Our Global Dyslexia Journey over the past 12 months.
We have had an incredible year spreading awareness of dyslexia across the globe and thought it would be great to share with you what our year has looked liked.
There is so much that has happened so have captured it over 10 events.
After speaking to over 70,000 students over the past 7 years from schools / universities / youth projects etc and then speaking at business shows I wanted to expand my reach and see where I could take this.
So one evening about 10:30 pm (not my best time for writing) we put together an email and sent it to 76 different dyslexic organisations across the globe 🌎 asking if I can visit them and help them in anyway.
I did not know at the time how powerful this email would be and the affect it would have but it has changed everything.
You see this may just seem like an email Campaign at the time and I could of thought of a thousand reasons not to send them but this one email that was sent to all those organisations created many opportunities.
Event 2 :
So after the email was sent I was delighted to receive a response from The British Dyslexia Association inviting me in for a meeting with the CEO Helen Bowden.
Since finding out I have dyslexia at the age of 36 I naturally turned to the BDA for as much information as possible so was delighted to visit their offices and get to meet with Helen.
I’d be lying if I’d said I wasn’t nervous as I had so many ideas of how we could help with dyslexia of a global scale but Helen made me feel very welcome.
The meeting was fantastic and led on to me becoming an ambassador for the BDA, something which I am incredibly honored and proud of!
So a massive thank you to Helen and all at the BDA for allowing us to work with them in so many ways.
Event 3 :
So after the meeting with the CEO of The British Dyslexia Association Helen Bowdon things started developing quite fast. I was honoured to be asked to become an ambassador in which to date there are only 7 off us 😁 this was followed by the most amazing opportunity to attend the government APPG at the Houses of Parliament.
I can honestly say that being a part of the BDA is a complete honour, and the experiences and opportunities to actually get in and make a real difference to the dyslexic community, is immeasurable. On top of this I am able to attend educational conferences, gala balls that recognize some of the most incredible dyslexic talent. And this is just in 1 year of being a part of the BDA!
Event 4 of our Global Dyslexia Journey over the past 12 months.
So the relationship with the BDA was formed and again incredibly delighted to become one off their ambassadors but I knew I could continue making a difference on a global scale. Now to my delight the founders of a dyslexic school in Kenya had responded to my email and after a few emails back and forth I took the leap off faith and jumped on a plane to go and vist them. I touched down in Kenya and having even not even physically spoken to Phyllis or Nancy on the phone and never even been to Kenya before.
The visit to Kenya was truly life changing and I got to see first hand how dyslexia was seen in a different country. We put on one of Rare Gems biggest events (to date ) where we invited all the teachers / students and parents and gave a wonderful morning of inspirational talks / education around dyslexia and the students of Rare Gem also did several presentations. I got to then visit the school and was incredibly humbled to receive such wonderful hand made gifts from the students. I also had the opportunity to appear on Kenya Tv on one of their most popular morning chat shows in which gave Rare Gem Talent School more well deserved coverage.
My trip to Kenya started a truly wonderful relationship not only with the school but the owners Phyllis and Nancy.
Event 5 of our Global Dyslexia Journey over the past 12 months.
So after the incredible visit to Rare Gem Talent School in Kenya 🇰🇪 I was reflecting on how we can continue helping their organisation from the UK , So I organised a Skype call with founders Phyllis and Nancy and discussed lots of plans going forward! But to my delight this was just the beginning, I could not believe it when these wonderful people asked me to not only be an international ambassador for them, but to also sit on their board of directors!
Alongside my work with the BDA this was such a great honor. Not just because of the humbling titles and opportunities to help this incredible organisation, but because of the way these inspirational women took me into their school and their hearts! In Rare Gem I have found a lifelong partnership in a mission to raise awareness and progression for dyslexia but also great friendship, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
You see sometimes reaching out is the best thing you can do, for others, for the cause and for yourself! The world is full of incredible people doing incredible things, and I have been lucky to be a part of it!
Event 6 of our Global Dyslexia Journey over the past 12 months.
So after the incredible success of becoming an ambassador for the BDA 🇬🇧and a board member of Dyslexia Kenya 🇰🇪 I was getting noticed on a global scale and was approached by the international dyslexia association about the work I was carrying out in Kenya.
I replied to an email from them to find out more about their organisation and again how I can support them on a global scale and was delighted to be invited to a Skype call with the president of the IDA . The Skype call went incredibly well and after a lot of discussions I was welcomed in as a global partner for them.
This is a fantastic opportunity for our association as we can work closely alongside the IDA with all our global plans.
This is another example of the results you can get if you reach out and offer to help.
Event 7 of our Global Dyslexia Journey over the past 12 months.
After meeting the incredible Phyllis and Nancy, and seeing the amazing work they do every single day, I just knew we had to do more to support them and all the children that still needed help!
On returning home from my first trip to Kenya, we discussed all the different ways we could help further, and decided that our first fundraiser, a charity gala ball!
Part of the preparations for the ball included me travelling back out to Kenya and working more closely with the amazing teachers and students at Rare Gem, so hopped back on the plane to Kenya.
Whilst I was there we were able to capture this amazing video which shows first hand what children with dyslexia in Africa are up against. I was truly humbled and honored to go back there, and they let me into their hearts, and I knew we had to do all we could to support them.
Click the link to see the video!!
On returning from Kenya we got straight to work on creating our first ever dyslexia fundraiser in aid of two charities. For anyone who has every organised something like this knows how much work goes into it , however the reason why Kelly Holbrook and myself were doing it was worth all the blood sweat and tears.
We were blown away with the support we had from our celebrity ambassador Paul Martin and global ambassador LeDerick Horne and the amazing Andy Workman as well as our main sponsors Jelf and all the wonderful people who came and supported.
The event went well and money was raised and most of all more awareness was created for dyslexia.
I could share with you hundreds of pictures of the evening but I think the video that ManMade produced sums up the evening perfectly.
Click the link to see the video
Event 9 of our Global Dyslexia Journey over the past 12 months.
Things had really started picking up momentum as our presence had grown globally very quickly. From working with the amazing people at Rare Gem, the Able foundation in Malawi reached out and asked if I could make that my next stop! So that was to be my next port of call!
Arriving in Lilongwe after what was a very trying journey (that’s a whole other series of posts) I reached my hotel just before the scene of the million man march descended just outside. During this trip, not only did I get to see the turbulence of this wonderful country but also ur beauty, and I met some more incredible people!
In Malawi I carried out two incredible talks and training sessions, and made lifelong contacts. I helped spread awareness and hopefully supported parents and teachers in their quest to better support their children and students! A big thank you again to these amazing people in these wonderful countries who took me in and showed me the kindest hospitality, and allowed me to share my own insight into living with dyslexia.
Event 10 of our Global Dyslexia Journey over the past 12 months.
So I guess with the end of this blog and the last of our journey posts (for now ) it would be great to showcase some of the things we are doing in the UK as well as the rest of the world.
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to speak to over 70,000 students over the past 8 years but this year was extra special as I got to speak to the students purely on dyslexia and not just business. Alongside this I have a children’s book and a documentary in the making, not to mention the most amazing global plans currently being put into place.
We are so proud of all that the association has achieved in less than a year, and can’t wait to see what the next year brings.