Dear Deki supporters,
I have some important news to share with you.
I set up Deki almost eight years ago and I can safely say it has been a challenging and rewarding journey. Many of you will already know the Deki story and that it all started when my Dad passed away 11 weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer. After he died I found out that he had left me a few thousand pounds and a note to do something good with it. This changed my life.
I travelled to India to do some soul searching and to meet the Tibetan refugee, Deki Dolkha who my dad had sponsored through childhood. Deki, who was 17 years old, had finished school with only basic literacy skills. There were very few opportunities available to her and she was trapped in a cycle of poverty.
I felt compelled to do something to help her. Initially I sent Deki money every month, but I wanted her to be empowered to stand on her own two feet and enable her to have a better quality of life. I wanted to help Deki and others like her, so they wouldn’t have to have to rely on handouts.
Micro loans and business training felt like the right way to help and the Deki charity was born.
Working with people who have so little, has made me realise how much opportunity and choice we have in our lives. Deki is all about sharing the abundance of opportunity we have, so we can change lives in Africa.
When I first set up Deki it was just me and my laptop at my kitchen table, with my new born daughter Isla. A few months before she was born I made my first loan. This was a challenging and tough time. There was more than one moment where I questioned if this would work.
I am so proud of what Deki has achieved. We have a fantastic and committed team of five, along with a strong board of trustees and hardworking volunteers, who we couldn’t manage without. Last month was a huge milestone for us as we lent our one-millionth pound. Together we have created a charity that is beyond anything I had initially imagined.
The trustees and I now want to see Deki grow further, creating more opportunities for those who need it the most. To do this we will need to bring in more expertise to support our plans for growth. I have decided that now is the perfect time for me to step aside from my CEO role and focus more on being the Ambassador for Deki. I am so touched that my story resonates with so many of you and I know that by focusing on telling the Deki story that will help us grow further.
I am proud to announce that Melanie Knight will take over as CEO and will carry out the operational management which allows me to focus on being an Ambassador for Deki. Melanie has worked in both the private and charity sectors and brings considerable experience to Deki which will help us grow and change more lives.
As well as being Deki’s ambassador I will join our board of trustees. In this role I can contribute to our long term strategy and ensure that Deki stays true to its grass roots philosophy and its vision for a world of opportunity not poverty.
I would like to personally thank you for all your support over the years, we couldn’t have done it without you.