It’s a little known fact that an important source of our income comes from generous people who leave a gift in their will.
What this means is, every year when supporters of Plan International Australia write or update their wills, many choose to donate a gift that reflects the values and passions they hold in life.
This means their legacy takes care of their family and friends, and also helps to create life-changing opportunities for children – especially girls – to finish school and access their rights.
Are you wondering who would do this? What motivates people to leave a bequest in their will? What would their family members say?
We chatted to Plan International supporter Frouke de Reuver to find out!
Frouke started her career as a foreign languages teacher , moving into adult migrant English teaching. She now works in the NSW state government but it was her initial career in language education that led to her involvement with Plan International.
“I travelled to Indonesia to study during my third year of teaching, I would have been 24 or 23 or something. In the 1970s, there was still a lot of poverty in Indonesia and I just thought I wanted some way of being able to help that was in an ongoing way. Sponsoring a child in the community with one of my Indonesian classes and supporting a good focus on education is the way to pretty much improvement anywhere in the world I think. I, myself , started sponsoring a boy in Mali, as it was considered one of the poorest countries in the world. That was most of my rationale. I wanted to make a difference.”
You have been supporting children through Plan International for 39 years now. What led you to decide to leave a gift in your Will for this work?
“I updated my whole will recently and I thought, I have enough to share my Estate between my family and then there is enough for me to give to some of it to my key charities. I thought that was a good idea, it isn’t like my family needs the money so desperately that a few thousand dollars is going to change everything for them.”
What does your family think about your choice?
“My family all share the same ethics and values, they are certainly happy that I am doing it.
We were brought up with that idea of organ donation … why wouldn’t you give your organs if you are dead, if it can help someone else?
The same with money. My family will appreciate my money, but there is enough to support my key areas of passion.”
Would you say your family’s values played a role in your decision to create a legacy for children?
“We were brought up by our mother, in particular, who had a very strong social ethic.
She had a saying, you don’t actually give unless you have to give something up to give’. It means if you don’t have to give up your sandwich to someone else, then you aren’t really sacrificing anything.
My mother’s family were very, very poor, and she grew up in the Netherlands during the depression. They didn’t have anything, they never had meat to eat or anything like that. She was incredibly caring and had real empathy, but also a good sense of humour. She and her parents harboured children from the Jewish community during the war, and she used to be a really great story teller. Mum always managed to tell us the stories in a way that was entertaining and not gruesome and horrible. She was also very even-handed, pointing out that not all Germans were bad, some were just young men who had been conscripted.
And I think that was how my mum passed on this idea to us that ‘this is just what you do’.”
What is it that you’d like to see changed in the world, what do you hope to achieve through supporting Plan International’s work into the future?
“I’ve really realised over the last 20 years or so, that the role of women’s and girls’ education is incredibly important.
Women still have fewer opportunities, they are paid less … much of the time they don’t get to management or senior positions.
When I read about what Plan International does in Nepal to stop some of the child (particularly girls) trafficking, that to me is incredibly important — the more we can do to mitigate that [the better]…
And even simple things that we all take for granted like clean water, not having to walk ten kilometres a day to get clean water from somewhere, good sewerage, we take that for granted.
When I visited the community I sponsor in Nepal, I saw the work around women’s micro-finance projects that Plan International was supporting. The men building these big water tanks to hold more water that comes down the mountain, and the after-school extracurricular activities, both for children but also for the women, to teach them literary and numeracy.
I thought that I wanted to support this work long term. My other big reason for choosing to leave a gift to Plan International is very consciously because it is non-denominational, it is not affiliated with a church or anything. “
Is there any advice you would give other supporters around leaving a gift in their will?
“It is not hard to do, and it is such a very small amount of money. It is a small thing we can do …
I know that I am probably more independent than many people in Australia, but I do believe that most of us are much more affluent than we think are”.
If you can picture one child in the future who might benefit from your generosity, what would you hope for them?
“I would hope they have a choice in what they want to become. That choice means that they might get a good education, go to university or a technical college or start a business.
I know that a lot of former Plan International sponsored children have gone on to support other children as well. This isn’t something that they have to do, but that is something they can do if they’ve had the chance to fulfil themselves in whatever they choose.
And I guess too, a lot of kids have to work really hard. The girls especially, whether it is carting water or making money for the family on the side. It would be nice if they had enough support so they can just play, relax and be kids as well as getting a good education.
We would like to thank Frouke and all of the people who have generously chosen to include a gift to Plan International’s work through their Estate planning.
If you would like to consider leaving a gift to Plan International Australia’s work when you write or update your Will, please contact our Key Relationship Manager, Emily Dudgeon for more information. You can phone +61 0427 407 293 or email [email protected]
Alternatively, you can learn more about leaving a gift in your Will here.