…because there is true meaning in giving a helping hand.
Prompted by selflessness and a great desire to do something good, one of my bosses, Kathryn Kantounia, enrolled herself in a life-changing project which has had indelible repercussions for some people in the community of Kabwe, a city in Zambia, where she went to do some charity work.
When she decided to pursue her purpose, she was aware of the logistics involved, in terms of the financial aspect, how to get there, what to do and more or less how to do it. As you can imagine, the logistics and protocols can be tiring, but as the smart woman she is, she took the right steps. Everything was on point, all well-thought out. What she did not know was how her plan was going to impact her and more importantly, the people she met and lived with for nearly two weeks.
What she felt was, in her own words, “an experience I will cherish forever”. This is a remarkable statement coming from someone who professionally belongs to a big corporation. Let’s see how and why?
Zamda – Ireland, a Table quiz and an Art auction
In order to make these charity projects official, we need to do them through a charity organisation. Kathryn did it through Zamda – Ireland whose director, Pat Fanning, is her friend. However, having this connection did not have anything to do with the fact she still needed to raise funds to make a contribution to the whole project. A project that deserves every single euro raised.
Kat’s (as we call her) brother, Nicko, came up with the idea of organising a Charity Table Quiz, titled ‘The clash of the leads – aka Games of Thrones – which was a success and I had the pleasure of hosting. The event took place in Adelphi and after laughing, joking and having a great time, we raised over €1000. The second event to raise funds was an Art Auction called “Artists for Zambia” organised by one of my beloved colleagues, artist Luciana Marin (Luli). The event took place in Kennedy's pub and we raised just over €1600.
Overall, between the two events and other scattered contributions, The Boss raised over €4000 – a significant amount considering the way in which it was used and how it affected people lives. In particular, a very special boy, someone whose face lit up when…something happened!
Here comes the boss with two suitcases: One with some clothes, and the other one with a bundle of good intentions, determination and a great disposition to do well. And so she did…
After a long flight, Kathryn, who traveled with a group of people, arrived at her destination, to a place which would become, in her own words “an emotional rollercoaster”. From the next ten days, they would participate in tasks, a journey which consists of getting up early in the morning to emerge themselves in different activities such as: working the land, building up a water pipe, teaching, helping with anything that is needed in the community. They also enjoyed social activities like sports and other trivial interactions that helped to create a bonding among themselves. Basically, they became part of the community. They became one of the locals and this sense of belonging made their stay a very rewarding one.
When she was telling me about some of the experiences she lived and some of the great things they did, I could see a sincere spark in her eyes from joy, but at times her eyes welled up with tears. I find it remarkable and touching when she told me that those people lived with barely anything and they still manage to smile and be happy. That’s the power of human resilience.
It is heartbreaking to know that “Some of the children come from the streets of Kabwe and another area called Lusaka; they have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS, been rejected by their families and forced onto the streets to beg, steal or prostitute themselves in an effort to stay alive. Apart from the heartbreak, rejection, and fear these vulnerable children experience, they encounter cruelty and abuse on the streets…” As we can picture it, these children’s circumstances are deplorable...
However, HOPE is not lost…
The boy, the wheelchair and the big smile – what a beautiful story!
The Boss was – and still is – happy to know how the funds raised are put to use.
This is the story of Edward…
Edward cannot walk. Edward’s hopes seemed to be shattered because he needed a wheelchair. He needed something to move from here to there, and did not have the resources to afford “that thing” that would make a huge contribution to his life. To put it in simple words, Edward needed a wheelchair, and this is when Kat, thanks to everybody who sponsored her, could make a great contribution to Edward’s life.
He hadn’t left his house for a long time because he can’t walk. For a long time, he had not seen the sunshine or been outside his house to allow the breeze of fresh air to touch his gorgeous face to light up his lovely eyes. Kat’s funds were enough to get a wheelchair and Edward’s smile returned to his face.
This beautiful, moving story is the epitome of contentment we feel when we do good for others. It enables us to feel great because it shows how impactful our actions, dictated by compassion, can be.
Kathryn told me that when Edward was put in the wheelchair and brought outside, his smile was one of the biggest and brightest smiles she has ever seen!
You can also give a helping hand and have your own testimony. There is someone waiting for you...
All donations go directly to this great cause
I think we all should follow Kathryn example. Remember we can be charitable with anything we can: clothes, time, resources of any kind, or anything you might feel and think it’s going to make a change. However, we don’t necessarily need to make a trip, but if you would like to do so, you can contact Zamda – Ireland https://www.zamdaireland.org/ and they will help you to officialise your efforts.
And remember: When we do good we feel great!