Life is a learning process and a journey that can end at any moment.
Undoubtedly, sharing and caring, seeking knowledge and learning life skills and experiences are important for people to survive.
Learning from people of different cultures widens our horizon and makes us good global citizens caring for others and sharing with them without differences of faith, race and colour.
A few days before Christmas, my wife, our son Faisal and I were invited to lunch by Diane and David Broderick to their house in Himatangi Beach (about 25 kms from Palmerston North). It was a great opportunity to meet a wonderful couple who have brought comfort and solace to children for almost 35 years.
They have been fostering children for the Department of Child, Youth & Family.
Two years ago, the government honoured them with the Queen’s Service Medal (New Year Honours List 2013) for service to the community. They richly deserved the recognition.
The Broderick couple started adopting children from 1979 to fill their home with joy and happy children. They have so far cared for 153 children, apart from raising their own three children.
Most of the children are with them for only a short time until they go to a permanent home, but some stay for longer, including David Sullivan, 19, who came to them when he was a baby.
Mrs Broderick trained as a paediatric nurse, enabling her to provide the care required for babies with health issues.
“We wanted to bring stability and love to children traumatised by circumstances. We will continue our journey with such children since we are in good health, spirits and energy. With the help and support of family and friends, we have a number of the foster families supporting one another,” Mr Broderick said.
The couple helped to establish the Open Home Foundation in Wanganui in 1983 and Palmerston North in 1985. The Foundation helps in managing the Manawatu
Foster Care Association.
They have also established a health clinic, a playground and a Girl’s Brigade in the beachside village, with coaches for children keen on participating in Para Olympics.
In a materialistic world which is getting poorer by uncaring people, Dianne and David are refreshingly different.
The Muslim World
Children are among the worst victims ravaged by wars and terrorist attacks in the Muslim world, especially in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Rich Arab investors and charitable institutions would do well to follow the example of the Broderick family.
Humanity is in crisis politically, economically, financially and socially.
Almighty Allah wants all human beings, including Muslims and Non-Muslims to know each other and cooperate in righteous ways to cement closer relationship.
What makes a relationship continues is mutual trust, respect of cultures, hard work and learning from one another to achieve economic prosperity and peace for all.
Dr Saad Al-Harran is a specialist in Islamic Microfinance Enterprise and a former Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Business, University of Brunei Darussalam. He has a doctorate (PhD) in Economics from Durham University (UK). He now lives in Palmerston North. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org