This blog post was written by a Five Talents supporter and donor, Philip Turner, who serves as Head of Specie at Canopius.
I’ll be honest, my journey with Five Talents didn’t start well! In February 2018 a good friend in my church invited me to a breakfast to promote Five Talents and their work with the poor in Africa. The event was held in the Shard in London and we were to enjoy delicious eggs and bacon with seemingly no expense spared. I must confess, I arrived rather grumpy and ready to challenge how me eating an expensive breakfast helped the poor in Africa?
I met Five Talents’ Director of Fundraising, Sue, and CEO, Rachel, and gave them quite a grilling. I have to admit they came across with an integrity and dedication that was incredibly difficult to fault. I was convicted that rather than hurl bricks at Five Talents why not visit one of their projects and see the work that they do for myself.
So, I quickly booked my trip to travel to Karamoja, Uganda with Five Talents in October 2018. The trip changed my life. It was without doubt one of the best “holidays” I have ever had and I have had a few over the past 60 years! My journey with Five Talents took me from a Shard breakfast to a Ugandan village where the local young men were digging for rats for their breakfast!
While in Uganda I heard stories of how Five Talents has changed lives - in particular how the programmes have empowered women to earn money and support their families. I saw evidence of big charities at work in Karamoja and it clearly is big business. It was not all good either, as an empty school built in the middle nowhere exemplified!
What I like most about the work of Five Talents is that it does not give a single penny as a handout. Every Five Talents member has to save their own money and then the charity facilitates those savings being wisely invested in microenterprise projects - after they have received business training and literacy & numeracy training through Five Talents. To me, it is clearly self-help – not charity.
Today, I am a huge fan of Five Talents and especially of Sue, Rachel and the rest of the small Five Talents team! I have used my personal Lloyd’s of London connections to host a breakfast like the first one I attended (I have found out the Five Talents team calls in favours so that their events are amazingly economical!) and my insurance knowledge to speak at another Five Talents event hosted at the Hatton Garden safe deposit vault. Now, I give monthly and pray regularly that God will bless the work of Five Talents. Starting your own journey with Five Talents is as simple as dropping them a line - and I’d encourage you to attend one of their excellent events too.