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Founder of BMI starts charity foundation

The founder of BMI has started a charity foundation in memory of his daughter to honour her “caring and nurturing nature” after she tragically passed away in March.

The foundation has been set up in Sophia Zaveri's memory. Photo: Samir Zaveri

The Sophia Zaveri Foundation will provide support for an orphanage in Salvador and 15 families living in extreme poverty in Bahia

 Samir Zaveri, the CEO and founder of BMI– a major organiser of events in the international education industry – is trying to raise £50,000 for three charitable causes in Brazil. 

The Sophia Zaveri Foundation will provide support for an orphanage in Salvador and 15 families living in extreme poverty in Bahia. The foundation will also support teachers and doctors from impoverished families.

“If you could have met Sophia, you would have seen what a special girl she was”

Sophia Zaveri was born in Brazil before moving to the UK, and from 2015 to 2018, she visited orphanages in Salvador around Christmas with her father, delivering toys and enough food for a month. 

Zaveri paid tribute to his daughter, speaking of her desire to help others and her dreams of becoming a doctor. 

“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,” he said. 

“She was only 13 when she passed away but she 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,” he added.

According to Samir Zaveri, the orphanage that the foundation will help has always been short of resources. It is now in even greater need, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He explained that a large number of families in Salvador that he plans on helping are living in extreme poverty, earning less than R$ 600 (£86) a month.

Zaveri added that such families are not covered by government aid programs.

The foundation will support five students from impoverished families who are studying to become doctors or teachers to ensure they can afford the bus fare to university and so they don’t need to stop their studies to work to help feed the family or other life needs. 

On occasion, Zaveri plans to help other special causes. For example, the foundation joined the Anglo Educational NHS initiative by providing gift boxes to doctors and nurses.

“Nothing will bring Sophia back, but with this foundation, we will be able to help improve and sustain the lives of hundreds of orphans, families and students and this is something she would have done if she was still with us and would be very proud of,” he added.

The Sophia Zaveri Foundation’s Fundraiser page shows that £35,893 has been raised at the time of writing from some 318 donors.

Details of the foundation can be found here.

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