I’m Peter Chege and I’m originally from Africa. As the saying goes, “it’s only the shoe wearer who knows where it hurts most”. I like to call myself a living example of how Save the Children’s indispensable support can and has made a very positive and lasting impact on the lives of many.
I started my early life as a street child in the city of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, hungry, naked, quite lonely and with no vision at all for the future. I was rescued from the streets 45 years ago, by St. Vincent de Paul, a local charity helping poor families. The charity placed me in a Save the Children UK-funded orphan institute, the Starehe Boys Centre and School in Nairobi.
In a nutshell, it’s this centre that, with resources provided by Save the Children, helped turn my life around, giving me a home to live in, love and an education that has sustained me to what I am today.
It was through voluntary work that I did while at Starehe that I gained contacts with UNICEF and went to work for the organisation for over 28 years, and at the same time undertook a university education securing a BA and an MA degree, as well as specialised training in the use of social communications as a tool for promoting social development.
While working with UNICEF and like-minded partners such as Save the Children, I have taken the lead in establishing projects focussing on child health, community regeneration and education across the world. I have had the privilege and great honour of working to improve the wellbeing of children and families in Kenya, the Sudan, Swaziland, South Africa (during the dismantling of apartheid), Zambia and Ethiopia, the Middle East — in Jordan, Oman, Syria and West Bank/Gaza, the Caribbean and South America — Barbados, Suriname and Guyana and presently in the UK.
And even though I may not have accomplished extraordinary things in my life, I believe that children are the most precious assets that the world has. As a result, I have been driven by my desire to help improve the life for children by providing them with opportunities similar to those offered to me as a youngster, begging on the street 45 years ago.
I consider my modest and humble contribution to the projects I have worked in to have been an opportunity for me to return a kindness to the society, organisations and individuals who supported me at my hour of need and in turn transformed my life into a success story.
I think that my story is also about children’s charities like Save the Children, whose pragmatic approach to safeguarding the rights of children has made a lasting impact on the lives of many children in the world, both during their formative and in their later lives. I believe that there must be some “distinguished” people out there in world who have been touched by Save the Children’s contribution during their formative years, and I appeal them to get in touch with Save the Children to share their stories.
I’m an active campaigner for Save the Children because I believe that children are the future of this world and that national governments and their adult population have a moral obligation to eradicate child poverty globally.
I’m attending the Tea for Change Conference tomorrow and I hope to meet you all there.
Join us at Westminster Central Hall on 9 June, 11am-4pm, and help put the world to rights over a cup of tea. Find out more