a person who seeks to promote human welfare
When the suffering of another human being is witnessed, I think it is human nature to act in such a way as to alleviate that suffering and to eliminate its source. Occasionally our various fears may overpower the compulsion to help, but I choose to believe that generally, people are good and want good for people. In this sense, my work as a humanitarian – and yours – is simply to follow the natural impulse from within as it guides us to promote the welfare of those around us. I suppose the heart of the humanitarian will never be at peace until every human being has the economic, social, and political freedom to equally choose a quality of life wherein their basic needs and rights are met.
Following our hearts’ desire to bless the poor, Kayla Thompson and I spent three months in Ghana shortly after our marriage in 1999. The challenging and beautiful experiences we had left an indelible impression on our souls, knowing that we could actually make a difference for good. We also learned that having a heart to care for the poor is just not enough – it requires knowledge and training, specific skills, and resources including money. So I changed my major (BA International Development Studies with an African Studies Minor, BYU; MA International Education and Development, University of Sussex), started a social enterprise, and have spent a substantial amount of time learning from and serving among the poor in West Africa.
Our short “humanitarian honeymoon” has never ended, as we continue to volunteer as directors of the international non-profit NGO we founded in 2008 – Africa Heartwood Project. Follow the links to learn more about our work, and to see photos and videos from the 18 trips I have taken to West Africa, and to see how you might get involved.
These photos show how the seeds were planted that have grown into the humanitarian and development programs we have created to bring relief and prosperity to the poor in West Africa. The fruits of our labors have truly been sweet.