03 April 2019

“I have been in hundreds of orphanages around the world, in none of them have I found love.” Hope and Homes for Children’s Founder, Mark Cook on BBC Radio Wiltshire with Nick Hewer

Mark and Caroline Cook, Hope and Homes for Children’s founders, in Sarajevo

Hope and Homes for Children’s founder Mark Cook, yesterday interviewed for BBC Radio Wiltshire, tells us the history of the charity he and his wife Caroline founded 25 years ago. “Hope and Homes for Children is today a recognised international charity, working to reform child care systems around the world… and we started in a farm in Wiltshire!”

Nick Hewer, best known as Lord Sugar’s right hand man on The Apprentice, took over BBC Radio Wiltshire yesterday morning as part of the station’s 30th birthday celebrations. This June marks Nick’s 10 year anniversary as patron for Hope and Homes for Children. Over the years he has visited several of our overseas projects in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa, presented fundraising films and helped to spread awareness of our work to end institutional care through the media.

Interviewed for the programme, Hope and Homes for Children’s Founder, Mark Cook, explains how he and his wife, Caroline started the charity in Wiltshire 25 years ago.

“Caroline and I started the charity as a result of my experience as a British Army officer during the Balkan war. Back then, we saw so many children being orphaned and abandoned. That’s how I decided to leave the army to repair and build orphanages for those children.

One day, (I was in Sudan actually), I met a little boy in the street, and I asked him a simple question: “What do you want the most?” and he replied, “I want a family, a home.” I asked a second, crucial question: “What do you think a family and a home are like?” His simple and direct answer was about to change completely the course of my history. He replied, “Love.”

Mark went on to explain, “That’s how Hope and Homes for Children changed its mission from building and repairing orphanages, to getting children into loving families. Most of the children who are classified as orphans are not orphans; it is estimated that 80% of children in orphanages have living relatives. I have been in hundreds of orphanages around the world, and in none of them have I found love.”

Hope and Homes for Children celebrates its 25th anniversary this year: a major milestone marking 25 years of projects in Africa, Europe, South America, India and Nepal.

Mark Cook in Romania

When he is asked how such an impressive milestone feels, Mark replies, “Surprising! In the beginning we did not know what we were doing, we were just motivated by the love Caroline and I have for children. We, ourselves, adopted a child. Hope and Homes for Children is today a recognised international charity, working to reform child care systems around the world… and we started in a farm in Wiltshire!”

To listen to the entire interview on BBC sound follow this link (skip to 2hrs 29mins)

Follow this link to read more about Hope and Homes for Children’s story.