04:33PM, Monday 30 November 2020
A six-year old girl from Maidenhead has raised £925 for a village school in India, in honour of her grandfather who passed away in August.
Aariya Tirahan lives in Bray Court and attends Braywick Court School. She and her grandfather Harbhajan Singh Pooni ('Nana') were very close.
He taught her all about the village in India that he visited every year, donating funds and equipment to the local school each time.
"My Nana had such a big heart and he cared about everything in the whole world," said Aariya in a video on Facebook.
"He always taught me that in today’s world there’s a lot of hardship and helping others is a role we all need to play."
During lockdown, Aariya and her grandfather were on Zoom ‘constantly’ and they spoke everyday, sometimes twice a day.
"He was the first person she rang when she did something she was really proud of," said Aariya’s mother Vin Pooni.
Following in her grandfather’s footsteps, Aariya has made a series of Christmas cards for sale to raise money for the school, which will buy a rickshaw for children who cannot afford to take the bus.
"This makes me really sad as I can't even imagine not going to school," said Aariya. "Missing out on school was really hard in lockdown. Imagine how these children must feel."
The idea to start raising money was entirely Aariya’s own, according to Vin. Aariya loves painting and plans to be a famous artist.
Last year made more than £560 for Water Aid with her ‘Water Girl’ superhero comic.
"Aariya said to us: 'I know Nana’s not alive anymore but he’s looking down on us and I still want to give him a special present this year,'" said Vin.
"She’s always been quite aware – she always thinks about what she can do to make a difference."
The cards feature festive themes such as a rainbow Christmas tree, angels and flying doves, decorated using paint, felt tip pens and glitter.
Packs of 10 cards are available for purchase. If you are in Maidenhead, Aariya’s parents can hand-deliver the cards free of charge. Email Aariya.email@example.com for more details.
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