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Celebrating birthdays with a difference

25 September 2023, Impact of Our Work

A birthday gift for children that gives twice

When Toby turned one and Arthur turned three years old, their parents Thuy and Malcolm searched for a more meaningful way to celebrate their birthdays.

Discomfort over an abundance of gifts received by the little boys motivated the parents to think of a way to make an impact. 

“I didn’t have parties and presents for my birthday, but I still remember it as being an amazing time,”  Thuy reflects on her childhood. 

So when I see my children having a lot of presents that they easily tire of it’s uncomfortable.

Thuy, mum of Toby and Arthur

The 38-year-old mum says they wanted to make a difference to kids around the world. “We wanted to focus on children and we researched a bit on different charities and liked what we read about Save the Children.”

Malcolm and Thuy celebrated their children’s birthdays with a fundraiser for Save the Children.

Thuy and Malcolm asked their family and friends to give to Save the Children, in lieu of birthday gifts for the boys.

Malcom set up a fundraising page through the Save the Children website. “He found the process to creating the page smooth and easy,”  Thuy shares. Having a way to donate online also made it easy for their loved ones to give a gift.

The birthday fundraiser raised over $2,000. With this amount, Thuy says the Sydney-based family hope to “help the lives of children that are less fortunate because I know the majority in this world aren’t in good places. So I hope that this will help them in any way, just to provide even a glimpse of happiness.”

A heart for charitable giving 

This heart for charitable giving stems from Thuy and Malcom’s experience growing up as part of migrant families in Australia. Thuy’s family were refugees, who escaped the Vietnam War. 

“My parents escaped the Vietnam War on the boats with my sister. My mum was pregnant with my brother at the time, so she gave birth to him at the refugee camp [in Malaysia].”
The family eventually arrived in Australia, where Thuy and another brother was born. Thuy shares that her parents had to work really hard as self-taught seamstresses.

While their parents worked hard in the family home’s garage, Thuy and her siblings “had everything we needed. I remember the struggles – but they were all about money and cultural adjustments for my parents – but for me I remember it being great.” 

Thuy’s life experiences have influenced how she and her husband Malcolm are raising their children to have a greater appreciation of what’s really important.

“I don’t want them to have a life of getting presents and thinking that they’re happy when they get this – that’s not where you find happiness,”  Thuy says.

I believe that if you don’t need charity, you’re rich enough to give it.


Thuy’s inspiring message   

“We live in a blessed country and we need to use our money better for others and not just ourselves. Because if it helps others, it will just help our future generations anyway.”

Thank you to Thuy, Malcolm and their young boys Toby and Arthur whose birthdays helped give life-changing support for children who need it most.

Photo: Supplied by a supporter.

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