I don’t think that we in the UK are very different from people in a village in Malawi. People around the world have the same goals and the same interests. We are brought up to think we are different than others, but we seem to have a common purpose in life, which is giving the next generation better opportunities. And this came out particularly when I have been working across Sub Saharian Africa with families; parents are as hard working as possible so their children can go to school. And it’s not very different from people I’ve worked with in the UK.
I’ve never been somebody who has a 5 years plan, I’ve always wanted to do something interesting, and I’ve been lucky enough to get those opportunities, but also I had to put myself out there to get those opportunities. 3 days after my 18th birthday I got on a plane and went to Guatemala.
I remember Santiago, in Guatemala, who had set up 2 schools there, and yet who was incredibly modest and humble. The majority of people doing something with purpose don’t think of it as something extraordinary, but as the way it should be.
When I came back from Lesotho to London, I didn’t really want to fall back into a normal charity job, because I felt incredibly frustrated to see how much waste there can be in NGO sector sometimes. I also experienced for the first time the role businesses have to play in the sector. That’s when I came across the Coins Foundation – a grants giving non for profit organisation of a wider corporate group – and we’ve since been involved with social enterprises to fund more sustainable and long term initiatives.
Abigail Deffee, Director, Coins Foundation