Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be Thanket!
— ‘Selkirk Grace’ by Robbie Burns
Tonight is Burns Night and the words of his Selkirk Grace continue to resonate many years after they were first penned by the poet who is regularly chosen as the greatest Scot of all time. Through Burns’ native Scottish dialect and some 200-plus years since he composed the short grace poem, the sentiment of the message still shines through. Some have meat and can’t eat; others can’t eat but want to. Those of us who do have meat and can eat, should be thankful.
After Auld Lang Syne, these are probably the most famous words Burns committed to paper and it’s easy to see why these four short lines have endured for the ages. They remind us that those of us who are in a position to put food on the table and look after our families and friends should be grateful. It’s not something that we should take for granted or allow ourselves to forget that in many countries around the globe, it is considered a luxury.
Street Child World Cup 2018
I attended a Burns Night last weekend in support of the Street Child World Cup 2018 and Burns’ sentiments are very much in evidence as part of this initiative. In Association with Save The Children, the Street Child World Cup is set to take place in May 2018 in Moscow, immediately ahead of the FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia in the summer. It is the third staging of the competition which will bring together more than 200 street-connected children from across the world.
It’s more than just an international football competition. It’s also a festival of the arts and will include a Congress for the rights of street children worldwide. On the pitch, boys and girls will represent 24 national teams and play to change the negative perceptions and treatment of street children everywhere. Off the pitch is when the young people will have the opportunity to make their voices heard, calling for the rights of millions of children surviving on the streets in many countries around the globe. The message from them to the world is: “I am somebody”. It’s about raising awareness of the plight and situation of street children worldwide.
My aim, along with two of our clients and friends, is to try to help get as many teams to Moscow to take part in the Street Child World Cup as possible. I’m happy to say that many people whom I know well have already helped a team from the New Generation charity to get there. New Generation are a charity I have worked with on many occasions in the past. They run a project to help street children in Burundi, the second poorest country in the world. Their centre, in the capital city, Bujumbura, has been looking after street children for 16 years where every day they come for food, care and support. Their outreach program visits hundreds of children on the streets, and it runs entrepreneurship and youth engagement programs designed to help older youth take the right path in life.
Our next goal (all footballing puns intended!) is to try to ensure a team from the Glad’s House charity is also able to line up at the tournament come May. They look after young people living on the streets of Mombasa in Kenya, by helping them steer past the ever-attendant problems of misuse of alcohol, drugs and a life of crime and towards a ‘normal life’ where they can realise their potential. These are both tremendous charities who tirelessly work to improve the lot of some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children in the world. We have so far raised £4000 and need to get to £20000 in the next few months. If you would like to get involved, please contact me.
Doing Our Bit
It is great to see that so many people in Progeny are serious about making a meaningful contribution to those who are not as lucky as ourselves. We all have a responsibility to try to improve the lives of those in every sector and strata of society and it is one we are completely committed to. All directors in the business are encouraged to donate whatever support they can to charitable causes. We wrote a blog last month about the Progeny team taking part in this year’s Tough Mudder event in May. The team are now training hard for this and all their efforts will generate sponsorship money for a number of well-deserving charities. I’m proud to say we have staff who are trustees of charities and many others who are committed to making a difference and a contribution in their local communities.
Burns Night, just like any other day or night of the year, offers us as timely an opportunity as any to reflect on how we, as Robert Burns might put it, can help those who ‘can’t eat but want to’.