IN THE UK WE HAVE A SMALL CORE TEAM AND INCREDIBLE VOLUNTEERS WHO DONATE THEIR TIME AND SKILLS. THIS ALLOWS US TO FOCUS ON CAPACITY BUILDING FOR LOCAL PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRIES WHERE WE WORK.
I am the founder of Small Steps Project. I was working at an HIV hospice in Cambodia when I first visited the Stung Meanchey Dump, in Phnom Penh in 2009. It was there that I first saw hundreds of barefoot impoverished children scavenging in waste. I have been delivering shoe distributions and emergency aid projects to children and communities on dumps all over the world ever since. I also devise and implement sustainable projects with in country delivery parters to create solutions that enable children to take small steps off the dump.
I direct and produce documentaries, to create awareness about and campaign against the unacceptable conditions in which these children live. The films illustrate the problems they face and the solutions that we provide.
I also head up the UK Fundraising, The London Celebrity Shoe Auction and the Press & PR, using my skills as a former Celebrity Journalist to help generate publicity about an issue that is neglected in the media.
I've been working in the events industry for over 15 years and run my own events management company, Plain Jane Events. Over the years I have seen a huge amount of ‘bespoke' theming being thrown away instead of recycled or up-cycled. I decided very quickly that this was something I wanted to try to avoid in my own business. When I heard about the Small Steps Project, I was inspired by their work and saw it as a great cause to get involved with. At the same time, I make every effort to minimise the amount of waste generated by the event industry, through my day job!
As Events Manager for Small Steps, I organise all aspects of the yearly fundraising event - the Small Steps Project Celebrity Shoe Auction. Alongside an amazing team of volunteers, I sort out everything from venue and catering, entertainment and ticketing, to creating new and exciting ways to display our celebrity shoes.
Having travelled to Cambodia with the charity in 2012 to help with two dump projects, I have seen first-hand the impact our Western waste has on the families living there. Children's lives are taken up with scavenging for plastic bottles and tin cans to sell for no more than a few pennies. The Small Steps Project offers a way out for these children, getting them off the dumps and into school and hopefully onto a better life. If my contribution can save just one child from a life on the dump, it will be worth it
I became a trustee of Small Steps Project in the Spring of 2017. My background is in civil engineering and in management, ranging across areas from renewable energy to transport.
My first contact with Small Steps was while I was in Cambodia, where I supported and helped to organise a dental project led by my wife, which saw all 50 children from the dump project have much needed dental checks and referrals for any further care.
After that, I worked on a funding application for the provision of clean water for the Takhmao project in Cambodia, and subsequently travelled out there, where I noticed the issues the children were facing, particularly the vital need for fresh, clean water to improve their hygiene and health.
I realised the importance of the work that Small Steps Project was carrying out in enabling the children to reach the standards of cleanliness required to get out of the dump and into education. It was great to see the real difference that the charity's work is making to the children's lives and to the lives of their parents, by giving them chance of a better future.
As a trustee I hope that my skills and experience in these areas can provide practical help and add to the breadth of knowledge within the organisation.
I am the Emergency Aid Co-ordinator for Small Steps Project. I am in charge of
all the wellies, shoes and aid logistics and distribution for the Laos, Cambodia and Romania
rubbish dumps. I have been in this role since August 2014.
I am also the Managing Director of a small Community Interest Company called Festival Reboot.
We specialise in recycling and up-cycling the wellies we collect at festivals. We make a variety
of stylish yet simple products out of the broken boots, we then sell these under our brand ‘Reboot’,
all profits are then used to expand our recycling capabilities. I am also the Managing Director of a
small Community Interest Company called Festival Reboot. We specialise in recycling and up-cycling the
wellies we collect at festivals. We make a variety of stylish yet simple products out of the broken
boots, we then sell these under our brand ‘Reboot’, all profits are then used to expand our recycling capabilities.
This is a perfect synergy of two organisations, able to use almost 100% of the wellies donated and
collected. All the good wellies get put to use for those that desperately need them on rubbish dumps,
and the broken ones get recycled, giving them another burst of life. Please feel free to contact me
on the email below regarding any questions you have or any donations.
Hamid ToumiIT Consultant