Peter Daglish set out not to just help to Nepal’s street kids, but to hand them opportunities.
WHO? Peter Dalglish WHAT? Street Kids International, helping street kids start a new life to realise their potential WHERE? Kathmandu, Nepal WHEN? 1988 WHY? No child should be given up as hopeless
When Peter Dalglish completed his law degree at prestigious Stanford University, his future was meant to be like this: wear a suit and tie; earn lots of money. But a little trip to Africa threw a wrench into his plans. He volunteered to help combat hunger in Ethiopia, thinking he would stay a week or two. Then he met the charismatic rock star and Live Aid founder Bob Geldof … and his life was on a new path. While in Africa he developed his own ideas on how to help the world’s poor, a vision that has taken shape in Street Kids International (SKI), which focuses on helping street kids in Nepal.
Dalglish has learned from experience that there are many well-meaning aid projects that smother the recipients with good intentions. “People who set up these projects have a good heart,” he notes, but adds, “You have to think strategically and put yourself in the place of the people you want to help. You should never make people dependent. I look for ways to offer protection – in this case to children – but really mainly to give them the opportunity to help themselves.”
Dalglish works together with schools finding ways to better incorporate poor kids into the educational system. For example, school uniforms, which street kids cannot afford, have been scrapped. “But it remains a challenge to get a child who also needs to earn money, into the classroom at established times,” Dalglish explains. This was the reason behind Dalglish’s decision to work with ‘mobile teachers’, who simply take to the street with a blackboard and chalk.
Dalglish no longer wears a suit or tie now, but his legal education still comes in handy. He spends all day negotiating with employers, teachers, politicians and police officials. His organisation, with an office in Canada, spreads SKI’s ideas to other lands. They offer video presentations and workshops for children and their mentors. So far he has reached over 200,000 children worldwide.