Seven-year-old from Maple Ridge raises $4,500 for charities (w/ gallery)

Published: July 25, 2013

Seven-year-old Riyah Biln and her four-year-old sister set up to sell blueberries in Maple Ridge. Allana Mennie/World Vision Canada.

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Little Riyah Biln loves school so much she’s doing everything she can to help kids across the globe get an education just like her.

For the past three years the seven-year-old from Maple Ridge has been selling blueberries or frozen food packages from her family’s local farm, Silver Valley Farms, and donating the proceeds to charities.

Biln’s philanthropic initiatives sparked from a simple World Vision commercial she saw when she was five-years-old. It made her realize not all kids have access to the education and daily meals she does.

“I would like to help kids,” Biln said from her blueberry stand in Maple Ridge at 232nd St. and 128 Ave., near the Petro Canada station owned by her dad.

“I like to go to school,” she said. “I’d just like everyone to go to school, it’s fun going to school and I want them to have some fun too.”

Biln, her four-year-old sister, Jasmin and their mother, Aman Biln, have been out selling the fresh fruit every day since the beginning of the month.

“Constantly from (July 5) we’re doing it for a few hours a day – up to five hours,” said Aman, who said she couldn’t be more proud of her daughter.

Biln hopes to raise $1,000 to donate to World Vision by Sunday — before she, her mother and Jasmin head to India to visit family.

Last year, Biln raised $2,000 over two months, with half of it going towards the Canadian Feed the Children program and the other half towards World Vision’s West African Food Crisis.

Since the ripe young age of five, she’s raised a grand total of $4,500, which has gone towards World Vision Canada, as well as local charities like Maple Ridge’s Friends in Need Food Bank.

“Every year she’s excited to do this,” said Aman. “Now it’s just a tradition and she doesn’t want to stop now.”

The fundraising is also about inspiring others, Aman added, like last year, when Biln invited her kindergarten class to help sell the blueberries.

“It’s more about giving and getting other kids involved and getting youth involved and giving and making a difference,” said Aman.

Biln’s hard work was even recognized by World Vision Canada’s Youth and Student Engagement Leader for B.C. and Alberta, Allana Mennie, who paid a visit to the blueberry stand on Thursday.

“She’s the youngest that I’ve worked with that has been so dedicated,” Mennie said. “She talks to all of the people that she sells to telling them why she’s doing it and she didn’t get bored of it after the first summer, she stuck with it after four years. Now that’s very encouraging.”

“And what she’s sacrificing time wise, like she’s not playing with friends or out in the sun, she does hours of it a day and she wants to do it.”

But Biln, who plans to keep fundraising in years to come, doesn’t feel like she’s sacrificing anything.

“I do it every day … it’s kinda fun, and I do it with my mom and my sister,” she said, in between customers.



Picture 1 of 5

Riyah and Jasmin Blin selling blueberries to a customer in Maple Ridge. Allana Mennie/World Vision Canada.

lcahute@theprovince.com
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