How it all began

How we started

The start of HHI

Our founder and patron Ron Prosser has always had a concern for the poorest people in the world.  His first foray into the the world of international aid and fundraising was to form a group of people who clubbed together to sponsor a child in the developing world.

Later on he became involved with the International Children's Trust in India.  One evening in 1994 he looked out of the window of his comfortable hotel in Chennai (Madras), to see young children bedding down on the street outside - but not before they had been relieved of much of the money that they had begged during the day by a senior beggar.  And God spoke to him.

That night Ron became ill, and ended up in hospital.  As is usual in India, he needed a bystander - someone to look after him in the hospital - and this was provided for him by the local boys' hostel that he was working with at the time.  In gratitude for the help that they had given him, Ron determined that, on his return to the UK, he would raise £1,000 to provide a really good television for the hostel.  He raised this money - and more.

Then in 1997 a most extraordinary event occurred.  One day, Ron came back to his home in Newport to find a brown paper parcel on the step, left by the postman. He wasn't expecting anything, but when he opened it he found an All Bran box inside.  And inside the All Bran box were bundles of £ notes - £12,025 in all - and a cryptic note saying "For church, for chapel, for Newport, for India.".  Having checked that the money was legit, he distributed it as instructed.  To this day we do not know who gave him the money.

Later that year, Ron was in Zambia, in a mud hut at Luansobe in the Zambian bush.  "You are the answer to our prayers" he was told, "we want you to find us a doctor".  The local health clinic, Mpongwe Mission Hospital, had no doctor and no medicines.

On his return, Ron advertised for a doctor - no real salary, just a real need.  And a Dutch couple, Wim de Lange and Marieke Largo, answered the call.  Ron promised them their air fares, £1,000 a year living expenses, and a supply of medicines.  To fund this, Health Help International (HHI) was born in 1999.

And the rest, as they say, is history.  From these humble beginnings HHI has grown into a substantial charity.  But we retain our ethos of running entirely with volunteer labour in the UK so as to maximise the money that is sent out to support our work overseas.  All these projects are suggested by local people, and are carried out in co-operation with them.  Some we have started from scratch, others have been started by our overseas partners and we have come on board later, providing financial assistance and other help so as to help them continue, run better and expand.