Charity

Author of The Accidental Social Entrepreneur and founder of Hand in Hand Group, an organisation based in Kenya committed to creating a commercial response to poverty, Grant Smith shares a lesson on being an entrepreneur. This week, he talks about running a charity during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

In The Accidental Social Entrepreneur I explain how Hand in Hand the Charity began – here’s a snippet…

This is how Hand in Hand began in Africa and today supports 3,000 children year on year.

Would all of that happened without the jumpers, I can’t actually say, but those hundred odd-shaped jumpers have had a significant impact on many people’s lives. Sometimes you have to go with your gut, trust God can pull it round and fly by the seat of your pants. And all I can say, is sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

My summary of the above is, on this occasion it worked.

And that is how the charity began.

(find out the whole story in the book!)

The reason Hand in Hand Charity exists is to support vulnerable adults and children. When we began we were mainly focused on children, but as we have been in existence for over twenty years now, those vulnerable little three year olds have grown into adults. Many of them are no longer vulnerable but some still need support.

But stop and think why a young child may be vulnerable in the first place. It is rarely because they are orphans, but actually because their parents or guardians are not in a position to support them, feed them, educate them and give them the start to life that all young children need.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, the Kenyan government made the recommendation that children’s homes and institutions that support vulnerable children should close and that the children should be sent back home. But, the whole reason these kids are in Hand in Hand supported projects is because they can’t be looked after at home.

David (made up name) who is 12 stayed at one such project and was sent home to be cared for by his grandmother who was also responsible for other children. After a few days at home, David decided to walk the 20km back to the project. Knocking on the door, he said, ‘I hate it at home, can I come back now?’

When we started the charity we had no idea what we would end up doing. We knew we wanted to facilitate hope for vulnerable children, but twenty years ago we had never met David. Twenty years ago, we didn’t know there was going to be a pandemic – we didn’t know that a boy we would support would be sent home.

So what’s the lesson here? Well, if you think about all the consequences of your decisions, if you believe you have to answers to every scenario, you will never do anything. Sometimes in life, you have to go with your gut. We knew we could make a difference and by the grace of God, we have.

So can you.

The Accidental Social Entrepreneur

£12.99

Grant Smith is a problem solver. When confronted with the poverty he witnessed in Africa, he did the only thing he knew how – business. Both humorous and realistic, Smith tells of his successes and failures with diverse projects, challenging us to consider how we might use the resources we have been given to change lives.

Buy this book

About the Author

Grant Smith is a quantity surveyor who has worked with international construction companies and managed his own consultancy practice in the UK for over thirty years. Grant is now the CEO of Hand in Hand Group and a director of a Kenyan construction company. He is professionally and personally committed to creating a commercial response to poverty. Grant is the chair of Hand in Hand Foundation.

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