These last couple of months have been such a whirlwind of activity for us here at Little Echoes that we’re only now beginning to catch our breath! The future is looking super hopeful and bright, thanks to the hard work and generosity of some wonderful people who volunteer their time, and in some instances their money!
In December of 2018, we were the nominated charity of Sharon Cairns, wife of the British Ambassador here in Sweden, and The International Women’s Club of Stockholm for their Christmas fundraiser. I met Sharon back in 2016, and she has been an incredible source of guidance and inspiration ever since. The nomination came out of the blue but at a poignant time in the Little Echoes journey. You see, I (Tracey), had been ruminating for months over possible ways to make our venture sustainable and more meaningful for our members and truth be told, I was not sure how we could continue with zero funding or support. Despite the hard work, and the impact I knew we could make, our future faced uncertainty. So when this opportunity arose, I grabbed it without hesitation.
After weeks of anticipation, preparation, and copious emails, the day finally arrived. Our first fundraising event and my first presentation about our organisation – how wonderfully terrifying!
When I arrived at the beautiful Operaterrassan it was abuzz with activity; women were darting around decorating tables, arranging raffle items, giving out name tags, and working together – all for us, all for Little Echoes – it was overwhelming, but it also anchored my determination to speak as honestly as I could. I got stuck in with helping to get everything in place and chatted lightheartedly with the women around me.
I felt a huge responsibility for not only the organisation but for the many families I have met or spoken with over these last few years. I wanted to ensure I did both them and Little Echoes justice with my words. I hoped to illustrate the struggle families go through to be heard and get the right support in place, families whose children are suffering at school through a lack of understanding, training, and funding. It was a chance to highlight just how much the exceptionally long waiting times can negatively impact a child, and pose the question, “What about the families who have no means to access private care providers during this waiting time, what happens to them? ” I wanted to explain that inclusion is a myth and that access to the broader community is fraught with obstacles. THIS was an opportunity to tell our collective stories and to highlight how we at Little Echoes plan to support and nurture the so many families in need.
I don’t remember much of my speech. However, I can vividly recall being overcome with emotion at the end and having to find myself a quiet spot to cry in private. I remember the kindness of the people around me, the offers of practical help, I remember the smiles and the tears, and the beautiful singing voices of the children from Stockholm International School. I remember feeling that this was indeed a pivotal moment for the future of Little Echoes and I couldn’t be more excited! Thanks to this event, we now have our SECOND fundraiser next week, organised by the International Philanthropic Society of Stockholm, and hosted by H.E. Mr. Mario Cospito, Ambassador of Italy. It feels like such a dream even as I write these words.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with creating such a wonderful event, the detail and work which into it was astounding! Special thanks go out to Marie Stenulv for her patience and guidance throughout. Last but by no means least, to Sharon Cairns for her unwavering belief in Little Echoes from our inception and for her continued support.
Thanks to all of you for your generosity and love!
Photo credit: Ivee Hidvegi