Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Thank you BA and "A Ray of Hope"

Don McBurney, is the founder and director of “A Ray of Hope”. He is a great enabler.

"A Ray of Hope" started as a choir . By the time I first met Don (online, in 2003) “A Ray of Hope” had grown enormously. It has many friends – both individuals and organisations. However, despite its many friends “A Ray of Hope” did not have any contacts in Nigeria then, so Don asked me to provide that link.

Don said that my first task would be to organise a children's art competition on the theme of peace. He wanted to see if I really did have good contacts with schools, and he genuinely wanted the pictures. “A Ray of Hope” has a wonderful collection of pictures from children across the world. To help the children decide what to put in their pictures they are encouraged to think of peace as the opposite of conflict – a peaceful happy life. The pictures provide a wonderful insight into the lives of children. Some of the pictures have been framed to hang on the board-room walls of organisations that support “A Ray of Hope”.

My contacts in Nigeria organised the art competition in advance of my visit. In fact they organised art competitions at four different locations – Kafanchan in North Central Nigeria, and Okeho, Isseyin and Ago-Are, all in Oyo State in the South West. I simply took the trophies, medals, certificates educational posters that “A Ray of Hope” had provided and helped with some final judging and prize-giving.

British Airways is a friend of “A Ray of Hope” and as a result Don was able to give me free tickets for my trip to Nigeria for the art competition. He told me that as long as I did the art competition I could do anything else that I wanted during the trip, in fact I could do one of my usual “working holidays”. This meant I could run another Teachers Talking course for John Dada at Fantsuam, without needing to find the air fare. Wonderful!

When I came back I was delighted to find that Don was impressed by the work people had done in Nigeria with the art competitions. He was also very positive about the normal “working holiday” work that I had done. In fact he has given me additional tickets since. He has phoned me up and asked if I would like to go to Nigeria again. When I have said “Yes please, what do you want me to do?” his answer has been to simply ask me what I would do when I am there. He must like what he hears for each time he has told me to put it in writing, and I have been given the ticket. As a result I have been able to repeat my “working holidays” with John and the teachers, trainers and children at Kafanchan more frequently that would otherwise have been the case.

Thank you “A Ray of Hope” and British Airways.

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