Standing shoulder to shoulder

When I stood in front of group after group of This Is EPIC, village savings and loans members in January with Philip in the depths of rural Uganda I promised to stand shoulder to shoulder with them to do what I/we can provide the tools/education so they are empowered to improve their lives. At least it’s what I think I said – you could never be too sure with Joseph our director in Uganda who was translating not sure he ever actually said what we said!


Those words have kept me honest and been my rocket fuel when training got tough (which has been a lot) or listening to those people who thought this fundraising attempt was too hard and ambitious. I am accountable for those simple words which means I have to do everything in my power using the few skills I possess to raise money to keep the groups going and start up new ones.


This isn’t a challenge or holiday for me, which “happens” to raise money and awareness for charity. It all starts with the charity as that is the primary purpose for doing this. This has been such a hard journey to just get to the start line, but surely it can’t be harder than the daily struggle the people I met in Uganda face just to get through each day and survive.


I will remember the joy in their hearts and their songs of hope for improving their children’s lives. The children’s faces as they looked at us as someone with the power to change their lives.


How could I give up when so much hangs in the balance?


I need to remember these moments and the purpose because there will be times when I feel like it’s not worth it and I have taken on too much. But if Philip and I and everyone else taking on their own challenges in The FCG EPIC Week are successful it will be so worth it for the positive impact it will have.


Hopefully this will be our butterfly moment, which will cause a hurricane of positivity.


Watch this clip to see the joy from the people we met when they saved for the first time after joining a This Is EPIC savings and loans group




Topowa (#NeverGiveUp)

Seize the day. Make an impact

This is an honest and open account of my thoughts, we don’t often do this as we keep our innermost thoughts guarded for fear of exposing our vulnerability and weaknesses.

Today as I write is 20 years since my dad died; he was 50 and I was 22. His death had a big impact on me (surprisingly today more than most) and when I analyse what I do in life I can generally trace it back to this event. There have been plenty of times over the years when I could have done with his input but that was taken from me. But what I’ve come to realise is that I learnt enough from our time together and his influence. When I face tough decisions I can picture the conversation we would have in my head and it will get me to the same conclusion as if we were together.

The thing that has stuck with me is that our lives are short and we don’t know when they will end so it’s important, for me at least, to seize the day and make an impact that will be long lasting. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day noise of work but if we are honest our workplaces will carry on just fine when we are no longer there. So we need to look at how we can truly do something positive if we want to leave a footprint in the sand when we leave.  For most of us people won’t remember the filing system we introduced at work, the money we made or whether the house was clean or not, it’s about how we touched those around us and how we impacted on them.

So this is why I am doing such a big challenge, one that has a high chance of failure but equally, if it succeeds, will change the lives of so many people. Most of these people I will never know or meet. They in turn I hope will pass on this positive impact and help others and so we set on its way a wave of positivity that will hopefully span generations.

In September I along with four others are taking on a challenge beyond anything I have done before. To run (and no doubt walk) for 48 hours on a treadmill, to go as far as possible in that time at an event we are setting up in Guernsey. The aim is for one of us to break the current world record of just over 251 miles (almost 10 marathons).

It’s ultimately to raise funds and awareness to help young people here in Guernsey, the UK and Africa, all in different way. In Guernsey it’s focusing on children who have been bereaved by losing someone close, like I did. Elsewhere it’s helping those who are victims of abuse, to get them through and turn their life into a positive and realise they are not to blame. For people who through no fault of their own were born in a country and place of the most desperate poverty where just £2 – the price of a coffee – will take them out of extreme poverty for the rest of their life.

This challenge may well break me mentally and physically but I will come through it. Hopefully in doing so it will help others (particularly young people) also come through their own challenges in life.

Not everyone can donate; I get that and understand we all have different things we support. Please, if you can, help this challenge meet its goals and help these people whom you may never know either. A little goes a long way and it could be organising a coffee morning, cake sale or a whip round at work that could help.

Thanks for your support.

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