In memory of Sophia, who died on March 15th 2020 when she was only 13 years old, the Sophia Zaveri foundation contributes to three charities which reflect the spirit, compassion and bi-cultural roots of her caring and nurturing nature.
Sophia was born in Brazil and spent some of her growing-up years there, spending time between Brazil and the UK. She loved going back to Brazil to visit. She loved the warmth and the people and whenever she saw a poor person or a young child selling something to make money, she would say, “Can’t we help them or please buy something?”
If you could have met Sophia, you would have seen what a special girl she was. She lit up the room with her bright smile and made immediate friends with everyone she met.
Sophia loved children and helping others. She was always changing her mind about what she wanted to do when she grew up but she had already decided that she wanted to help orphans and the poor in her gap year before university. Sadly, she will never have that chance, but we like to believe she would have become a doctor, nurse or teacher so that she could do as much as possible to help others.
She was the Head Girl in her school and especially looked out for the younger children and always had something nice to say to them and about them. She loved to draw, sing, dance and learnt to play the piano. At home, she loved nothing better than to watch a movie with her parents on Netflix, talk with her older brothers by phone, or send them silly videos of her making different funny faces. She was truly the light of our lives.
Sophia will be eternally missed not only by her family but by everyone whose life she touched. Because of her constant desire to help others, we want to honour her memory and keep her light shining by helping others.
Below are more details of the three main areas we will fund:
Support for orphanages
Sophia always loved young children. She liked to play with them, make them laugh, take care of them and always felt comfortable and fulfilled around younger kids. She wanted to work with orphans in the future and it is one of the reasons that we (via Sophia’s father’s company, BMI) have provided support to orphanages in Colombia and Brazil over the years. From 2015 to 2018, Sophia and her father visited orphanages in Salvador (Brazil) around Christmas, delivering toys and enough food for a month.
The Sophia Zaveri Foundation will therefore offer continuous year-round support of food and supplies to an orphanage in Salvador which shelters and educates young children.
Depending on donations and ongoing funding, we hope to build and open a new orphanage in Monte Gordo – a very poor town in Bahia in the northeast of Brazil where there is currently nowhere for orphans to find shelter (the nearest orphanage is 60 km away). Monte Gordo is very near Guarajuba – her favourite place in the world.
Support for families in extreme poverty
We will support 15 families in small towns in Bahia - who are in extreme poverty. This means they are earning less than R$ 600 a month which is approx. US$115, £90 or €105 at today’s exchange rate (April 2020).
These are families who are not covered by government aid programs and never have enough food to eat. The foundation will therefore be supplying them with food and other items to last them for each month.
Support for future teachers and doctors from impoverished families
We will support five students from very poor families who, despite going to under-funded, under-equipped state high schools, were smart enough to get into a one of the highly competitive federal universities where they are studying to become doctors or teachers. However, even though education is free in Brazilian federal universities, they often fail or drop out because they can’t even afford the bus fare to university, or they have to stop their studies in order to work to help feed the family or to deal with other life needs and hardships.
We will therefore cover a significant part of their expenses for the rest of their university studies to make sure that they can complete their degrees and achieve their dream of being a doctor or teacher. Upon completion, they are highly likely to return and help in their communities but will certainly earn enough to maintain their families. Depending on funding we hope to increase the number of students supported each year.
In addition to these three core missions, when funding is available, we will support emergency and special causes. For example, at this moment (April 2020) the doctors and nurses of the UK Nation Health Service (NHS) are putting their lives in risk to treat the Covid-19 patients in hospital. Many have already lost their lives in this effort.
So, as the first activity of The Sophia Zaveri Foundation, we have been providing gift boxes to doctors and nurses in central London who are staying at apartments provided by Anglo Educational. In total, they have made over 50 apartments available to key NHS doctors, ICU nurses and other NHS staff free of charge.
These are people on very long shifts who would normally have an exceptionally long commute each day. Many of them may not even be going home to their families so they can do more hours and avoid the risk of infecting their family - which has already happened to many who work in the NHS.
Thank you for taking the time to consider supporting The Sophia Zaveri Foundation. We welcome donations of any size so we can continue with and further expand the principal causes and objectives of The Sophia Zaveri Foundation, in memory of our beloved daughter who so wanted to show love and generosity to others.
The Zaveri Family
(Samir, Vera, João Victor & Sarin)
- Ron Merriman
- Margareta Zaveri
- Nada C Miller
Fundraising team: Sophia's Foundation (6)
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