Rugby player or dustbin raider? Our part in turning a life around

Ron Banks gets passionate about the way Solo Expenses and its customers help others by giving back to society as change makers for some of the world’s most disadvantaged people.

“There’s no way that lad’s not going to score,” said Grandad Ron, pointing to a picture in the sports pages of the Kenya Star, which he was looking at on line. “He’s only 15, and on the way to being part of a championship rugby team!”

Ollie looked up from his place in a circle of teddy bears, laid out by his daughter Alice for a tea party. “Struggling for entertainment, Dad? Why don’t you come and join in this tea party?” he wanted to know, wishing his could get up from a position he was finding increasingly uncomfortable. How did children sit cross-legged on the floor so readily?

“Not at all,” said Ron. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this one is worth more than that when you understand the back story.”

The beauty of the back story
He turned the tablet so Ollie could see it over the top of his tiny teacup. “What do you see?” Ron asked. Without waiting for a reply he went on: “Good picture*; well composed; ball carrier’s beaten one tackler, and isn’t going to be held by the lad in the red shirt. And here’s the back story. Green shirt is called Bakari Hassan, and he goes to Kakamega High School in Kenya. It’s all here, in the story. But what the story doesn’t say is that he lost his parents, and was getting in fights and stealing from dustbins to survive. But now he’s in secondary school and doing well there, and he could be part of the best U15 rugby team in East Africa. I’d say that’s a turnaround in anyone’s life, wouldn’t you?”

It appeared that he hadn’t drawn breath as he carried on: “Of course you would; because it is. And it’s happened because of a place called Footprints Orphanage where Bakari lives, and is a role model to loads of other kids who’ve come from similar backgrounds. And I support it because I’m a Solo Expenses customer. All of us are donors through the company’s Giving Back initiative, because Solo Expenses gives part of its revenue to Footprints – and a load of other causes – every month.”

Lessons for us all
Ron paused, and Ollie saw his chance to turn down another slice of imaginary cake and climb onto the sofa to ease the pain in his hips. “Is there a lesson here Dad?,” he wanted to know, although he not only knew that there was, but what it was too. He was merely indulging his father.. “There normally is when you get as passionate as this about something.”

Ron had been encouraged to take the slice of imaginary cake Ollie had refused. He pretended to eat it with relish, and, wiping imaginary crumbs from the corner of his mouth and handing back the plate, he said: “Three, really. The first is that we all have the capability of being better than we are, if we show enough determination and have a chance to show what we can do. Second, that charity, applied in a sustained and directed way, can have long term benefits, and thirdly, fundraising doesn’t have to involve huge sums of money. Smaller amounts, given on a regular basis, can help others in the longer term.

Change makers – effortlessly
“You might add that by being a Solo Expenses customer you can make all of those things happen without any effort at all – and fact, because the app helps with expenses management, it’ll undoubtedly save money too, so everyone’s better off. It’s so simple and effective.  And because of it I’m helping Bakari with his rugby career. I’m proud of that, even if we’ll never meet. That’s better than a try; it’s a real result!”

*Do you agree with Ron’s assessment of the picture? Have a look at it for yourself here.

Picture: Michal Bednarek | Dreamstime