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10-year-old electrician fixes dozens of lamps to buy Christmas gifts

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QUALICUM BEACH, B.C. -

Alina Junkala’s bedroom is filled with red pandas and broken lamps.

Her red panda bedspread is topped with red panda pillows and countless red panda stuffies because they are her favourite animals.

“They are so cute,” Alina smiles while wearing a red panda T-shirt, before adding a caveat: “They’re very sleepy and lazy.”

And those are qualities the 10-year-old says she can’t connect with at all.

“I am the opposite of sleepy and lazy!” Alina smiles.

Which brings us to the collection of broken lamps in the corner.

“I’m not like obsessed,” Alina says. “But I like fixing them.”

For as long as Rob Junkala can recall, his daughter’s been a can-do kind of kid.

“She really enjoyed any time I pulled a tool out,” Rob says, before showing pictures of four-year-old Alina working on various projects with drills and screwdrivers. “She wanted to get in there and help.”

While learning to use her dad’s tools to build things felt good, mastering how to use her own tools to fix things felt even better.

“It’s always like a mystery to see if it’s going to work.” Alina says solving the mystery feels the best. “It’s like, ‘I did that!’”

But to appreciate what Alina says is the bestest of the best feeling, we need to go back to that day she asked her dad – a professional electrician – if he had any work for her.

“Because I was broke,” the girl exclaims. “I didn’t have any money.”

So Rob helped her post a message on social media saying she had spent her last $80 on buying her own tools and was available to fix broken lamps.

“The reaction to the post was enormous,” Rob says.

After earning hundreds of positive comments, ranging from praise for her work ethic to a promise to break something just so she could fix it, Alina’s in the process of repairing more than 30 lamps and counting.

“It makes me feel like really happy,” Alina says.

But it’s not because she’s making money for herself. Alina’s goal is to spend all her earnings to buy Christmas presents for her whole family.

“The most excited I’ve seen her is when she finds the favourite thing her [younger] brothers want,” Rob says.

And if you ask Alina to rank cuddling red pandas, solving electrical mysteries, and giving Christmas presents, she’ll interrupt before you finish the question with a big smile and a bold answer: “Giving presents!”

The 10-year-old says the feeling of being able to give back, after working hard, wins every time.

  

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