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African altruist talks about changing lives

2012/05/25 19:42:00

Taipei, May 22 (CNA) "A real fortune is a changed life," African philanthropist Charles Mulli said in Taiwan on Tuesday at a promotional event for the Chinese version of his biography titled "Father To The Fatherless: The Charles Mulli Story."

Mulli, a former business mogul in Kenya who is on a six-day promotional visit in Taiwan, said bringing changes to children's lives is the most valuable work of his charity cause.

The book, written by Canadian Paul H. Boge and published in 2005, was released in Taiwan in Mandarin on May 20.

It tells the story of Mulli growing up as a poor child begging on the streets and later working his way up to become a successful transportation tycoon. However, an incident of theft years ago inspired him to help children in need and over the past two decades, he has helped to provide care for more than 7,000 children.

The turning point came one day when he was at the peak of his career, he said. He was on business trip to Nairobi when he was approached by several homeless children who asked him for money, he recalled. He said he turned them down, on concern that they might spend the money on drugs.

Later he returned to his car, only to find it gone. The vehicle was never found even after he reported the theft to the police, but what troubled him more was a sense of guilt over his refusal to help the children, he said.

A few days after the incident, Mulli said, he got lost on his way home. Suddenly he thought about the homeless children and he burst into tears as he heard a voice in his head saying, "the kids need your economic resources and to be loved by God through your help," he recalled. Mulli said he took that as a message from God and made a decision that changed his life forever.

In 1989, he founded the Mully Children's Family, which provides care and education for children in poverty around Kenya, he said. The home also offers vocational skills training.

Mulli said he believes that with education and training, children will have more opportunities to go to college or find a job to improve their own and their families' lives.

By doing this, the number of street children can be reduced, he said. Helping children change their own lives is the biggest value of the cause, he added.

He said his greatest challenge at the moment is how to give each child the best care. As part of his efforts to operate sustainable care homes, Mulli has built farms and ranches that raise 45 percent of the money needed for the cause. He plans to gradually make the homes fully self-sufficient.

During his trip to Taiwan, he said, he hopes to learn about agriculture and aquaculture techniques and how to produce renewable energy from animal waste.

(By Hsu Chih-wei and Kendra Lin)