Little Helpers on the Run members Aiza, Abdullah and Aish Khurram have been named Young Citizens of the Year at The Hills Shire’s 2024 Australia Day Awards. The not-for-profit community organisation is run by children committed to changing the world with acts of kindness.
Little Helpers supports diverse communities from all cultures and backgrounds and conducts projects for children, the elderly, women in need and for those who are homeless. They also carry out acts of kindness for community service workers including nurses, doctors, police, midwives, teachers, paramedics, firefighters and first responders.
The organisation has over 400 types of kindness projects, and operates in five different countries.
Just some of Aiza, Abdullah and Aish’s achievements include organising breakfast clubs, fresh fruit projects, grocery runs for families in need, and donations of clothes, toys, books and gifts at schools.
They also participate in projects for the elderly including facilitating social and community activities like tea parties, knitting for a cause, art activities and ‘adopting a grandparent’ at nursing homes.
Aiza, Abdullah and Aish have conducted numerous initiatives to bridge the intergenerational gap, including working on creating over 30 thousand cards specifically for the elderly. They work with overseas children to send heartfelt messages to people in nursing homes in Australia, creating a beautiful exchange of sentiments. Those people, in turn, reciprocate with their messages.
Cards are also sent to children in hospitals, fostering connections and spreading joy.
Aiza, 19, said: “I am extremely grateful to The Hills Shire Council and Mayor Dr Peter Gangemi for selecting us for this esteemed award. Thank you to the Council for recognising the importance of involving youth in acts of kindness and intergenerational projects.”
“I have been a volunteer at Little Helpers on the Run for many years now and witnessing the impactful journey the organisation has taken by accomplishing over six thousand kindness projects has proved that our youth can help make this world a special place!” Aiza said.
Eleven-year-old Aish said: “Being acknowledged and nominated made me feel that my work is genuinely making people happy. The positiveness I receive from the community inspires me to do more for them.
“I am very grateful to Mayor Dr Peter Gangemi, for giving me this award. Thank you so much!”
Abdullah,15, said: “Winning the Young Citizen of the Year award was an incredible experience, especially when I shared the news with our elderly friends in Little Helpers. Witnessing their overwhelming joy and tears made me realize the profound impact of our work,” Abdullah said.
“It shows how a simple act of kindness, like sharing this award, can bring enormous joy to those around us”
Little Helpers offers children the opportunity to work globally, encouraging them to bring ideas aimed at spreading kindness to life with the guidance of the organisation. They also provide a platform for university students, school students, TAFE participants, Central Link members, and Duke of Edinburgh Award participants to complete their community service hours.
As well, they conduct a special “Make Me A Genius Program” that encourages children to develop resilience, be optimistic and be actively engaged in activities that give back to the community.
The group also becomes involved in Disaster or Emergency Relief Projects by providing food and water relief to families in need, gifts for special celebrations, educational support and essential supplies to communities in need.