Two siblings who lived “frugal” lives left a lasting legacy with $1 million bequeathed to Save the Children.
The money will help the charity provide better quality services to thousands of children in Nepal’s Karnali province.
Save the Children NZ chief executive Heidi Coetzee said the bequest is the largest amount the charity has received since joining in 2015.
“We are extremely grateful to the siblings for their generosity, and because this is such a rare gift, we wanted to use it to create a legacy-like project,” she said.
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The siblings were born and raised in Auckland and have lived in their Remuera family’s home all their lives. Neither married or had children.
The ‘private’ couple inherited their estate from their father, who was a successful businessman, and lived ‘understated and simple’.
Coetzee said the siblings were not interested in spending money on themselves.
“Their frugal way of life meant they could share a legacy with the charities they believed in,” she said.
Coetzee said the couple decided together where their legacy would go before they died.
In addition to Save the Children, the siblings also left $51,500 to the University of Auckland for stroke and heart disease research, and an unspecified amount to the Asthma Foundation and Blind and Low Vision NZ.
They died in 2007 and 2018 respectively.
Save the Children will use the money left behind by the couple to fill a “critical gap” in maternal and newborn care in Karnali province.
It will specifically target the municipalities of Chamunda Bindrasaini and Aathabis.
The charity will train caregivers and health professionals in best-practice health and nutrition, and support health and birth centers.
The money will also be used to make repairs to existing health facilities and provide better equipment.
“Many children in Karnali province are underweight, fail to reach developmental milestones and experience physical punishment and psychological aggression,” Coetzee said.
“This [money] will provide parents and carers with the education and support they need to improve outcomes for children.”
Save the Children will partner with Everest Club Dailekh, a not-for-profit social service provider, to focus on pregnant and nursing women and their partners, as well as early childhood caregivers.
The program aims to reach 4000 families over a period of three years after its launch in September.
Jennifer Syed, director of Save the Children’s Nepal, welcomed the legacy as an extension of the close ties New Zealand and Nepal have had since Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay climbed Mount Everest in 1953.
“We are so grateful for the support of our Kiwi partners and the generosity of two siblings from Auckland, whose gift will mean so much to the people of Nepal.”