Hugh Hawes Tribute

A tribute to Hugh Hawes beloved teacher and mentor to our founder and director, Clare Hanbury, who died aged 85 on July 3rd, 2014.

…We met in 1988. I was doing a Masters course on Education in Developing Countries at the University of London’s Institute of Education. Hugh was running a curriculum design module there. I attended one of Hugh’s lectures. Afterwards I told him I was inspired by his ideas. He told me to go and find his orange covered book in the library. It was called, ‘Approaches to Learning and Teaching‘. I was hooked. It remains the only academic book I have read from cover to cover without stopping. It was a treasure trove full of the very ideas I wanted to learn, to absorb and to use.I told him that I need to find a way to get him to teach me more. He invited me to join a course on Curriculum Development he was running for Zambian Head Teachers; in return I had to organise their visits to various educational institutions across the country as their curriculum ‘tour guide’. From then on and as my mentor, I have never really left his side.

For 6 years, I was one of his programme officers at Child to Child and with his guidance and the collaboration of many others, we worked together to build the architecture of its approach. We danced, sang and cried side-by-side at many Child-to-Child events in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and South Africa. Before the Masters course, I had been a primary school teacher and a drama specialist and when I met Hugh I was searching for a way to transition into international development. He showed me how. He drew the map and together we walked along so many pathways.

During our time together at Child-to-Child, his network of friends and colleagues became my network of friends and colleagues. Professor David Morley – the co-founder of Child-to-Child – was another crucial influence. David died almost exactly five years before Hugh, on July 2nd, 2009. David and Hugh are the giants upon whose shoulders I stand today. David: the reason why I founded Children for Health. And Hugh, the inspiration behind every minute of the work we do.

Hugh and Friends at the Children for Health Launch, National Theatre, London. March 2013

Since learning of Hugh’s death there has been and always will be a Hugh-sized hole in my heart.

Six words sum up what Hugh inspires in me and qualified by words I imagine him saying to me:

Give: make your work the best and give all your best work away. The world gave you this work, give it back to the world.

Learn: don’t sit smugly, for the world changes, learn about these new discoveries and new ways of sharing and giving. Keep up!

Teach: many people don’t have the access you have nor the advantages you have had. Use your skills to make important ideas flow.

Think: think in the bath like me! Think! Let your mind fizz and pop and new and better ideas will come.

Dream: don’t for one second be small, be big – there is always something bigger you can do – so go there!

Love: There is no ‘them and us’, we are all together. Love people, have fun. Rejoice!

Hugh, I see you in heaven in a corner somewhere, already teaching the angels how to make their wings shine brighter and beat faster and making all those around you laugh while you do so.