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GW001: Help Me to Help Myself with Warren Te Brugge

My Arms Wide Open


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The My Arms Wide Open® Foundation, was established to provide support and collaboration with mothers, children, and youth in South Africa, enabling them to build sustainable communities and responsible businesses. With stronger families, communities emerge as a solid foundation for society. In the process they re-engage fathers to repair the family unit. In our definition, mothers include women who are caring for children and include child-led households, working within the pre-teen and teen groups. Fathers include the fathers, young males and adult males within the community.

Born in South Africa, Warren Te Brugge has spent most of his life traveling the world working over 30 years on 5 continents in 39 countries, gaining a deep understanding of cultures. He has learned that no matter how different every culture may be, it defines what is important by the same things: security; family; health and harmony among their peoples. Warren strongly believes in systems, and in mindfulness. My Arms Wide Open first identifies the specific needs of each community. What follows is the creation of a set of terms that both – the organisation and the people – understand. Food security and education are pressing issues in most communities.

However, there are others in which psychological factors such as self esteem and mindset need to undergo radical changes. Warren shares the effort that goes into developing a long term relationship with communities, whether it is through gardening, or changing perspectives of the locals, or setting up a business that employs more people. The key to getting people involved is to get them engaged in their own community. To connect with our own reality means to understand that our problems are not all that different. Your experiences might be similar to those of children in Africa.


~ How and Why A Simple question asked by Kyle Te Brugge in 2008, leads to the establishment of My Arms Wide Open

~ Why focus on women and children?

~ Quality trumps quantity

~ “We are not one time visitors.”

~ The importance of LISTENING to the people you serve.

~ How the transfer of skills lead to viable business

~ Two questions to a thousand people. And two very beautiful answers.

~ Peer to peer collaboration with local businesses. A SOCIAL INVESTMENT is as important as a financial one.

~ A touching story that shows the ability of a human spirit to rise above circumstance.

Plus a lot MORE….


After working for several organizations, Warren is finally taking action – and doing it for himself.

His advice is to stop thinking, and start doing. Go out and take action, and figure out the details along the way – resources and experts are always available to help.

The social sector is evolving rapidly; the needs of communities are growing. It is time to begin. It is time to take action.



Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella Meadows


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  1. September 3, 2014
  2. Uwe October 16, 2014