“It really is the best investment you can make in yourself and in the world.”
Looking for the best investment you can make in yourself and in the world?
When discussing investments, one might think of real estate, bonds or startups. But the kind of investments the Shamoon family have been making over the past 20 years are life changing! Together with World Vision, an international charity working in around 100 countries, the Shamoon’s have given hope to over one million children around the world.
In partnership with World Vision the Shamoon family has helped to save the lives of children suffering from malaria, tuberculosis and malnutrition through:
· Training health workers
· Accurate and quicker diagnosis
· Improving access to healthcare services
· Life-saving food and medication
All this means that more children will have a healthier, happier start in life!
The return on the Shamoon’s investment in World Vision projects has been transformational and sustainable. Daniel Shamoon speaks about his journey with World Vision and his recent trip to Kenya where he had the opportunity to witness first-hand the impact of his generous support.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
After studying in London, Paris, Madrid and New York, I worked in London for two years trading equities before moving to continental Europe in 2000 to concentrate on hospitality and property development. We took over Bursha Holdings my sister Jennica and I in 2006 and have grown the company into a major retail, commercial and residential business. We also own the SLH brand in London which has a network of hotels in hundreds of destinations.
What are some of your interests?
Architecture, interior design, skiing, vintage cars, travel.
What was it that first inspired you to donate to World Vision?
I saw World Vision on the news and I wanted to get involved in whatever way I could to start making a difference to people’s lives. The child sponsorship programme was an easy and impactful way to get involved, so I started sponsoring a child. As my life changed – I got married and started a family – I wanted to get more involved. I felt very fortunate for what I had in life and I realised a lot of people were not as fortunate, especially through the regular updates on the life of the child I was sponsoring and the world around them.
I contacted World Vision, asked how I could get more involved and started to raise funds for individual projects through my personal donations and fundraising events. Every time we’ve become involved in a project, we’ve really seen the growth, the fruition and the development into self-sustainability. Seeing the impact on the ground over a period of years, how your money is being spent and how it is impacting lives directly makes all the difference. So, every time we got involved in a project I felt connected to it.
Tell us about your recent trip to Kenya.
If you’ve never been to a place where World Vision works and seen directly the impact that it has, going on a trip really makes everything come together. Without visiting I would never really have seen how much we’ve done and how much World Vision has achieved for people’s lives. I will always be grateful to World Vision for making it possible for me to really experience something that’s given me more back than any other thing apart from having a family of my own.
Did anything surprise you during your trip?
I was shocked when a young woman who I met in the slums of Nairobi told me she was only nine years old when she had her first baby! Let me share…
Her childhood was spent scavenging the enormous dump near her home in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. A place full of unlikely treasures. And horrible dangers.
Vulnerable children are targeted there, by men who offer to buy them ‘nice’ things in return for sexual favours. This situation for some girls is so desperate that they sell their bodies just to afford sanitary products. ‘Pretty’ girls may even be used as mules, carrying drugs and guns for the slum gangs. This is where Linda’s childhood was lost.
Her second chance started in her teens.
Through a project funded by World Vision, Linda went back to school after she had her baby. She also received training from World Vision on tailoring and fashion design and was given a sewing machine.
Today, Linda no longer rummages through the dumpsite, targeted by preying men. Instead, she scouts the area looking for at-risk girls suffering from the same hardships she went through. Linda now runs a programme for youth which she started in 2010, Twaweza meaning “we can”. At Twaweza young people are mentored and trained on public speaking, beadwork and all aspects of sewing and design. The design school is currently training 20 young people. They produce colourful crafts and jewellery for local markets and export to three countries.
Linda’s outreach doesn’t stop there. She gives talks in local schools, encouraging girls to protect and care for themselves. The project also makes hygienic sanitary pads (which they distribute to schools and sell to the community), and advocates for vulnerable girls to receive support from the sexual health clinic located in the same building as Twaweza.
Her vision is to have a company and resource centre for young people: “I want to help grow our society together to make the world a better place,” said Linda.
More than a survivor
Out of the ashes of the dumpsite, Linda has emerged as far more than a survivor. She is strong, happy, confident and an inspirational role model for her daughter. Thanks to support when she was at her most vulnerable, Linda’s now transforming the future for many more young people; giving them the chance to make something beautiful out of their lives. And Linda’s own daughter, now 11, can enjoy a childhood her mother never could, playing football with friends in the playground and crafting with her mum at home. She dreams of being a pilot. Maybe she can.
Is there anything you’d like to say to people who may be considering supporting a charity?
When you actually understand the impact you can have on people’s lives it makes day to day issues seem irrelevant. It really is the best investment you can make in yourself and in the world. Something that I saw visiting the projects is the impact that goes on for generations, changing people’s lives in a way that I could never have imagined before.
Puente Romano Summer Gala in aid of World Vision
For seven years the Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa has been partnering with World Vision and hosting an annual summer gala in aid of the charity. This year the gala will be held on Thursday 15th August and all money raised will go towards preventing child malnutrition around the world.
If you would like to learn more about World Vision’s work and to donate: