10 years in 100% for the Children

10 years in 100% for the Children

10 years in 100% for the Children 3557 3000 100% for the Children

10 years in 100% for the Children - Community and professionalism

By Lene Pedersen, volunteer and member of the board in 100% for the Children

Interview with Helene on May 29, 2020

We meet at a café in Aarhus, on a rather beautiful spring Friday. Well enough, the corona is still above us, but we are sitting here facing each other and it is a very gratifying reunion.

Helene and I have not seen each other for approx. one year. I live in Copenhagen, and the last time we saw each other was also here in Aarhus, where Helene lives, and where we met for e.g. to talk about an internship for three social worker students who were to leave for Ghana on an internship in the autumn of 2019.

Helene and I are social workers, and have both been in internships abroad during our studies. Helene in South Africa and I in Ghana. Together, since 2014, we have been involved in sending 13 students to Ghana for internships - and it has been both academically exciting and rewarding for the organization's and for 100%'s collaborators in Ghana.

However, it is not at all these internships that this little article is about, but the fact that Helene recently told me that she has a 10-year anniversary, and it shouldn't go unnoticed!

So Helene, how started your knowledge and your affiliation to 100%?

Hmm, yes, I had probably just gotten used to traveling in Africa after my internship in South Africa, so when I was going to write my bachelor project, I wanted to travel again. I did not have that much money to use, so a student friend and I started researching what options there might be. At that time, back in 2010, there were commercials on TV for Arbejdernes Landsbank, which showed film clips and a short story about Signe Møller from Mols. She had sold all her earthly possessions, and had traveled to Kenya to help children at the landfill in Mombasa.

Helene and her friend contacted 100% and after an introductory evening in Copenhagen they left for Kenya in July and August in 2010.

Yes Helene I know you have a great longing and desire to travel and have traveled many places in the world, but where have you really been?

I should mentioned here that I had not prepared Helene for the questions I would ask. When I insisted on listing all the countries where Helene has been, she found her phone, where she has a list of all her visited travel destinations. There are 40 in total - she's a real globetrotter! She read the whole list aloud…

That is, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, France, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Greece, Iceland, England, Scotland, Austria, Turkey, Israel, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, USA, Canada, Peru, Ecuador, Qatar, Palestine, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Columbia, Panama, Cyprus, Ireland, Maldives, China (Hong Kong), Philippines and Greenland… And some places I have been several times!

I was a little speechless, but when I had just gathered myself, I asked Helene

I agree that you love to travel, but what has your travels with 100% meant?

Having worked in the Kibarani area of ​​Mombasa has meant that I have learned a lot of things the hard way, but it has been an incredibly good learning. By the time we came to Kibarani in 2010, it was in many ways a rebellious community. There were quite violent experiences and everyone had difficult circumstances. It was a completely different world than what I had known, and it was clear that the school out there was helping to give the kids a little bit of time to be children.

In 2010, we were at the New Hope Orphanage and also at the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK), which works with rehabilitation and training for children with disabilities and their parents.

In the role as chairwoman for 100% for the Children, I came back to Mombasa on a monitoring visit in 2018, and it was a pretty wild experience - and a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride.

New Hope Orphanage

It was great to get out on New Hope, where there had been an absolutely tremendous development. The building had been renovated, all the children where dressed in beautiful uniforms, the school at the orphanage had been expanded, they had been given a nice playground, the quality of teaching was high and the children were doing well academically. 

The meeting with Hassan

The meeting that probably made the most impression on me was the meeting with Hassan, a boy with spastic paralysis. I first met Hassan back in 2010 when he was 8 years old and there he could do almost nothing by himself. At the time, I also met his father, and I have rarely met a man who was so steel solid and persistent around his son's training. Hassan's father carried him back and forth to training at APDK as there were no other options.

When I met Hassan in 2018, he was able to get up and stand on his own with a little support. That reunion was very touching for me and I'm not sure, but I had a feeling he could recognize me too.

I'm pretty sure that the reason why my experience with Hassan became so emotional is related to the fact that I have a fantastic little nephew here in Denmark named Rune, who has Down Syndrome. I could not at all bear the thought of what the situation would be like if APDK wasn't there. And I think it is important that 100% for the Children have APDK as a collaborating organization. Rights in general, but especially for the disabled, is a very challenging and taboo subject in many places in Africa and it is important that 100% helps to create awareness about this.

How, and in what way, have you been committed to 100% over the past 10 years?

It has been a bit mixed in what way and how actively I have been engaged over the years that has passed. It was hard when Signe got sick, but it was her dream and she kept believing in the organization, so I did too. When Signe then had to resign, I chose to stay, and as a volunteer have given a number of presentations about 100% for the children, done fundraising, been involved in the coordination of foreign internships for social worker students since 2014 and then there is the work at the board. 

I experience a little 100% as a small family, where we are close to each other and to our collaborators and projects. The social and professional community where we have exciting and reflective conversations is very rewarding. 

I have several times considered whether I should quit or not, but I always came to the conclusion that what we do is important and that I want to be a part of it - a part of 100%!

I (Lene) and the rest of the 100% would like to give Helene a high five for her faithful commitment and say thank you for the cooperation so far. We look forward to continue in the future.

Helenes 100% timeline

2010: The trip went to Kenya and it was the very beginning of the commitment and volunteering in 100% for the Kids

2015: Became member of the board of directors at 100% for the Children

2016-2017: Vice chairwoman at 100% for the Children

2017-2019: Chairwoman at 100% for the Children

2019-: Continued to be a member of the board and volunteering at 100% for the Children