Even the smallest person can make a huge difference! Read Ailey’s inspiring story:
“I can’t believe you kids are complaining that you have nothing to do! You have so much, the kids in Malawi have nothing!” Megan Smith was frustrated that her kids were complaining about being bored again. Little did she know that she was about to change the life of her daughter Ailey, and the lives of hundreds of kids in Malawi, forever. Instead of going outside to play, Ailey asked her mom “what do you mean they have nothing?” Ailey, only 7 at the time, couldn’t conceive of having nothing; no toys, no bikes, no balls, no playgrounds. But her mom could. Megan had visited Malawi in 2011, after VIP founder Liz Heinzel-Nelson had come to speak at Allentown High School and had inspired Megan to go on a Friendship Trip with VIP. Megan was stunned by the scale and intensity of the poverty she encountered, and as a young mother she couldn’t help but think about how little the kids in Malawi had in the way of toys to take their minds off of the poverty that surrounded them.
As she told Ailey all of this, Ailey grew very upset, but soon she turned her sadness into motivation. Ailey became dedicated to building a playground for the children in Malawi. For her 8th birthday she told her Mom that she didn’t want any gifts, she wanted the money that would have been spent on her to be donated to VIP instead. Ailey asked her family and friends to help her and even made flyers and went door to door, asking people to help her raise money for the kids in Malawi.
By the summer of 2016 Ailey had raised enough money, and VIP was able to build a brand new playground in Malawi. The first one that many of the kids there had ever seen! But Ailey isn’t done yet! Ailey is pen-pals with Trinity, one of the daughters of Megan’s translator from Malawi, and Ailey wants to make sure that she has a playground too. Ailey is halfway through raising the funds for a second playground and hopes to save enough money one day, so that she can go to Malawi with VIP and play with the kids there. When she goes she is going to bring a suitcase full of toys, stuffed animals and blankets for the kids there.
Ailey you are such an inspiration and it is our great honor to partner with you. Keep changing the world one playground at a time!