Ate Change



There's nothing like 50 street kids and young prostitutes to undo you completely.

Last night I left Mr Evans and the kids at home and went with the team from NZ that is over here for two weeks. Ate Nyles and Kuya John have been in contact with Sharon who runs Garden of Hope boys home and drop in centres in the heart of poverty stricken areas. They had an evening planned working with Sharon, who is on the coalface, doing the hard work to distribute love and food to those who most need it.

We arrived to a throng of people ranging from babies in the arms of their young prostitute mothers to children from 3 up to 12 who live and roam the streets together, sometimes taking shelter in the squatters communities and at other times just finding refuge anywhere they can curl up as a little pack. There were some teenagers on the crowd edge who ventured a little nearer as the NZ girls Tasha and Tai began to draw them in with their beautiful singing.

Ate Sharon gave us the use of one of the drop in buildings and the little concert had begun.
There were a few songs and some impromptu ones thrown in as everyone called for more.
As Tasha skilfully belted out Jessie Jay's  'Pricetag' she was to them every inch the superstar. The kids knew all the words and sang along, 'It ain't about the money, money, money, We don't need your money, money, money'.

It breaks my heart because, while I understand that the needs and issues are diverse and complex, obviously money is one of them. When the mother of the 6 month old hands her baby to an 8 year old so she can service a customer at the back of Mc Donalds for less than 300 pesos ($3nzd), so she can then go and buy food for the other 5 children that call her mum, one of the issues is quite clearly the money. And when Ate Sharon with tears in her eyes retells the countless heart wrenching stories of these women and children and I know that she would do more if she could, then one of the issues is quite clearly the money.

It is a great frustration of mine that money exists in the world but so much of it sits in the wrong hands. And I find myself frustrated, because to give money to the degree that is going to make a difference, we need to make more money. This working remote was always going to be a bit of a challenge but now that we're here and I am confronted with the need it stirs me further to see our business succeed, so that we can use it to make a change.

People say, 'just give what you have', and we do, but I don't want to just give what we have. I want to give what they need. They need food and shelter that doesn't come through begging and risking their safety. They need micro enterprise that creates a means to income that doesn't come with the price tag of losing their dignity.

The ideas are brewing...

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