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Kids Reach New Summits in Planning Purple Cake Day Events

By Meadow Hilley, TIE Editor
Kids Reach New Summits in Planning Purple Cake Day Events

Days before Zenzie could enjoy the purple cake she’d requested for her fourth birthday party, a magnitude 7 earthquake hit Haiti. Her mother, a humanitarian aid worker from New Zealand by the name of Emily Sanson, stood among the devastated population struggling to comprehend that Zenzie, along with her five-year-old sister Kofie-Jade and their father Emmanuel, were among the 300,000 victims of this massive tragedy. Emily’s one-year-old daughter, Alyahna, was rescued from the rubble.
Kenbe la is Haitian Creole for “never give up.” It is with this sort of remarkable resilience that Emily established the Kenbe La Foundation Charitable Trust to both honor her family and provide educational opportunities to children in dire need.
With a focus on sports, music, leadership, and entrepreneurship, the foundation provides educational opportunities to disadvantaged children and aims to develop their self-confidence and life skills.
As it has evolved over the years, Kenbe La has come to concentrate on helping three transformative projects in Haiti, Nepal, and Kenya that bring quality education to hundreds of children living in poverty.
Launched in 2011 by the Kenbe La Foundation, Purple Cake Day is a “global day of action” that celebrates children, encourages them to learn about the challenges facing many of their peers around the world, and inspires them to come up with fun, creative ways to raise funds that can improve the lives of those with limited or no access to quality education.
“Purple Cake Day gives children the opportunity to express themselves in innovative, original and fun ways,” explained Emily. “But most importantly it is a chance for children to learn about generosity, compassion, and gain an awareness of children less fortunate than themselves.”
Funds raised through the efforts of thousands of preschool and K-12 students around the world are used to buy school stationary, books, classroom furniture, computers, and other educational resources. The foundation additionally provides funds for uniforms, scholarships, literacy programs, teacher training, and the renovation and building of clean, safe, child-friendly classrooms. Money raised also pays for meals for children who would otherwise go hungry at school, along with health programs.
For the past six years, children have celebrated Purple Cake Day by holding wearable art challenges, selling baked goods, making flags of hope, singing songs, and otherwise going purple in countless creative ways. Bella gave up her Christmas presents. Kahu ran 5 km. Havana shaved her head. Eli tackled a triathlon. The Fa’avae siblings kayaked the Abel Tasman and climbed Purple Top.
“We have been amazed with what they come up with on their own,” said Emily. “Once they have been introduced to the idea, kids have been taking the lead in fundraising and celebrating … The generosity in our children can be contagious.”
Any day is a good day to go purple. For more information on how individuals, groups, schools, and businesses can get involved, visit

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