Donation Box by Ayesha Marfani

A poor and roughly educated child longs to make a contribution to the school donation box; by Ayesha Marfani.

They set the beautiful donation box at the entrance of the school. I loved the beauty of the box. The purple ribbons over it were cool. I saw students and parents putting in money. Every time someone neared it to put anything in its mouth; shaped as purple smiling lips, I felt happy and sad at the same time - happy because I loved the thought of money reaching the victims and sad because I couldn't contribute anything.

I didn't have a single penny to put in the donation box. I am poor penniless. The reason I am in school is my brilliant mind and the benevolence of one man who saw me selling the balloons. He asked me if I want to study and I said yes. I never disappointed the man. I excelled, and so he maintained his scholarship.

I knew the importance of the donation box for the victims. Every time in morning and evening, I stayed near the donation box with my gaze fixed at the donators. My intense interest in the donation box made the volunteers suspicious. They know of my poverty, so they guessed it did be because I wanted money.

The next day, they moved the donation box outside the principal's office. My obsession to see the donors compelled me to remain affixed near the donation box. My desire to put something in the purple opening of the box increased. Days followed other days and my urge of donating got stronger. One day our English teacher taught us creative writing and talked about the impact of words. I felt the lights and sparks in my brain. I got an idea to make a donation.

I wrote late many special notes at night that day and woke up early. I slipped the papers in the cars passing by, and I even slipped some inside the doors of the big houses. I felt fulfilled. I went to school. I waited for the school to get over. I held the exclusive paper tightly and smiled to myself. I waited for the volunteers to leave and when no one was in sight, I moved to the box and put my exclusive paper inside. I felt a firm grip on my shoulders, and then all the volunteers shouted, "You little beggar child, you thief, we suspected you of your dirty business."

I stood gaping at them. They took me to the principal's office and convicted me of taking money from the box. I promised that I hadn't taken a penny. No one listened. They checked me inside out. They got nothing except the paper I wrote last night. It read:

Dear people,
Every night I hear the cries and weeps of the victims. I see the eyes of little kids looking hopefully at their mothers for food. Empty stomach hurts, so does homelessness and so does the loss of loved ones. The pain makes me wither on my bed and then I play the imagination game.
I imagine myself in heaps of gold coins, and then I imagine myself handing all those to the kids and victims around me. Alas! It's my illusion. I can't donate, but I know you can. If you want to donate then the purple box with the purple smile awaits you at a national high school outside the principal's office.
A poor donator

The principal eyed me with teary eyes. I felt his hands shaking, just then the Peon announced that there is a gathering outside the school. People outside want to know about the purple box with purple smiling lips. The principal smiled and took me and the box outside. A few people put cheques inside the box. Then there were few more, and the people kept on multiplying each day as I slipped the notes each day in different localities.

When the box was filled, the principal opened it in the assembly. He told the donated figure. He said, "I will announce the biggest donor who will accompany me to help the victims."

I thought what luck for the biggest donor and my illusion of handing over the gold coins to the victims dazed me.

Someone called me; I heard my name. It was the principal who called. He wanted me to come forward. I went with shaky legs not knowing the purpose of the call. He clutched the special paper I put in the box.

He said, "This boy is the biggest donor. He is poor, yet he wrote the notes to the richest, and we got hefty donations. He had also made a special donation, and it's this paper. I am reading it aloud to you all,"

Dear Donation Box,
This is the paper of wishes and prayers. I can't put in you money, yet I have invited those who can. I love you purple smiling lips and want you to spread the same dazzling smile on the faces of the victims.
Poor donor

I am standing in the heaps of food items and money. I see victimized kids, mothers and old people coming to me. I hand them what they need. Their smile on receiving their needs is dazzling. I love it. It's just like the smiling lips of the purple box.

Only this time it is not an illusion. It's a reality.

My message to you: Dream big, aim high.


  1. A tender and hopeful story, thank you,

  2. A beautiful story, simply told. Thank you, Ayesha.

  3. I appreciate a story that has a positive message untouched by cynicism. Too many if us are afraid to do such; we fear being called sentimental. But if a piece is as well done as this is, there's nothing to worry about. Leila Allison

  4. Nice message and a positive and grateful main character. A bit preachy but I liked it.

  5. an exceptional story, feel good and, as has been remarked on, not a hint of cynicism. nothing wrong with this at all!
    Mike McC

  6. The urge to make charitable donation expressed as an emotional and creative force. I especially like the construction of this piece - book-ended by the two epistles.
    B r o o k e

  7. I love stories that cry out to be told as well as read: this is one. Sad that the volunteers were so blinkered. The setting is a large city where cars drive slowly past kerbside sellers and where a child can thrust a note in through a window? The magic is in the response to the notes, reminds me of Field of Dreams.