In conversation with WE Charity's Spencer West
After overcoming adversity in his own life, Spencer West works for the WE Charity as a motivational speaker and leadership facilitator, helping transform lives around the world.
How did you first get involved with WE Charity?
In 2008, a friend invited me on a trip to Kenya to help build a school for WE Charity. It was the first time that I experienced a holistic development model that was helping community members lift themselves out of poverty. I also visited one of the local schools and shared my story with the students there about how I lost my legs due to a genetic disease.
Afterwards, a young girl raised her hand and told me 'she didn’t know something like that (meaning the loss of my legs) could happen to white people too.' That one phrase helped me discover how I could use my story to empower people to look at challenges differently. I went back home and immediately applied for a job at WE.
How would you sum up the work that WE Charity does?
It empowers change with resources that create sustainable impact. Our core mission is empowerment, at home and overseas.
Spencer West in front of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
How can Audley clients help support WE Charity?
The wonderful thing about it is that it’s cause inclusive, all-embracing and global. Whether at home or at the office, we believe everyone has the power to conquer the world’s biggest obstacles. Change starts with each of us - take the WE Pledge at WE.org.
Through your work you inspire so many people – who inspires you?
Truthfully it’s the unsung quiet heroes who work so hard every day to make the world a better place but don’t always get the recognition they deserve.
You climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012 – why did you take on such a massive challenge?
I’d been working for WE for a few years and I was starting to feel guilty. I was speaking all over the world, doing my best to empower people to make a change by focusing on the things they cared about, but not actually doing the work myself.
At the time East Africa was hit with one of the largest droughts they’d seen in over 60 years and I wanted to give back to this community that had given me so much. So I got my two best friends together along with the WE Team and we decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to bring attention to the drought. We raised half a million dollars that provided clean water to 12,500 people for life in the WE Villages' communities in Kenya.
What does the future hold for WE?
We recently decided to unify all our work under one name: WE (formerly Free the Children). We believe that we will now be better equipped to follow through on our vision to change the world.
Supporting WE Charity
Last July, our dedicated fundraising team began working towards our £50,000 target for WE Charity through a variety of activities. The money we raise will go to projects supporting the village of Kalthana in rural Rajasthan, including the building of a new community health center. While the center has now been constructed, ongoing work is still needed to get it fully up and running. To date, we’ve raised a total of £30,000, and our support will continue all throughout this year.