“I want kids to know that they can start whatever they want. Anything is possible when it comes to helping people,” 9-year-old Milla Martin told The Local.
When Milla recently saw images of starving children in Africa on TV she took matters into her own hands – literally – and began selling buns outside local supermarkets around the north Stockholm suburb of Täby.
“We talked a lot about Africa at home, and when I saw what was happening there, I was disappointed that people didn’t do anything about it. That’s when I came up with the idea of selling buns,” she said.
With the help of other willing young activists in suburban Stockholm, Milla and her brother Marius started ‘Bullhjälpen’ (‘Bun Help’).
Since launching their efforts at the end of July, Milla and her friends have helped raise more than 35,000 kronor ($5,500) selling buns outside supermarkets.
“We live very comfortably here in Sweden. In Africa, some children don’t even have any food or water,” she said.
Milla and her brother have since managed to get several local supermarkets in the Stockholm area to provide buns to be purchased for ten kronor each.
All of the proceeds from the sales go to the Radiohjälpen charity, which organises fundraising for humanitarian purposes through Swedish Radio, Swedish Television and Swedish Educational Broadcasting (Utbildningsradion).
Milla and her crew of classmates, friends, and others inspired by her project, have concentrated their operation mainly in the Norrtälje and Danderyd areas of Stockholm.
The youngsters’ innovative fundraising efforts have since caught the eye of Swedish government ministers.
At last Sunday’s bun sale, which took place at Sollentuna Centrum shopping centre, integration minister Eric Ullenhag and international development cooperation minister Gunilla Carlsson gave Milla a hand.
“What happens in Africa affects us too, and you can see this in children who are aware and want to make a difference,” said Carlsson to SvD.
“Young people are a way to keep the commitment alive and show that doing something actually does matter,” she added.
Using social media like Facebook and the Swedish ‘Blogg.se’ network, Milla has been able to reach out to other children and encourage them to follow her lead.
With over a thousand ‘likes’ on Facebook, the ‘Bullhjälpen’ practice has since its emergence spread to other towns in Stockholm’s archipelago and central Sweden.
“I can only imagine how great it would be if 100 or 1,000 children did this – then there would be many who we could help in Africa,” she told The Local.