Up next in the PGAL Unsung Heroes project is Hannah Ames. Hannah is awesome for a ton of reasons, but this post will focus on one big lesson that she can teach you from her unique experience.
This is the big story of what can happen when one person decides to do the small things that need to be done in this world.
When you are faithful in the small things, big things happen. (Click to Tweet!)
In 2009, Hannah graduated from Boston College and took a short-term trip to Tanzania to serve others and find purpose and direction in her life. It worked. Hannah went with the organization IVHQ. When she arrived, she was dropped off at the house of a local family housing 9 other volunteers where she would live for the next 3 months. The next day she was picked up by a local Tanzanian woman, who would show her the way to Glorious Orphans Care, an NGO she and her husband Julius founded to attract foreign volunteers. Prior to starting their NGO, Alice was a volunteer for CARE, serving families with HIV / AIDS. Julius operated a small farm on his property, with cattle and maize. Hannah quickly learned that Alice and Julius were operating by faith and not much else. Alice studied to be a teacher, but felt a greater calling in her life to tend to the children of families who were suffering with HIV/AIDS. She began bringing these children to her house each day to teach and feed them what food she had. As more and more children arrived, they founded an NGO, called Glorious Orphans Care.
Hannah arrived to help Alice and Julius in whatever way she could. She quickly learned that there was no running water, no bathrooms, no money, and hardly any food for the children. All of the kids, regardless of age, were learning the same thing. They could barely learn. They were too hungry. Too thirsty. It was a pretty dire situation, but Alice and Julius never lost hope or faith, each day they told her “God Willing” and they believed that God would truly make things better for them.
Hannah is a personal friend of mine, and if I know thing about her, she gets things done. She quickly took note of what needed to be done and got to work.
- She segregated the children based on their abilities and split the classes up and taught one of the classes.
- She negotiated with the municipal water authority to have water piped to the school.
- When she realized that the water was only turned on periodically, she began the process of having a water tower built.
- She began to recruit funding from friends and family and was able to build a small school and bathrooms while she was there.
Hannah accomplished a tremendous amount of work, but there was still an incredible amount of need, even as her volunteer time was ending.
When she arrived back in the US, she stayed up late worrying about the kids. She would have vivid dreams of the children. Even as her life was moving forward here in the US, as she was beginning a career with GE, she worried about the children constantly.
So, again she did what little she could do, and set up a non-profit organization, along with a free Google site with profiles of each kid to attract donors to continue with feeding and educating the children of Glorious. It was nothing fancy, but as Hannah put it,
“There is magic in doing things, even if it is not that great.”
People took an interest and began to help in ways she could not imagine. In 2010, more and more people were contacting her to get involved, and she began staffing the board for her newly created non-profit. People volunteered support in the form of logos, a website, donations, and really helped her to get things off the ground.
Since that time, four other classrooms, a teacher’s office, bathrooms, a playground, and a kitchen have been built, 8 teachers along with a teacher trainer, 2 cleaners, 2 cooks have been hired. There are now 115 children who receive two daily meals, an education, clothing, and healthcare. It’s truly amazing what has been accomplished.
Small is the new big
Hannah said she would never have believed she would have started a not for profit. It was not at all on her radar, but that is the beauty of life, it’s an adventure. Let life in, see what happens.
All of this started with Hannah asking what needs to be done? There were no plans to start a not for profit, no plans to solve world hunger all by herself, just a humility to start small and do what needed to be done.
Hannah’s mom later told her, “I never understood how true it was that one person could make a difference.”
This is the power of what one person can do, what you can also do. You don’t have to go to Tanzania. There are needs all around. If your life is lacking purpose, a great way to find it is by giving yourself away to a cause greater than yourself. You have to give before you can get in this life.
Click this link to learn how to sponsor a child or donate your time or services.