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Showing posts from August, 2009

My inspiration: Dennis Brown, traveller and intellectual

This week, a group of bright and energetic young people from a major auditing business visited one of our hostels. As part of their corporate social responsibility commitment the company wants to support Thames Reach. The hostel residents have all spent many years sleeping rough on the streets. Sitting in the garden, our visitors listen transfixed to Michael who has the battered visage and colourful life history that fascinates, shocks and appals. They are intrigued too by the staff - and puzzled. ‘What made you enter this line of work?’ they ask. These are good people, but the sub-text is indisputably: ‘Why would articulate, educated and capable people like you want to do this work when you could earn vastly greater sums of money and attain greater status in the corporate sector’? Then, predictably, they also ask me, ‘Who inspired you?’ I can feel the short-list being shoved in my direction. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Mandela? After all, dramatic work with the poor requires a source of…