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Making generosity a family tradition

POSTED June 18, 2024

Making generosity a family tradition

By Dave Stell, Communications Manager

Noel,Dora and family
The Perera Family, Noel and Dora, with their three children, Serena, Nicholas and Mitchell at Silver Peaks, Killarney Provincial Park.

Shared values are often considered essential to a healthy, long-term relationship. That’s certainly the case for Noel and Dora Perera, who recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Throughout their marriage, the couple has made helping vulnerable children a life priority and a family tradition.

Together, they’ve been supporters of Children Believe for more than 33 years. Noel was a child sponsor before they met and after they got married, they decided to sponsor more children. When their family grew, they kept on giving. As their children grew into successful adults, many of their sponsored children graduated, too.

The Richmond Hill couple, who currently sponsors six children, points to a simple but profound reason they continue to be sponsors for children who are denied choices in life.

“Society needs to be able to come together to do this,” Dora says. “For us, a big part of it is looking at the children of today and knowing that those are going to be our adults of the future. These are the people who are going to move on and do bigger and greater things. And if we can do something that’s going to help that along, why wouldn’t we?”

Noel’s job as a chartered accountant and Dora’s experience as a teacher in a high-needs area of Toronto has reinforced their conviction to make a difference in the lives of children everywhere living through difficult circumstances.

“I would say what you’re doing here (as child sponsors) is finding a direct connection to the actual, impactful contribution,” Noel says. “We have a lot more resources in Canada than the places we sponsor. Even if you provide the littlest of help, you can create a big difference.”

Letters from the children made it feel like they were all part of one big global family.

“Young kids, they would draw pictures because maybe they couldn’t write something or their message was transcribed for them, telling us what they were thinking about and that type of thing,” Dora says. “Being a teacher, it was that kind of thing that hit me. We have different circumstances, but we’re not that different. Everybody has a desire for a better life. They have the same desire for love. Little things like that drew us to continue to do this.”

Together, they have passed along Noel’s passion for sponsoring children with their family. He offers advice to anyone who is considering doing the same.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to give back,” he says. “So, hopefully this would motivate them to do something like that if they are thinking of it themselves.”

Find out how you can make a difference, and become an impactful child sponsor like Noel and Dora today!

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

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