We got an opportunity to speak with Lachlan McWilliam from the Band4Hope project and we are super excited to bring you more of the story here…
Lachlan McWilliams, one truly inspirational individual, discovered Band4Hope 3 years ago whilst backpacking across Africa with his girlfriend, Lucie and dog Bow Wow. Believing they could instill hope around the world and in return give something back to the people of Africa and after a lot of hard work and dedication to the project, it took off. The copper and zinc bands, believed to have empowering properties, are all hand-made in Africa with their own ID number to allow their journey around the world to be tracked.
A very unique and original idea that has really taken off. Lachlan hopes to expand Band4Hope and really bring awareness to to how powerful a thing hope can be. Here is the spine-tingling story behind it all.
LS: What sparked Band4Hope?
LM: Three years ago, I was travelling through Africa with my girlfriend. We were searching for products to help communities through trade and came across some men in Zimbabwe who make copper wristbands. Inspired by the spirit of Ubuntu, the African belief that we are all connected, we came up with the idea of giving each band a unique ID so that they could be passed from person to person and their impact tracked online on a map. I proposed the idea to the Zim craftsmen and without hesitation they said ‘Of course we can!’. A year later our website was up and running and it’s been just over 2 years now, with a nice steady growth and everyone working as a volunteer, putting in as much time as possible.
LS: How did people find out about Band4Hope and the project?
LM: Through talking about the idea to anyone who would listen and asking lots of questions. Social media played a crucial part in getting the brand out there but equally important were the festivals that we attended all over the UK where we met people face to face, selling bands and getting feedback. We also hosted two hope inspired exhibitions in Australia, collaborating with local artists and providing thought provoking, interactive art.
LS: Do you have a particular Leadership style?
LM: I try to keep calm and maintain focus - it is very easy to be distracted. Choose your own path and see it through as far as you can. Take it one step at a time and don’t be daunted by the massive task ahead. If you want to be a leader and want people to follow your beliefs and get behind what you are trying to do, it’s important you follow other leaders and get passionate about their causes and ideas. Everyone is connected in some way. As our friends in Zimbabwe say “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together.”
LS: In bad times, what do you do?
LM: Keep loving. That’s my new motto. We might even bring out a ‘Keep Loving’ band... Everyone needs some encouragement now and then and ‘keep loving’ is a reminder of what we are here on Earth to do.
LS: Whats gets you through the day?
LM: The first thing that came to mind is my phrase, ‘Keep loving’. Haha, told you it’s what I live by. Physically what gets me through the day are plants, water and love. I believe that you don’t need anything more. Mentally the spontaneity of everyday day life keeps me going, being able to connect with others and in turn I get excited about the potential in myself and everyone around me.
LS: How do you motivate and inspire yourself and others?
LM:I listen to people and ask questions. We are all bundles of energy emitting different frequencies, therefore I believe that listening to each and every person has great potential. We all just want to be heard and most of us want to help others. Helping someone can be so simple, it can just be a smile or a chat, just listening. You have to start with yourself first, make sure you are happy and love yourself and then you will be able to help others.
LS: What brings out your dark side?
LM: I used to have a lot of anger as a teenager but I have worked on that over the years and dealt with it. Nowadays it would be money that would bring out my dark side. It is the source of a lot of our problems in society. I believe in an equal society. In South Africa there is a word, Ubuntu that means we are a community, all one, all connected and looking after each other. A universal bond of sharing that connects us all. One of the main reasons for starting Band4Hope is, Ubuntu, to remind the people that we are all one and to help others.
LS: What are you certain about?
LM: I’m certain that the world will go on and nature will go on with or without us. Our fate depends on whether we can change society to work in harmony with nature. I believe that hope can save us. Hope is not just wishful thinking, it is having vision, believing in that vision and taking action.
LS: Do you have a lucky something? Or is that a silly question to ask the creator of Band4Hope?
LM:My Band4Hope is really the only lucky thing I wear at the moment.
LS: What are the plans for the future of Band4Hope?
LM:We are hoping to upscale, the website needs updating, simplifying and we need a mobile version. We aim to look into some form of funding to help take us forward with new ideas and products. We want to collect Band4Hope stories from around the world. How has it instilled hope in you and in turn reminded you of your potential to do good in certain situations?
We feel privileged to have heard Lachlan's story and about the inspiring project - we're just so happy to be able to share it with you. Make sure you tell others too! Spread hope here >
As our friends in Zimbabwe say
Hope is contagious... pass it on
Meaning: The African belief that we are all connected
Keep in touch monthly (or even more frequently with us*).
* We promise not to virtually stalk you, it will be (at max) weekly round ups and elements that it would be rude not to tell you about...