Last Saturday (June 25th) I was in Saffron Walden (county of Essex, UK) for the screening of an amazing film.
A Small Act is an award-winning documentary film by Jennifer Arnold, which traces the story of Chris Mburu, a human rights lawyer who works in Geneva, is a Harvard graduate and is originally from Kenya.
So how did a lad from an impoverished rural village in East Africa get where he is today? Well, largely it's the result of an immense amount of hard work and belief in himself, but also due in part to a generous woman in Sweden called Hilde Back.
Hilde sponsored Chris during part of his early education - without this he might not have gone to secondary school at all. Secondary school led to Nairobi University and then to Harvard in the USA and now to a job with the United Nations, travelling the world to advise and intervene on human rights.
But all along he's never forgotten Hilde, and has himself set up a school sponsorship programme to help promising young Kenyan kids to reach their potential in the way that Hilde's money helped him. He named it for his benefactor - The Hilde Back Education Fund - although he had not met her. And then he went looking for her and found that she was, indeed, amazing and inspirational.
He found not a rich person but a very unassuming woman who had escaped Nazi Germany in World War 2, but whose parents had died in the Holocaust. The fact that Chris himself often works with refugees and displaced people makes the new relationship between him and Hilde even more poignant.
A Small Act tells Chris and Hilde's story and the story of the Foundation and several of the children going through the selection process for sponsorship in one year. It was moving and challenging as the various stories were woven together. Having grown up in Kenya myself, it was truly an inspirational evening.
The special screening at Saffron Screen was in aid of the Kyangala Trust - another small charity that is trying to help people back home in Kenya, namely the people of Kyangala Village in Machakos region. The charity is based in Essex and I'm helping a little with some of their publicity and this was part of a fundraising weekend - some volunteers were also taking part in a charity cycle ride yesterday (Sunday 26th June). See My People page.
But I leave you with a thought from the A Small Act website :
'Each of us has the ability to create change. Each of us has the power to do something small. As seen in the film, one small act can ripple out to affect countless lives. So what can you do? What’s your small act?'