How it all began

How it all began

Jane visiting a village in April 1981

As One World Link enters it fortieth year it is good to reflect on its early days. It was not an easy start. Many well-informed and well-intentioned people, both in the UK and in Sierra Leone, discouraged the idea of a link based purely on friendship.

Jane Knight conceived the idea of such a link after visiting West Africa in 1977, assuming that it would be welcomed by communities in both countries – it was not that simple! She has now written an Early History of One World Link describing the many twists and turns she had to negotiate before the link was established in 1981. With great frankness her daily diaries show how her spirits were frequently dashed by one person and then rekindled by another as she visited schools, hospitals and other contacts in Sierra Leone.

She found misconceptions on both sides. In Bo, for instance, “Many people I met think that England has a certain perfection because it is developed, but they really know nothing about our daily lives, the cost of living, and the loneliness that many people experience.” In the UK children asked how someone from a poor African country could be wearing a wristwatch. Above all she became more convinced of the value of personal contacts and the value of the link – and this is borne out by the healthy state of One World Link as we approach our fortieth anniversary.

You can download the Early History of One World Link here.