By Megan McPherson, Hope St Board Member
I first met Flavia in 2011, when she was a young girl living on the street. I was in Uganda
working with Hope St (then called ORA New Zealand) and Uganda’s street children had only
recently entered my awareness. Flavia was part of a group of about 10 children whom I was
spending time with, trying to understand their journey and struggles.
Flavia was gentle, kind, approachable, and very eager to work at any opportunity for a better
life. We spent a day together making greeting cards to sell as a fundraiser in New Zealand,
and Flavia’s hard work and skilled craftsmanship left me in awe. She put care and effort into
every card and continued working even when the other children lost focus. I still have a card
made by Flavia, framed as a keepsake. Her exquisite craftsmanship, creativity, and attention
to detail were present even as a child – it’s no surprise to me that she ended up studying
design and fashion.
I’m so very proud of Flavia. Most of the children in that initial group we met on the street
were given the opportunity to enter Hope St’s first intake, including Flavia. Two of the boys
in her intake ended up returning to the street, trapped in drug addiction, and both
passed away. I still get teary when I think of them gone. Flavia’s achievement is no small
feat; she has overcome challenges that most of us in New Zealand will never face. She is an
inspiration and a hero.
I’m also proud of Hope Focus Uganda, Hope St’s local partner who runs the street children’s
program. They started with a tiny rental unit and a handful of children, many of whom were
addicted to drugs and had been forced into stealing to survive. Hope Focus Uganda has
come a long way since those early days. They have acquired skills, knowledge, networks,
community connections and a lovely campus. It’s a powerful moment to see them
celebrating graduations. The impact of their work now goes beyond the street children to
all those in the communities whom their graduates will support.
Flavia through the years