The Little Things was founded by Rathaven Gunaratnarajah on the 1st August 2013. Rathaven was 20 years old at the time and was studying as a third-year biomedical science student at the University of Kent. He is currently a fourth-year medical student at the University of Manchester.
In August 2013, Rathaven returned from a two-week trip to Tanzania. He spent one of those two weeks climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in aid of Meningitis Research Foundation and the other volunteering in St. Elizabeth Hospital, Arusha. During his placement at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Rathaven was dismayed by the stark reality of inadequate healthcare in a developing country. He saw a plethora of needless suffering during his week at St. Elizabeth Hospital.
The hospital staff described plans to complete an eye clinic in the hospital grounds but were unable to do so due to insufficient funds. A lot of times Rathaven wished he could do something more than just observe. This feeling stuck with him, and so he returned to the UK determined to provide St Elizabeth Hospital with the funds they so desperately needed.
He started researching exactly what was involved in starting up a charity and also made a rough schematic of the work he would have to put in over the following years. He decided that the first project would be to properly equip the eye clinic for St Elizabeth Hospital, at an estimated cost of £25,000. He planned to raise the funds for this project, by organising exhilarating, adventurous fundraising events for university students such as skydiving and mountain trekking.
After deciding on the name, The Little Things, he familiarised himself with the legalities and administrative efforts involved in starting up and running a charity. Rathaven worked tirelessly to give The Little Things a foundation from which to grow. He spoke about the charity as much as he could with friends and family, appreciated their compliments and took on board their ideas and advice. He asked two good friends of his that work as website designers, to draft the charity’s logo, and also design a website for the charity.
He then registered The Little Things as a charity with the HM Revenue & Customs for tax purposes; and on the 22nd May 2015 registered The Little Things with the Charity Commission. He also decided to utilise JustGiving as the online fundraising platform for The Little Things.
His passion for improving healthcare in developing countries would often inspire fellow students to sympathise with the cause, and donate their efforts. Within months, Rathaven had assembled a team of students to whom he could delegate tasks and the charity had established a presence at countless universities across the UK. At each university, one student volunteer was given the title of ‘Student Ambassador’ and their responsibility was to oversee the promotion and execution of fundraising events at their universities. Utilising social media, namely Facebook and Instagram, The Little Things has managed to consistently grow as a charity, with more and more student volunteers contributing their time to The Little Things. Rathaven contributes his time voluntarily. This is the same for any volunteer associated with The Little Things.
As you can see, the charity has been founded on the principles of compassion, empathy and the desire to inspire people in helping us formulate a better, more equal world!