21st July 2020

A YOUNG GIRL FROM MANCHESTER has been recognised with a national award after asking family and friends to donate to charity, instead of buying her Birthday presents.

Varshini Sundaram (10) was chosen by the Oral Health Foundation as part of Nominate A Smile – a competition that looks to shine a light on people going the extra mile for their local community.

Ahead of her 10th Birthday, Varshini asked for donations to a children’s charity, rather than receive gifts. The act of compassion raised £150 for Children in Need.

Varshini (pictured right) said that Children in Need was the first charity that popped into head after having seen it's good work on television. She didn't have a target in mind but was shocked when she found out she'd managed to raise £150.

Varshini was nominated by her mother Lavanya, who is very proud of her daughter’s generosity.

Lavanya said: “Varshini has shown that acts of kindness can be done by children of any age. I’m very proud of her and the money she raised has gone to a very important cause.”

Varshini has won a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, which is on its way to her now.

Nominate A Smile is organised by the Oral Health Foundation as part of National Smile Month – a campaign that raises awareness of the importance of a healthy smile.

Speaking about her brushing habits, Varshini says she brushes “every day, once in the morning and once at night”.  Her mother was quick to agree, adding: “I think it’s very important for parents to help their children look after their teeth. I always tell mine you won't get another set, so you need to take care of them."

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes Varshini’s generosity and compassion at such a young age is remarkable.

Dr Carter says: “Varshini’s selfless decision to ask for donations to Children in Need rather than birthday presents is commendable indeed. During the difficult times we find ourselves in, little acts of humanity like Varshini’s are really inspiring.

“We hope that Varshini enjoys her electric toothbrush and will continue to look after her wonderful smile.”

For more information about Nominate A Smile or the wider National Smile Month campaign then head to www.smilemonth.org. The Oral Health Foundation also run a free and confidential Dental Helpline for those seeking oral health advice and information. It can be reached on 01788 539780 and is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.