This is Maureen Forrest, the founder of The Hope Foundation, a charity that works with street children in India.
I’m currently helping The Hope Foundation with their publicity, and I wanted to share Maureen’s story here as she is such an inspiration to all of us.
Today, at 69, when many of her friends and acquaintances are going for lunch and playing bridge, Maureen has pink streaks in her hair, and spends four months a year in India, on the ground, working with street children in a number of homes and projects that she has founded (her foundation runs over 60 projects and employs over 500 local West Bengal people).
Over the years, her charity has helped hundreds of children.
When Maureen is back here at home, she’s in her office by 7 am organising fund raising events – and that is alongside helping out with her SIX grandchildren.
I loved talking to Maureen about what she does, especially when she told me that it took her until she was almost 50 to find her calling.
She says she constantly took courses in everything from management to farming in a bid to find out what it was she really wanted to do, and she always had a feeling she would be brilliant at something, she just didn’t know what.
But she discovered her passion for helping others when her sister went to Ethiopia with a charity and Maureen helped her fundraise. Maureen then became a volunteer and visited Africa and India. Maureen was particularly moved in India, and not ignore what she saw, little children alone on the streets, suffering abuse, neglect, violence and hunger.
She felt compelled into action and decided to start The Hope Foundation to fund the set-up of a protection home for abused girls. One of their recent success stories was saving the life of a ‘bright as a button’ disabled child who had been left in a carrier bag on a train.
Maureen says if you don’t have a purpose in your life, you drift and end up lost and depressed. When people say to her ‘You’re getting too old to keep going to India’ she says ‘Look at Hilary Clinton’.
So, if you’re still searching for your calling, don’t worry about how old you are, or whether it’s too late. We all think we have to get everything done by the time we’re 30, but as Maureen’s story proves, you can do incredible things and change the world at any age.
Click here to read more about The Hope Foundation.