Poornima Koonath speaks to teenage sisters Mili and Khushi, who have raised more than $23,000 for charities through their art
It is not every day you meet teenagers who choose to see past Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and anything else that keeps the younger generation busy and occupied with very little time for meaningful social interaction. In an era when teenage girls are more into trolling, make ups and make overs, it is very refreshing to meet those who think beyond themselves and participate in social activities that make difference in the lives of those in need. Mili Dakshin and Khushi Dakshin are sisters who have been using their talent to raise funds for various noble causes. While Mili is year 10, Khushi is in year 9 and both are students of Macquarie Fields Selective High School.
Mili and Khushi are talented painters. Mili says that it seems like painting is an art she inherited from her family. “I got into painting at a very young age. I was told that I was painting even before I could write the alphabets or numbers,” she says. According to Khushi, she grew up watching everyone in her house paint… her father, mother and grandmother. She was particularly inspired by her sister who had become quite a popular artist at an early age. “I started following her footsteps,” she says.
Mili and Khushi’s father Mr Murthy has been the inspirational force in their lives. He has always encouraged his daughters and continues to be their role model.
Mili and Khushi have been painting to support charitable causes for the past seven years. Their style is unique and has set a trend. The sisters speed paint on stage for about seven minutes and the audience can see them create beautiful images with their artist and deft brush strokes and are generally awe-struck watching the two sisters in action. They girls are such an inspiration, especially to the youngsters in the audience. These completed paintings are then auctioned to raise very valuable funds for various worthy causes. The most recent was in 2018 at the Rise and Restore for the flood survivors of Kerala.
Funds for the NSW Bush Fires through the Kannada Sangha in 2013, Tikun Olam for the Jewish community in 2015 and funds for the Lupus Foundation, are a few of their other fund-raising painting shows. The sisters also helped decorate the walk way for the famous Sydney Fashion show for Bec and Bridge. Together Mili and Khushi have raised more than $23,000, a no mean feat!! Both of them consider these as their biggest and most satisfying moments.
Mili is deeply inspired by Mother Theresa and her selfless service to humanity. Khushi, on the other hand, is inspired by Bill Gates. “I was always impressed with his technical and entrepreneur skills, his humble personality but most importantly, I am blown away by the philanthropy work that he and his wife Melinda Gates are doing,” remarks Khushi. While waking up feeling she has made a difference to someone’s life even if it is small, is what motivates Mili, Khushi says, “Australia is a great country, full of opportunities. I am lucky to be living here and benefitting from what all it has to offer. I want to do the best for the community and for those who are in need both in Australia and elsewhere! This motivates me every single day.”
Mili has won many accolades for the work. This includes the prestigious ‘Excellence in Community Services’ award by United Indian Associations in the year 2015. She was one of the finalists at the ‘India Australia Business and Community Awards’ for ‘Young Community Achiever of the Year’ award in 2018. She was nominated by her school for the Community Services Award at the Rotary club function that recognises young achievers. She was the runner-up in this category.
When Mili and Khushi were asked about their pet project, both of them had the same enthusiastic response, “Along with my sister, I am planning to save money by teaching painting to youngsters and with the amount I receive, I want to help blind children in one of the schools in Bengaluru! I am really looking forward for this!” Their future goals are charity and community focussed. While Mili wants to continue volunteering and doing charity work for those in need, Khushi wants to use the emerging and latest technologies to help those in need. “Not sure how I am going to do this, but this is what I want to do,” she says.
“I believe children must get into charity work even if it is small as this can have a larger impact on others and motivate others,” says Mili. And Khushi’s advice to all is to never give up without trying. “He who struggles is better than he who never attempts,” she concludes. Mili and Khushi are great role models not just for the younger generation but for all. They are trendsetters, they are motivators, who have proved without doubt that age and size don’t matter, all that matters is attitude and the desire to make a difference. Let us all take a page from their lives, let us all make a difference.
Do visit their website http://paintingforcharity.org/