Concluding our series of blog posts from staff in celebration of 21 years of ChildFund in New Zealand, the last word goes to ChildFund New Zealand’s Chief Executive.

Paul reading to children in the Philippines

By Paul Brown, CEO

It is a real honour to be part of the special family that is ChildFund. It’s fair to say I’ve been infected by the happiness the ChildFund family creates – through its happy children, its happy sponsors and supporters, and judging by this past month’s blogs, its incredibly happy team working here in New Zealand. Thank you all.

This year ChildFund New Zealand is 21 years young, and it is fantastic to be celebrating 21 years of happiness. During our 21st celebrations, many of our team has shared humbling stories of meeting children whose lives have been changed for the better, and in turn how our lives have changed from meeting these children.

We’ve learned so much from these encounters. We’ve learned to appreciate what we have. We’ve learned that we can make a difference in creating a better world for deprived, excluded and vulnerable children. We’ve learned that empowered children can create a better life for themselves and that they can, and do, reach their full potential.

We’ve learned to slow down.

I remember discovering this during my first visit to ChildFund programmes in Bihar, a desperately poor part of north-eastern India. (It is so poor that even Indians call Bihar ‘the forgotten state’). There I met Ruchi Kumar, twelve years old and bursting with idealism and zeal, winner of a ChildFund speech competition on children’s rights.

Ruchi (centre) child rights advocate!

Her boldness, courage and expression were inspiring and a novelty as children, let alone girls, were traditionally not allowed to be so outspoken or voice their opinions. And ChildFund had given Ruchi a voice. Ruchi forced us to stop, to slow down, to think how we can create a better life for our children of the world.

Since meeting Ruchi in 2005 I have met many children like Ruchi across the world, leaders in their communities, advocates for lasting positive change for children.

Gandhi once said, “There’s more to life than increasing its speed”. I think Gandhi would be proud of Ruchi for her passion in making us slow down and think about improving our children’s lives. And I think Gandhi would join us in congratulating ChildFund on 21 years of connecting caring New Zealanders with children in need.

Thank you all for your wonderful support during the past 21 years!

Slow down, listen, think - how can I improve a child's life?

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