Hi!! Rohan’s mum here. I thought I’d give you the backstory behind the Koala saving, firefighter thanking, robot drawing boy.
If you are wondering if I am a pushy mother trying to turn my child into the Australian version of Greta whatshername – fear not. There is no political agenda, I’m just a mum doing what I can to curb the enthusiasm of a very enthusiastic child.
The concept of ‘Rohan’s Drawings’ started out as a threat. Rohan was dismayed that his YouTube channel was failing to go viral and none of his YouTube “business ideas” (which included cooking demonstrations, fake news shows, toy reviews and DIY stuff like ‘make a fish trap’, or ‘burn off your own wart’) were garnering any interest. After recording his final attempt at YouTube infamy with a cooking video on ‘how to make beans and rice’ he solemnly declared to me “mum, if this doesn’t work, I’m going to have to do something else. I might start selling my drawings”.
“How about you do actual WORK for money instead?” I asked him. “I could pay you to weed my garden?”
This was met with a look of horror and a firm ‘NO!’. “I’ll do the drawings. You can ask all your facebook people to buy them.” He responded.
This was met with an inward groan on my part. All of Rohan’s business ideas require me to do way more work than I want to do. His cooking business required me to purchase ingredients, clean up after him, buy cakes off him then pretend to eat them, assist him in acquiring recipes and advertising. His gardening business required me to spend half a day assisting him to make up loyalty cards and laminate them (no gardens were weeded in this process). The dog walking business subjected me to 27 hours of constant whinging that no one had responded to his flyers. After each failed venture I offered to pay him NOT to have a business. This was never met with a positive response and always ended with Rohan shooting me anguished, sad looks while he moped around the house miserably.
His drawing business sounded as ridiculous to me as any of his other hair brained ideas but I agreed to advertise on FB for him in order to get 5 seconds of peace. Luckily for him he is adored by many of my nearest and dearest who quickly purchased drawings off him. He was on cloud 9!!
The first set of drawings were posted out within a day and were met with much enthusiasm from the purchasers. The only issue was that Rohan had gotten the white paper all grubby when he did his sketch and people were wondering how they could display such magnificent artwork when it was crinkled and had dirty smudge marks all over it. In true Rohan fashion he quickly delegated to me the task of digitising his drawings.
I won’t go in to how this process is done, but I will say it takes a lot of time and patience to turn a dirty sketch into a digital masterpiece. Once digitised it then gets printed on a photo block. You have no idea how excited Rohan was when he realised that by recruiting me to digitise the pictures, he would be able to print out multiple copies (and therefore have to work less). Finally!! He had a business that required as little work as possible with endless potential.
It was only a week or so after starting off his drawing business (which was in Oct 2019) when the Australian bushfires made the headlines. Stories of injured Koala’s upset Rohan and like everybody else, he wanted to help in some way. He drew two Koala pictures based upon images he saw in the paper and decided to sell them and donate all proceeds to a Koala charity. I was bombarded with requests from him to assist in getting his product exposure, finding a worthwhile Koala charity and also harassed with constant enquiries (from him) as to whether anyone had bought one in the 30 seconds since he had last enquired. He sold A LOT of Koala pics and was able to deliver $333 to Wildcare Australia to assist in the Koala rehabilitation. He was thrilled to meet the two Koala’s who inspired one of his Koala pictures. Rohan said it was ‘the best day of his life’. I happily and erroneously thought that he may now retire.
Around this time, however, news papers were reporting on lots of firefighters arriving from Canada to assist with the bushfires and there were pictures everywhere of fire fighters holding Koalas. Rohan decided that he would also like to assist and become a volunteer fire fighter. If they were flying people over from Canada then surely they were desperate enough to accept the help of an 11 year old boy?
My husband and I tried in vain to explain to Rohan why he couldn’t be a volunteer fire fighter but he couldn’t understand. In his mind, fire fighters had just switched from plucking kittens out of trees to plucking Koala’s out of trees. We sat him down and explained exactly what they do, what they witness and what they risk.
My explanation may have possibly gone too far because he then decided that every single fire fighter needed profuse thanking and to Rohan the best way to do this was with a Koala print on an orange/red firey background that says ‘thank you for helping us, Australia 2020’. Rohan was insistent that he was going to use his own money to purchase and post the prints and would not even allow me to chip in for postage. More inward groaning occurred on my part. I knew EXACTLY what this meant. He was going to pester me into assisting him to make more money so he could afford to pay for all this printing. I was terrified that he may want to start his baked goods business idea again…..
So I tried to promote him. Not to make him look good, or me look like a great mum (I swear I’m not – everything I do is to avoid work, I’m super lazy) but to try to get some kind of discount on the printing so it wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg for Rohan to print them all off. The best Kmart (where we get them printed) came up with was 10%. This was graciously given to us after we were able to prove his intentions (via showing them a news article about him donating to koala’s) and after a lot of suspicion from a few staff there that he may be using his 10% discount for personal gain – which I found both insulting and ridiculous.
Today we finished packaging up 175 prints, personally signed by Rohan, to post to the 175 Canadian firefighters. We have the name and address of a liaison officer, who is kindly going to distribute them for us.
Where to now? Will he finally retire and go back to backyard cricket and tormenting his sisters? Nope. He found out that there are other countries who have sent fire fighters to Australia and has requested I “assist” him in finding out who they are, where they are and do they want a Koala picture?
So in summary – Rohan has no strong knowledge of or interest in climate issues and does not want to give any impassioned speeches to anyone, anywhere about anything. He just loves animals, and now fire fighters, and wants to know how he can help the situation, given that the SES are totally age-ist and will not allow 11 year olds to volunteer to climb trees and rescue Koala’s.
If you know any volunteer firefighters or regular fire fighters who want a Koala print please point them in Rohan’s direction.
From Rohan’s mum,
Link to News Story:
Where it all began….