At 27, Peter Dalglish, a Stanford-educated lawyer and a son of affluence, was poised to enter the corporate world. He dreamed of owning an Alfa Romeo with a cellular phone. Instead, shocked by television images of the Ethiopian famine, he organized an airlift of food and medical supplies to the starving African nation. His encounter in 1984 with refugees from Somalia who had staggered into the feeding centres along the Ethiopian border, emaciated and destitute, scared him for life. Dalglish returned to Canada and informed the senior partners of his law firm that he was giving up law to pursue a career working alongside some of the world's poorest children. They thought he was kidding.
Fourteen years later, Peter Dalglish continues to fight on behalf of children with no voice, no vote, and no economic clout. The Courage of Children tells the story of one man who recognized that kids who had survived drought, famine and war had unique talents. What they needed was leadership and someone who believed in them.
In the Sudan, Dalglish established that country's first technical training school for street children. Pickpockets, thieves and housebreakers were transformed into carpenters, welders and electricians. The project was funded by Dalglish's friend, Bob Geldof, the Irish rock star who was the moving force behind Band-Aid and Live-Aid. In Khartoum, Dalglish began a bicycle courier service run entirely by street children. The children delivered mail to offices they had once broken into: along the way they learned the importance of discipline and hard work.
The Courage of Children speaksto all of us, reaffirming the ability of one person to make a difference. But it is also about betrayal. In stark portraits of children who have been abused and abandoned, Peter Dalglish exposes the ineptitude of governments and international agencies that have been entrusted with their care, but which have been derailed by corruption, incompetence and greed.