We walked between 30-40 km’s a day and dealt with all the teething problems you can imagine at the start of such a trip – blisters, heat exhaustion, sore shoulders & feet, boredom, dehydration, no food, sun burn, rashes, finding places to sleep on regional roads, etc. etc. the list does go on. Despite all of this it was an incredible time, one that gives you a lot of time to think about the future and to reflect on the past. Some of those thoughts and reflections are captured in this blog.
Change is a peculiar beast, you can fight it and it can really effect you or you can embrace it and it can help you move forward. Ashley and I have experienced a lot of change over the last 6 months – we left Nepal, moved back to Sydney, fell pregnant, got married, lived in Santa Barbara, honeymooned in Nepal and Cambodia and are now back in Manly. We embrace change because we have to; we embrace change because it’s something that we deal with on a daily basis. Ashley’s body has been changing every day, as our little baby girl gets closer, our focus has changed to preparing for her arrival but also to opening up an organic café in Manly called Bare Naked Bowls. We hope to deliver fresh, healthy and organic food to the people of Manly and through this business venture we hope to fund IBSH. What has stayed the same is our undying love for the children we support through the charity and the positive impact and change we want to see happen in the world and the kids we support.
I understand that I am in a privileged position to create positive change in this world. I embrace that and I nurture it and I put my whole life into it. I believe that the daily decision I make can change some ones life on the other side of the world. It can empower them and motivate them and inspire them to reach for the stars and to be better than the surrounding they find themselves in. I hold this privileged position close to my heart and I take it very seriously. There is no time for distractions and no time for hesitation.
Everyday I get up and I think to myself, today I could choose to nothing or today I could choose to achieve as much as possible. When you are in charge, it takes an extreme amount of self-discipline to drive things forward – whether I am talking about the charity, the café or the trekking business. So what does inspire me to get up and do all of this – That is an easy answer, first of all I think it is either inherently in you or it is not. However, I believe it can be learned as well. I think I am lucky and have a little bit of both. I work hard because I know I have children and people all around the world relying on me to do it, I work hard because I have a wife and a baby girl that I need to provide for and I work hard because I want my businesses to one day fund all the charity work we do – for me, that is the why. Why do I get up and do everything? IBSH and the projects and children we are supporting – that is what truly makes me feel like I am making a difference.
It is an empowering feeling to have the financial freedom and the drive to do what we are doing right now. Our adventures and plans take us in and out of the first world and developing world and give us a unique perspective on many things. Living in between a number of different countries is both a blessing and a curse – we are blessed to have so many loved ones all around the world but it hurts every time we leave the people we love knowing that we wont see them for sometimes up to a year.
Now to the International Brothers & Sisters House and all that we are achieving. It has been 6 months since we officially launched the charity and we have achieved a number of things in a number of countries. Firstly to Brian’s walk, what an inspirational adventure he has been on. Brian finished just 2 days ago on the 5th April – 2,200 grueling km’s, I spoke with him most days and his passion and strength for what he was doing what incredible. Towards the end the beating his body had taken over a 60+ days of walking had really affected the joints in his legs but he finished and raised over $25,000 USD for us. We thank you Brian, you have made a significant change many people’s lives.
In Australia we have been approved to have DGR status meaning all our donors contributions are a tax deduction – this is something we have been striving to gain for over a year and it really gives us the respect and status we need to operate in the charitable space.
In Nepal, we are proud to announce an agreement we have entered into with the Namaste Community Foundation in Pokhara. The agreement is to support 12 children through their 10+2 studies as they move towards university level. We have chosen to support these children because if we did not they would have been sent back to their villages and in most cases married off or sent into the fields to work. Their chance of education or a brighter future would have been extinguished. The partnership keeps all 12 children inside Namaste Children’s House to complete their studies with full support from IBSH.
An update from Cambodia, Saving Peth’s life has been one of the most rewarding and inspiring things I have ever done. We took him from the brink of death suffering from 3rd level HIV and TB to a happy and healthy young man. We did this all through one very special donor who wishes to remain anonymous, their support for Peth and IBSH has been nothing short of extraordinary and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Peth is now getting the daily medication he needs to not only survive but to thrive in his new environment at the New Hope for Cambodian Children Orphanage in Phnom Penh. He is back to the cheeky, inquisitive and intelligent young boy I first met 3 years ago. He attends school everyday and excels and has a great group of friends & support staff around him.
What we accomplished with Peth paved the way for doing further work in this field with many more children. Our plan is to work with the Cambodian government to assist in the targeted viral testing for children living in regional areas of Cambodia so we can determine what level of HIV they are effected with and what is the best course of medication to move forward with. This is a long-term project and we need more assistance.
In Cambodia, our IBSH home will be launched in October of 2017, the reason for this is that the 5 children we want to support are still in high school and will be graduating at this time. We are working tirelessly to register ourselves as an NGO in Cambodia (we need a 100% Khmer board) and hope to have this done by the end of 2015. We are supporting John Kov, who I have mentioned in other blogs – an incredibly sweet and driven young man, through vocational training in IT with the hope we can get him to university in 2017
In Tanzania, our first IBSH home will be open in July this year; it is located in Moshono, which is 4km outside of Arusha. It is a safe area where we hope to create a loving and warm environment for the students, one that nurtures creativity and both educational and personal growth. We will have a “Mamma” in the house, a Massai warrior guarding the property and a mentor / counselor working with the students. The students will go to university in different parts of Tanzania and our Arusha home will act as both their home and our IBSH head quarters. The 3 students we will be supporting are Adam, Caristas and Vaines. Adam is an incredibly giving young man that currently works for an NGO called Project Zawadi, our partner NGO. IBSH will support him to gain his MBA; he will also act as our mentor in the home. Caristas comes from a very poor area in rural Tanzania and will start her undergraduate study in August this year. Vaines was studying her Bachelor in Law. Her Uncle was supporting her until he passed away. Her Father has also passed away and her Mother is too ill to support her. IBSH will now support her studies. All of the students come from the Project Zawadi program.
My time in Tanzania in 2013 was spent with a foundation called Jitihada Support. I spent a lot of time with the Founder a man named Michael Kawai. His goals come from his heart and he wants nothing more than to support the children under his care and give them the best possible chance at a bright future. To this end, IBSH will financial assist in the building of a secondary school for Jitihada Support. IBSH is s proud to be a part of this project and we cannot wait to see the school being built and then visiting the children we have helped to educate.
As you can see, a lot happening both professionally and personally. Thank you for reading a long and keeping track with what we at IBSH are doing. We stayed passionately committed to our goals to support underprivileged children in Cambodia, Tanzania and Cambodia. Personally I stayed committed to my wife, my growing family and our businesses that will one day help to fund our IBSH projects. Please remember to spend time helping others and that there is a lot going on in this world than just the sometimes bubbled world we put ourselves in.
Love to all,
Josh Porteous – IBSH Managing Director