FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE FOR THE FIRST TIME
Our CEO, Mark, shares a story of hope from his 100th trip with WeSeeHope.
In September, I returned from my 100th trip as CEO of WeSeeHope, this time having visited our valued project partners in Malawi. It was a 3,500 mile, two-week roller-coaster ride (in 40-degree heat!)
I have come back from every one of my 100 trips filled with energy, excitement, passion and, above all, motivation. Meeting the young people who are part of our programmes and having the privilege to watch them learn new skills, grow in confidence, and truly flourish is without doubt the best part of my job.
The highlight of this particular trip was a remarkable young man called Fred.
Battered by life throughout his early years, with no parents from a young age, no home and a grandmother who was unable to look after him, Fred survived for so long with no hope at all.
Found by one of our Kids’ Clubs, Fred was cared for by the volunteer care team from his community and then trained to be a tinsmith by Yona, a young man who we trained in a neighbouring village.
With this support and opportunity, Fred is now emerging from his unimaginable life.
I have tracked his progress over the last three years and visited him often when I go to his community. However, this time around was like no other. I visited him in the new house he is building from the profits of his tinsmithing business – can you just imagine what an achievement that is. He is now able to afford food and he is keeping his own animals and food garden; he is even teaching his skills to another orphan in his community.
Fred has become a minor celebrity in his village as they have watched him endure such hardship over the years, but survive and emerge as this talented tinsmith.
My most precious moment was that, as he told us about his new house and his plans for the future, Fred’s face broke into a smile. I have met his tortured face every time I visited him and wondered whether he could ever forget the past and focus on the future. That smile told me everything. Fred now sees hope – a hope that he is determining for himself, a hope that he believes in and is in control of.
I will never forget that first smile.
The journey these young people go on is heartbreaking and complex, full of life’s worst challenges, setbacks and frustrations. Our part in it is to just relentlessly push on, stand up for them and invest in this incredible potential of the human spirit. We hope that through this, they can experience real, and lasting, change. For good.