minimum age to exercise solidarity? The generous initiative of 7-year-old Maria Fernanda is evidence there is not. The little girl chose to celebrate her birthday by having a party with her 1st grade classmates at Itabuna Adventist College, in southern Bahia, Brazil on August 22nd. The fact would be unremarkable, if not for the theme and purpose of the celebration. Maria Fernanda gave up receiving gifts, preferring instead that her classmates bring milk powder, which would then be used for a specific purpose.
“I chose the theme ‘love harvest’ for my party because we have the great love to help children who have cancer. We can help, so I asked for this milk pack to donate to Child Support Group for Cancer (GACC),” Maria explained.
Raffaella Moutinho, Maria’s mother, told us where the idea came from. “The topic of her birthday came up when were organizing her room, separating toys to donate. She said she has a lot of toys and doesn’t need any more and that she could ask her friends to do something to help the GACC children instead.”
The act of selflessness caught the attention of many, including her teacher, Claudia Vivas. Used to joining the social activities promoted by the school, such as the delivery of toys to children in need, Vivas found the student’s spontaneous attitude interesting. “As a teacher, I am honored to note that the values taught in the classroom have been part of Maria Fernanda’s experiences. It is also important to highlight the role of the family, it is always a partnership,” she said.
GACC Sul Bahia is an institution that welcomes children and adolescents from 0 to 18 years old who come to Itabuna to receive cancer treatment. It currently serves an average of 20 families per week, covering an area of more than 200 cities.