ABOUT BIRTHDAY HAPPINESS ASIA
Marilou, our co-founder, believed that every child deserves the opportunity to have their special day acknowledged and celebrated with a party full of happiness, laughter and joy, regardless of their personal circumstances.
In loving memory of Marilou Edora Fernandes and Founder of Birthday Happiness Asia
The concept behind Birthday Happiness (Asia) is not a new idea. The idea of celebrating the birthdays of less fortunate children was started in the 1970s by two middle-class Argentinian gentlemen who noticed that many children were simply abandoned by their parents after the great economic crisis that hit the country. These children were either put into institutions or orphanages run by the government or charities.
The two gentlemen noticed that although the government or charities looked after the basic needs of the children like food, education, clothing etc. they did not celebrate the birthdays of the children. They went into local orphanages and threw birthday parties for the children Argentina style.
The centre will look through their records and will ask the celebrant if they wish for Birthday Happiness to celebrate their birthdays? Once the celebrant says yes, the party is theirs and they can invite who they want to their party.
This is very important as the celebrant must feel special and invite who they want, not the centre, social worker or teacher. The only restriction we put on it is that depending on the size of the room we suggest a maximum of 10 celebrants per party and each can invite up to 3/4 guests. Thus children who can not celebrate the most important day in their young lives do. A lasting memory is given to the child and all aspects of their lives improve from education, relations to family and friends and society.
The idea soon spread to other countries in South America, North America, Europe and even Africa. Years ago I heard the back end of a BBC radio report about the two gentlemen in Argentina. Their story appealed to me because I grew up in a single parent family. My mother could not afford to celebrate my sister and my birthdays and because we never had any parties, we were never invited to any parties. Always felt that we missed a major part of growing up.
It was with this feeling of missing out was an important part of my childhood that I founded Birthday Happiness. However unlike other organisations in the world, Birthday Happiness works with what we term as Partnering Organisations (PO) like Caritas, SoCo, Boys and Girls Club etc. We will approach a PO and ask them to nominate a centre, the date and time we go to the centre. It is then up to the centre to nominate the celebrants at the centre who cannot afford to celebrate their birthdays.