When I first visited Africa in 2009, it was my first encounter with deep poverty and it had a profound impact on me.  One picture that sticks in my mind is a young boy suffering from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, were the skin blisters and peels away leaving huge raw, painful patches, he also had aids.  But just sharing some food I had, giving him a little gift of pens and some paper put a huge smile on his face. I was made so aware and very taken by the fact that so many children lived in such poverty, lack of food, lack of clean water, lack of medical care and lack of education. The sheer hardship, strength and resilience and latent potential of these children left an indelible impression.

Where do you start? And, if you start, does it help?

On my return from this first trip to Africa, I quite by chance heard a telephone conversation my husband was having with a social worker – at that time he was the treasurer of the local branch of the Dutch Council for Refugees – It was a discussion about the funding of two winter coats for two Somalian girls . It was nearly Christmas and I thought if we skipped Christmas dinner we could pay for the coats and maybe fund another family in need. This got me thinking that we all have possibilities, talents, jobs, knowledge and possibilities to help another quite easily, sharing our talents. In my professional function we opened up 5 places per year for refugees to learn Dutch. This went from one idea to another, one project to another and the idea to run in events to collect funds was born.

Then I travelled again to Kenya and met Maurice Glory Adero who was our driver, he was quite taken with the work we were doing and in conversations while driving I got to hear his own story, his difficulties and his dreams. We visited his village and home and before you know it you are sponsoring children in his village and a foundation has been set up.