On March 18, 2013, Shared Interest (www.sharedinterest.org) held its 2013 Anniversary Awards Gala and singer Harry Belafonte, South Africa's pop band Freshlyground and social justice and freedom fighter, Father Michael Lapsley were the honored recipients.
Now, Shared Interest (www.sharedinterest.org) is a New York based social investment fund whose mission it is to help South African's mobilize their economically disenfranchised communities. Together, Shared Interest and Thembani International Guarantee Fund (www.thembani.org) guarantee South African bank loans to low-income communities (and their own financial institutions)to create affordable housing, businesses, jobs and other important services to support the economic and social growth of this great democratic nation.
Now, the evening's highlight was speaking with Father Michael Lapsley and learning of this inspiring story!
Father Michael Lapsley is the director of The Institute for Healing Memories in Cape Town, South Africa which also has other chapters worldwide. The Institute works with abused women who are also disabled, works with war veterans, and in Hawaii, works with women who have just been released from prison. Father Lapsley said, "that whatever happens to us in life, it will cause us to diminish or to grow. So it is important for individuals, communities and nations to fund life giving responses to the trauma which they have experienced."
Father Lapsley has been able to take his "own" personal trauma (he has sent a letter bomb in 1976 by The Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert outfit of the apartheid security forces) while living in Lesotho and speaking out against apartheid) which resulted in the loss of both of his hands and his sight in one eye) and turned that evil into good. That was done in 1998 when Father Lapsley created The Institute of Healing Memories to help heal the souls of the many wounded.
So towards the end of the interview, Father Lapsley shared this final quote which exemplifies that his heart is full of hope and compassion for those who attend his Healing of Memories Institute and that quote is, "The glory of God is a human being fully alive."
And so if you'd like to learn more about Shared Interest visit www.sharedinterest.org and to learn more about the heartfelt, compassionate work of Father Michael Lapsely visit www.healing-memories.org