Neil Kirby
CEO The Red Rubber Ball Company

There are certain moments in your life which can change your life forever.  You could argue that everymoment has the potential to be one of these.

For me, one such was a conversation one day with Tim Fox.  I’d noticed a photo frame on Tim’s desk containing pictures of life in an African village.  They looked like holiday snaps and I asked about his trip.  Tim explained how some years before he had become friends with Gibson Shiraku and began supporting projects in his family village near Lake Victoria.

I was intrigued and inspired by how Tim took time out from his life to help a village half way around the world.  What’s more he already gave so much in his work at that time at the YMCA.  And he gave not only his time and enthusiasm, but money too, investing in several projects to help the village improve their lives.

Over the years, Tim and his family have helped the villagers develop Martha’s Guest House which provides employment through the paying guests who stay there.  He’s created a demonstration farm which produces a variety of fruit and vegetables, provides further employment and shows other local families how they too can grow more on their own plots of land.  The farm also helps to irrigate the land of other neighbouring plots.  At the farm there are two fish ponds which are now being replicated by other families nearby, providing another source of income.

The village also benefits from an Internet Café set up by Tim’s son, Aaron, which also runs IT courses for local people and school children.

It’s incredible what can be achieved with a giving nature and commitment.  It provides an opportunity for villagers to escape the poverty that subsistence living brings – living from meal to meal, unable to save for other essentials like their children’s education.  Above all perhaps, Tim’s efforts provide real HOPE.

I am grateful to have been inspired by Tim.  Together we had the idea for our education farm at Butere village and I travelled to Kenya with Tim in 2010 to set this up.  Little did I imagine that with his encouragement it would lead to scholarships, mentoring, a cycling club and climbing Kilimanjaro.  It shows just what you can achieve with the right encouragement when you put your mind to it.

And others have been too.  Tim was made an Elder of the Luhya tribe, Kenya’s second largest ethnic group – which is a rare honour for a Westerner and reflects Tim’s long association working with the villagers in Mundeku.

We can’t solve all the world’s problems – but inspired by Tim’s example, we can give the opportunity for Kenyan children to have a better life.

You can find more information on Tim’s projects and how he now offers holidays to Kenya for people who want to experience real life as well as the traditional safaris and beaches