Hanne Howard, Co-Founder of Hanne Howard Fund, Lenana Community, Kenya / Canada

Words of Wisdom: “Think out of the box. Make sure you take the chances that come your way. And make sure you become self reliant, you cannot put yourself in the hands of other people.” – Hanne Howard

Interview with Hanne Howard, Co-Founder of Hanne Howard Fund, Lenana Community, Kenya / Canada

Hanne Howard, Co-Founder of Hanne Howard Fund, Lenana Community, Kenya / Canada

Hanne Howard and Ted Horton are the founders of Hanne Howard Fund – a Canadian registered charity since 2007 which provides a place for kids with no place. This grass roots project’s home is in Lenana community in Nairobi Kenya.

Its mission: “Help realize the potential of Kenya’s vulnerable children”
Kids who may not have a healthy meal before school; Kids who have no place to sleep; Kids who may have no mama come to this safe haven. Because of the Hanne Howard Fund children living in the Lenana slum have a place to go before school for food for the mind, a place after school to learn, a place which provides them hope and encourages their dreams. Although these accomplishments are valuable perhaps the most profound achievement is that Hanne Howard and her husband Ted Horton give these children is care, life lessons and hope that they do not need to live in the parameters of their circumstances. They take them in, feed them, educate them, care for them, and don’t leave them until they are well on their way to university.

Hanne is self-proclaimed bulldozer, but what she leaves in her wake are kids with manners, aspirations, full stomachs and a belief that they matter. With 130 students at her school, and more at the door hoping they too can wear a coloured t-shirt that makes them feel part of something bigger.

Hanne Howard YouTube promo video (approx. 2 min.)

Suzanne F Stevens episode Perspective blog: Comfort to Compassion

Hanne Howard Fund website: www.hannehowardfund.org

Hanne Howard, Co-Founder of Hanne Howard Fund, Lenana Community, Kenya / Canada

[ Hanne Howard ]: Co-Founder, Hanne Howard Fund, Lenana Community, Kenya / Canada

Note: The key messages in the interview have been transcribed and slightly altered for legibility and succinctness. More information is provided in the audio and video version above. Please comment on the site, we want to hear your wisdom!

[ Suzanne F Stevens ]: Leadership Lessons Learned?

[ Hanne Howard ]:

  1. Be involved. As a leader you need to get your hands dirty
  2. Be friends with everyone, but maintain control
  3. “We are responsible to society, no matter what age we were”
  4. There is an expectation when you come from a place of privilege
  5. “Father never told us what to do, he always made us come to a conclusion ourselves – this is important!”
  6. Think outside the box. If I say it often enough people start understanding it and responding to it.

[ Suzanne F Stevens ]:  Edgeness Insight (An enhanced version of you when you push the edge of your comfort zone). Q. What did you do that makes you very uncomfortable but by continuing to do it you achieved your objective and meet a more enhanced version of you?

[ Hanne Howard ]: “For years I lived a comfortable life, and I didn’t have to get out of my comfort zone.  When I started this project, I didn’t factor in that I may not be liked. I now get out of my comfort zone everyday. I have to be harsher person then I would like to be. I had to hire someone so I can go back to being ‘mother’ again. Being tough you start loosing your perspective.”

[ Suzanne F Stevens ]: Keys to success?

[ Hanne Howard ]:

  • Being brought up with a role model, her father
  • Embrace responsibility
  • Just move forward, and go by the seat of her pants, things fall into her lap
  • Never compromising values to get the job done
  • Being honest and straight forward when ever obstacles get in the way

[ Suzanne F Stevens ]: Preparing for leadership?

[ Hanne Howard ]:

  • Her childhood prepared her.
  • Her father said “you were socially responsible, you are the land owner, you have more than anyone else.  You give back because it is your responsibility.”
  • My father invested in leaders, put them through higher education, as a result, my father created a ripple effect in Columbia. My father impacted creating the middle class.”

[ Suzanne ]: Leadership insights

[ Hanne ]:

  • Being flexible with the parameters in which are given
  • “Everything works here (in Lenana Slum, Kenya), long as you are constant and you are there. Kids just accepting what ever you bring.”

Biggest impact

  • “The children humble me.” They all come from such a different backgrounds, and have had so many challenges, many which are not talked about.

Key to success of project

  • The project needs to be self-sustainable. We hired a local graduate who has a managerial background to sustain what was started. It is now up to them.

How do you measure success?

  • “I don’t think that way, I just do”

My gift

  • “No is not the answer for me”
  • “I am very determined person”

What is Next?

  • Do some of the fun things we came to Africa to do prior to starting this project
  • Create an orchard to provide work for some of the kids in the future
  • Make sure that the project is self-sustaining

Reflective Realizations from Hanne Howard

Q. If you had a daughter of 10yrs what words of wisdom would give to her?

  • “Always give, always give more than you get. That is the essence is everything. If you are a giver everything opens up for you.”

Q. Is there anything you wish you were told earlier?

  • “No, my father was a philosopher and he gave us lessons all the time. We ate together so he provided insight often. He taught us difference between self-esteem and conceit.”

Q. Is there anything you would have changed in your life?

  • “No, I love the my life.”
    “I could not have raised my kids and do what I am doing now. I had to give all my attention to raising my kids or they would not be where they are today.”

Words of Wisdom to Western Women & Men by Hanne Howard

Finish what you start when you give to Africa;
Remember Westerns and African’s are all the same, we want the same things, we just have different economic situations.


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    1 Response to "Hanne Howard"

    • Deri Latimer

      Nicely done, Suzanne…and Hanne! Thank you for providing this venue for increasing our awareness and igniting our spirit!

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