When Lydia Nash appeared on the TV programme Who wants to be a millionaire ? and was fortunate enough to win £16,000, she decided to give all the money away. This wouldn’t have been surprising if she had been rich or famous, but Lydia is a 19-year-old student.
Lydia gave all the money to a charity which helps orphan children in Thailand and where she had also worked as a volunteer for the previous three years. ‘ I first visited the orphanage when I was seventeen and I felt very depressed by what I saw. When I got back to England I felt angry- looking around all I could see were people who were obsessed with money. That convinced me to return to Thailand the following year.’
After she won the money some of her friends thought that maybe she had made the wrong decision. ‘Some people said I should have saved it for a deposit to buy a house or to pay back my student loan.’ Lydia said. ‘That really annoyed me. Students seem to live in an unreal world, where they constantly complain about being poor. But there’s an enormous difference between our situation and people who have absolutely no money.’
With the help of money Lydia gave them, the charity has just finished building ‘ Rainbow House,’ a new facility that will house 50 young children, where they will live until they are adopted.
If Lydia had won a million pounds and not only £16,000, would she still have given away all the money? She said, ‘Before going on the show I thought a lot about what it would be like to have a lot of money and I realised I wouldn’t like it at all. And then, of course, as I had been to the orphanage and had seen all the work that needed to be done, I knew how useful that money could be. It was far more important for the charity than it could ever be for me. I definitely think I got more enjoyment out of giving the money away than if I had kept it for myself.
Adopted from New English File Intermediate, Student’s Book