Nikki Horne

5

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of good and simple honesty. When people are lucky enough to hear stories of inspiration and/or meet individuals who are creating a beneficial pathway for others; one of the pivotal points of curiosity is, “How did you start doing this?” I do not know about you but I want unfiltered, unpurified and uncontaminated probity. Is it that you were born with the intrinsic desire to help others or is there something else?

I was greatly appreciative when she said how she started out which confirmed my theory, that she is human like you and I. She was told that after graduation, the best way to get a good paying job in her developed country is to go to a developing nation, get some experience and then return. That was the original, untouched intent and so she did. However, there was a twist to her story; a factor she never considered and as a consequence, there was a clear shift in motive, perspectives and life direction.

In this Championing Change Series, we will see mission through the eyes of Nikki Horne. To sweeten the pot, her experience took place in the Spanish corner of the Caribbean, Ecuador where she spent over 8 years.

The factor which flipped her world is what we call, “relationships”. She summed it up perfectly while at the same time acknowledging the selfishness in her original intent. “If you go into a context to sincerely try to serve the people and meet their needs, it becomes hard to leave. It’s terrible to think that I could go there, ride on their back and return to get a great job! When you develop relationships with people, you then really want to cheer for them and before long you become part of their family.”

In Ecuador, Nikki walked along side people in marginalized contexts. These people are usually under very oppressive systems. Kids cannot go to school, health care is limited, food is in short supply and the lure of criminal activities becomes more enticing with each passing day. “I worked in a school which offered free education and learnt that free education has to be coupled with other opportunities to be of any help. I got into health care, counseling and soon found myself acting as a bridge so they can access basic human rights.” Nikki said her job was identifying individual needs and tackling them. This individual based approach is effective but its reach debatable which she consciously acknowledged. People are made up differently and as a result, their situations and requirements are unique. This is the basis of the approach of the Onzole River Project Co-Founder.

I do not know about you, but I want unfiltered, unpurified and uncontaminated probity. Is it that you were born with the intrinsic desire to help others or is there something else?

It is Nikki’s belief that it is our responsibility as humanity to look at other people, share our time, resources and efforts. She spoke passionately about not wanting to be the center of her efforts, as it’s not supposed to benefit her. “To see people step into their true potential, children graduating, and parents finally being able to provide for their families are the only benefits I will accept as I find seeing all these things extremely fulfilling. I believe I am privileged as I get the opportunity to go serve in these communities.”

With regards to amplifying her efforts, Nikki noted skill sharing as being the most valuable resource to development. “People are hungry for skills. We set up vocational training centers so we can professionally develop our community leaders and in turn they can teach others. To give skills require you to give of your time, sacrifice leaving your family, and find funds to travel. People are sadly not willing to embark on this journey of selflessness,” she lamented.

Nikki concurred that change can only happen if we all start working in our own communities and as long as we are working diligently in our own corners of the world, change will happen. Nikki had advice for two audiences. To the adults she insists that a greater mentorship role of the youth has to be played and to the youth she stated so beautifully,

“There will always be pressure from society but it’s important you find pleasure in abandoning everything and pursuing what makes you happy.”

Nikki Horne, the Ecuadorian in her own right, now sets her sights on transitioning to the continent of Africa where she is hoping to contribute.

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