So, back at home now with my family. I feel really lucky to have such wonderful support from my wife and children and have missed them all very much.
I'm also feeling thankful to have had the opportunity to meet such amazing, dedicated, inspiring people. These words just don't do justice to what I've seen though and I'm left thinking about the enormous levels of humanity and compassion they possess.
My challenge is to match their incredible qualities and find the ways to ensure we are able to carry on fighting to defend children's rights and help create their futures.
I thought I'd share with you the main things I've learned during this last few weeks. The first is not to fly with Air France if I can help it! Emilie did eventually get her luggage back but not on the same day: one case arrived 4 days late, the other took 5 days. Maybe it was enjoying the journey………
I've learnt that we have a key role in bringing people together, actively seeking partnerships and collaborations that maximise our resources to help support incredibly vulnerable children. And we're really good at it: not just helping the delivery of services but using them to advocate and influence change. Joining the dots and understanding just what needs to happen to protect and support children at a community level as well as within state/ federal government structures.
I've learnt we have plenty of support to do this- in Nigeria and across the world. For example, whilst I've been away Australian supporters have been organising a big fundraising event and we hope it's as successful as possible.
I've learnt that there are truly inspirational people who have given over their lives to support the children we work with. The ones in retirement using their own resources and time because they can't simply turn their backs on vulnerable and abused children and walk away; burying their heads in the sand. Their sense of personal responsibility reminds me I have so much to learn from them, and I'm feeling quite humbled- so much so that I vow to try and not moan too much about things that really don't matter!
Finally, this trip has left me invigorated and full of ideas about the possibilities for the future.
We're further forward in our development of our SAFEChild model, we're developing outreach with street children and are looking into how we can bring education to children on the streets: as we found out in our workshops, these are the priorities of the children.
So please keep supporting our work in whatever way you are able. I hope you've enjoyed reading this blog as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
Keep checking our website and social media if you can as we will be organising a Q&A and possibly a webinar if you want to find out more about the trip, our future plans or just want to find out more about us and our work.