Her goal? To help children who don’t have the same advantages she does.
“It makes me feel happy because I'm helping others, but it makes me feel sad because people in Ethiopia have to work hard just to eat,” Olivia said when asked about the project.
Olivia’s mom Lisa is a key force behind the annual Mini Gems & Java fundraiser in London, which raises money for Mothers with a Heart for Ethiopia. Her volunteer work opened Olivia’s eyes to the realities in developing countries.
“When I volunteered at the Mini Gems & Java event I learned they don’t have a lot. I know the money from Mini Gems & Java goes to helping other things, so I wanted to start my own fundraiser to help them have toys, too.”
The 10-year-old had a little bit of experience with grassroots efforts, making sweet treats as a way to raise money for charity through her summer camp the past two years.
It’s hard work making all those hand-sewn products - Olivia has enlisted her mom, aunt and nana for support - but she is one dedicated seamstress. Olivia originally thought about selling her hand warmers, eye pillows and hot packs at school, but was rebuffed because of school board rules.
She didn’t let that challenge deter her, though - Olivia told us it was “nothing compared to what the kids in Ethiopia have to face” - and the Wedlakes came up with another solution.
“My mom and I decided to start a Facebook Page to show and sell my items,” she said. Olivia uses that page, @ToysforYouLondon, to showcase her products and take orders. Everyday she checks the page after school to see if there are any other comments requesting a hand warming, eye or neck pillow.