Michael Branwell – Honorary Chairman, IPAT
IPAT has been the greatest success story of my life – and there is so much more to do. We have already achieved far more that I thought possible, when we made our first tentative steps, fourteen years ago, towards a charity to help artistes in need throughout the world.
There people alive who would otherwise be dead; there are performers who now have hope who might have given up completely; there are musicians who might have had nothing more to look forward to than mutilation and begging who are still keeping their national traditions alive; there are HIV positive performers who are not only alive but also educating audiences about the dangers of AIDS; there are performers who would have despaired without the help, love and encouragement IPAT provides. I am surprised, delighted and amazed at how much this little charity has achieved in fifteen short years.
There is nothing else like IPAT in the world. We are unique – needed, necessary and loved.
“You cannot bring dark into light”, to paraphrase the Jewish prophet, Isaiah: one can only bring light into darkness. That is what IPAT has achieved.
In our own quiet way, we have brought little candles of hope into some of the darkest parts of the world: the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, war-torn Chechnya, El Salvador in the aftermath of the Civil War; Jos in Nairobi, on the border between the so-called Muslim and Christian communities and Cambodia, where we are helping to keep the oldest surviving dance drama tradition in the world alive, despite the worst efforts of Pol Pot and that obscene regime.
To quote one of our beneficiaries “We thank you all for make us believe that no matter how distant we are, all of us walk in the same direction, towards a…world climate in which, selfishness and greed makes it sometimes so hard to believe in. We say thank you all to help us to believe.”
That is what IPAT means to me.
Honorary Chairman, International Performers Aid Trust