By Toby Porter
What’s the write* way to do a spelling test?
If the exorcise is at skool, it’s best to ensure errers are not aloud.But this is a challenge Maya Doobay, aged five, is willing to meet after reading a book in class called Africa’s Big Three.
She was so sad to learn that humans were senselessly killing elephants, hippos and rhinos – note the short versions – that she felt she had to help.
She decided to learn more than 40 words in two weeks to raise money and awareness to stop the illegal trade in tusks.
The pupil of St Teresa’s RC Primary School in Montacute Road, Morden, will be tested on Monday, when she will have to sit and write all 40 words.
Maya set herself a target of £200 – but she is now on £1,200 and climbing.
Her mum Monica Parolalista said: “Her school has really supported her as have we, her friends and family.
“It has been amazing to show Maya that one person’s efforts, with the support of your community, can make a difference in this world.
She is overwhelmed with the kindness that everyone is showing. She can’t believe how many people are supporting her.
“She is working hard to learn them as well as going to school and doing her homework – if she gets all her words correct, one of the sponsors has said they will double their donation. She also received a thank you from the charity, which was amazing.”
On October 1, she was asked to stand up at school and answer her classmates’ questions about Africa’s Big Three and how and why she is fundraising.
Monica said: “Bless her, she said it was really nice that the children want to know about the animals and help them.”
Her teacher Mrs Schneider wrote to Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhan McDonagh, who sent a letter to Maya.
Ms McDonagh said: “What a fantastic amount! I am sure your family and teachers are all very proud of you! I certainly am!
“It is really important that you speak out about the issues that you care most strongly about.
Please keep going!” Kirstin Johnson, UK director of the African Wildlife Foundation wrote to her.
She said: “Thank you so much for your wonderful message to the world about the importance of protecting animals in Africa.
“I am also very impressed by what you already know about them, so please keep on learning about them and you will find so many interesting things.
Did you know that mummy elephants have their babies in their tummies for nearly two years before they are born? And they flap their ears to keep cool?
“More important than that is people like you that want to help them, what you are doing is very special!
So this is a big THANK YOU from the African Wildlife Foundation!”
And Maya should remember – every spelling mistake she makes, the errorists win.
Maya should also follow this advice: if teacher asks you to list two pronouns, the correct answer is “Who, me?”
Maybe that’s two easy? To help, go to www.justgiving.com/
*Note: most of the spellings in this article are intentional.
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.