What began as a mentorship between 5th Grader Sofia Tam and her teacher Erin Terzieff, evolved into a collaboration touching thousands of lives and so many communities around the world.
Sofia and Erin met September, 2005 at Carver Elementary School in San Marino, California where as a 10 year old, Sofia showed a budding passion for Human, Rights, Social Justice, and the Environment. Over the school year Sofia and her friends, with Erin’s facilitation, became more involved in extending their lessons outside of the classroom and into the real world. As a result, Sofia challenged Erin to travel to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma with her grandfather Wayne Tam and visit the orphanage, the Mingalar Parahita School and Orphanage. There Erin learned about the situation of Burmese children living in conflict and crisis.
Erin took the challenge. Shortly after, Erin began working with BMWEC, a community based organization focused on educating Burmese Migrant Children living in Mae Sot, Thailand on the Thai-Burma Border.
As Sofia continued on through middle and high school, she advocated, fundraised, and hosted special events to support the Burmese Migrant schools in Mae Sot. She spent her summers on The Border along with her family, Robert, Julie, William and Emma, and Erin, working at the schools and beginning to build the foundation for what would become All You Need Is Love.
Sofia’s light was so strong, it shined bright even during the darkest times. Although confronted with brain cancer in her junior year, she was undeterred by her adversities, committed to graduating from high school, continue working with her NCL philanthropies, and serving the migrant children. She chose to volunteer in Mae Sot with her family even as she was undergoing treatments. And just 3 weeks before she passed away in August of 2013, she, with the help of her siblings William and Emma and a cast of friends and family, hosted a fundraiser that kept seven Burmese Migrant schools from closing and she did all of this by the age of 18.