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04 November, 2014

Creating images of hope (Photo: Hope in the Heart)
Creating images of hope (Photo: Hope in the Heart)
Hope in the Heart Community Interest Company (CIC) is the latest initiative to join the Initiatives of Change UK Sustainable Communities programme. Founded in Penzance in February 2013 by Tam Martin Fowles, Hope in the Heart aims to inspire people to overcome adversity, live with compassion, and understand their place in the global community.

Following a period in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Fowles experienced how Hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings) have managed to transcend the post-traumatic stress they experienced to devote their lives to peace and reconciliation for the global community.

Tam with Hiroshima survivor Hiroshi Hara and his image of Hope (Photo: Hope in the Heart)
Tam with Hiroshima survivor Hiroshi Hara and his image of Hope (Photo: Hope in the Heart)
Fowles’ visit followed many years’ work with individuals and groups recovering from crisis and trauma. During this time, she noticed how certain people do not just overcome adversity, but transcend it to live more proactive and effective lives, transforming themselves from the inside out and striving to make a difference in the wider world.

After exploring the criteria common to such people, from many different backgrounds, Tam developed The Accept Perspective, a model for transformation consisting of six stages – Acceptance, Community, Compassion, Expression, Purpose and Transcendence.

Hope in the Heart started with a creative arts project entitled What does Hope look like? Inspired by the profound vision of hope she encountered in Hiroshima upon witnessing the rebirth that had taken place there, Tam began to facilitate diverse groups of people to identify and then create images of what hope looks like to them. Hearing stories of Exceptional Survivors globally, and focusing on what it is in the human spirit that brings us through our darkest times to a place of renewed hope and transformation, participants contribute the images to an anonymous collection to be used as a resource to inspire the spark of hope where it is needed.

So far, the collection has had a profound impact on many who have created images as well as those who have viewed them.

Discovering their image of hope provides participants with a resource that can be drawn upon again and again in times of need. Anonymously contributing it to the collection, in the knowledge that it may inspire and make a difference to unknown strangers, is an unconditional act of generosity that includes them in a diverse community linked by empathy, trust and creativity. All these factors can be powerfully moving and healing.

The workshops have evolved to include a creative writing element, and been renamed Images of Hope, Words of Compassion. They are offered throughout the UK and internationally, and are successful with groups including disadvantaged young people, those with mental health problems and anyone seeking positive change in their lives.

In the past year, Hope in the Heart has grown to incorporate young volunteers Fenna Martin  and Sophie Coxon.

Sophie and Fenna with Jessy, Child of Mercy Orphanage Manager (Photo: Hope in the Heart)
Sophie and Fenna with Jessy, Child of Mercy Orphanage Manager (Photo: Hope in the Heart)
After volunteering at an orphanage in Kenya during summer of 2013, Martin and Coxon founded Hope in Mombasa, a project to raise awareness of how children and young people live in the Likoni slums, and how this awareness can inspire us to change our attitudes in the affluent West. They have recently begun work on a project that will take them, and Fowles, to Cape Town and Botswana in 2015 to expand on their theme and inspire other young people to 'make a difference' through widening their horizons and striving for positive change within and beyond themselves.

Fowles and Takako Barker, a volunteer, offer presentations and workshops nationally entitled Hope in Hiroshima. These tell the stories of Hibakusha, with whom Fowles worked with while in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and their united message of peace and reconciliation.
Hope in the Heart is the lead organisation for The Compassionate Cornwall Initiative. Their activities are:

Facilitate personal change for a richer, happier life
Our workshops and courses seek to improve mental, emotional and spiritual well-being by illustrating the remarkable capacity of the human spirit to triumph over adversity, helping participants to embrace their own potential and be happy and effective in the world.

The Hope in the Heart team (Photo: Carl Wakfer)
The Hope in the Heart team (Photo: Carl Wakfer)

Challenge attitudes that set people apart
We challenge discrimination and celebrate humanity’s rich diversity, common challenges and virtues. We encourage participants to recognise and value the essential goals of personal transformation, global compassion, equality, justice and respect for the world and all its inhabitants.

Demonstrate and celebrate positive change
We identify, highlight and connect with positive change taking place individually and globally, and the 'ordinary people behind the change, thus challenging the frequent media-fuelled perception of the world as a dark and hopeless place.

Inspire participants to take positive action to be part of the change
We empower participants to remember that this is their world, realise they can be part of the international community uniting to make a positive difference, and take action to begin.

By the Hope in the Heart team

For more information, please go to:  

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