Little Girls in Japan Sell Their Toys To Help Poor Cambodians
By John Maloy
July 6, 2006
In late May, two five-year-old girls from Japan held a sale
of their own clothes and toys to raise money for mosquito nets in Cambodia.
Melissa Newsham and Yuka Kiuchi, former kindergarten
classmates at Willowbrook International School in Tokyo, were able to collect
$119.22, which they recently donated to The Cambodia Daily Mosquito Net
Melissa’s mother, Kiyoko Newsham, wrote in an e-mail that
the impetus for the sale came out of bi-monthly teaching sessions she holds for
the two girls. Newsham said she uses these Sunday classes to teach the girls
math and social studies in non-traditional ways.
She said she became aware of the mosquito net campaign
through the children’s school, which has held fundraising events to aid Cambodia
in the past.
According to Newsham, these fundraisers inspired the garage
sale and she recognized it as a good opportunity to teach the girls about math
and the value of money.
Additionally, Newsham said that she hoped that the children
could “learn about Cambodia and how to be helpful to others.”
In preparation for the sale, the children studied Cambodian
geography from a map and learned about the country from the Internet, she said.
The children then chose which of their toys and clothes
they would part with for the sale. Newsham and the girls decided together on
prices for each of the items as part of their math studies.
On the day of the sale, Melissa and Yuka took turns as the
cashier for their customers. In just three hours they had racked up about $100
worth of sales—the counting of their earnings serving as one more practical math
Newsham said that it rained in Tokyo throughout the night
before the garage sale, and the girls were worried it would have to be
postponed. Luckily, the weather cleared up in time for the sale, but the
downpour had brought with it an unexpected abundance of mosquitoes.
Newsham said Melissa and Yuka joked throughout the sale
that they also needed a mosquito net.
Insects aside, Newsham said Melissa was so excited about the success of the sale that she called her father that evening and exclaimed, “Daddy, we can buy 23 mosquito nets!”