We were very excited about this. Several things in Paul’s email are worth highlighting.
Firstly, this is about one man setting out to do what he can with determination – and through disappointment. Paul has taken the Powerchange materials and created an environment of change.
Secondly the changes are happening because people have started to believe something different. What happens in our thoughts affects everything else.
Next, Paul has focused his team on what CAN be done, and is inspiring them to do it!
Final thought: he has found what was already there – skills, desire, passion, and a propensity to hope.
Well done Munsieville – you are the example Africa needs.
Last Saturday, I was out doing my normal 12k run and spent a while thinking about you and thanking God for the very important contribution you have made in my life.
The more I thought about you, the more clearly I could see that so many of the lessons you have imparted are now being used every single day, not just in my life, but also in the lives of many, many people in Africa! The fact is, over the last few years, and the last two in particular, I have been operating in a place where I have been coaching groups of people in many situation, but, more and more, in southern Africa. For the past 18 months, I have had the enormous privilege of serving as a coach to an entire community – the people of Munsieville, near Johannesburg; it is South Africa’s oldest “native” township, and the childhood home of Desmond Tutu, who is a great supporter of what we are doing in the township. A few years back, against a backdrop of the tragic AIDS epidemic which has already left 16 million orphans and over 100 million more who are seriously vulnerable, I started looking into what could be done to change whole communities from the inside out, to that they saw orphans as God’s gift to them , rather than a curse and a burden. Was there something we could do to rid communities of old charity models that look good from the West but leave communities totally dependent on (diminishing) external aid; genuinely empowering them to dig deep and take responsibiliy, rather than waiting for a hand out.
The upshot of this, after years of dreams, vision and planning, is that Munsieville was selected for a huge experiment to change the landscape for 10,400 orphans and other children in crisis, and to create an inspirational “model of excellence” to demonstrate to other similar communities across Africa the wealth of resources that exists in even the most impoverished community. As you can see, although there are many project activities being undertaken, but, first and foremost, this is a big coaching opportunity. I now have 51,600 clients! The entire population of the township!
Obviously, this is not without its very real challenges and disappointments, but we have made massive progress over the past year, with a real difference being felt by many. Over the past year, above all, we have seen the community begin to BELIEVE! They now believe that change is happening – good change and most of all, change that comes from inside them.
There is not a day that passes that Powerchange tools and techniques (even the old ones that you have no doubt revised and honed yet more) are put into use, changing lives and a community, and building strong evidence that this stuff works, so other communities can be inspired to follow the lead of Munsieville.
Andrew, your influence is felt in places you would not even dream about! I thank God for you and just wanted to encourage you!
With warmest regards,
Paul H Brooks | Executive Director | Project HOPE UK | B9, 1-3 Ironbridge Road | Stockley Park West | Uxbridge | UB11 1BU | United Kingdom