For the one
Big Love was set up one year ago following five visits to Southern Romania from 2014 – 2019. Big Love was formed following a particularly significant trip in 2018 . We were stood on a mud track with our three small kids. Amongst the huge pile of rubbish and stray dogs, were children, the same age as ours. These little ones had no shoes, little clothing and were looking through the huge pile of rubbish. Our two older kids played on the path with a few of the local kids as we held our youngest daughters chubby, well-fed hand. An uncomfortable question started to form… “God, how can this be their story?”
The injustice felt wrong, and the feeling of needing to do something would not leave us.
Unicef Photographer Simon Lister says, “People can only really care about the things they know about.” We believe everyone has something to offer the world. For us it started on a mud track in Romania, once we knew about it, we cared about it; once we cared about it, we had to do something about it.
As we have developed and built relationship with businesses over this year, these have been key to helping us deliver football kits, educational equipment, healthcare goods to our family and partners Outstretched Hands, in Romania.
The story of living ‘for the one’ began a few months ago. A beautiful girl we had watched grow up from 9 to now being 14 was beginning to pull back from friendships in her local church. She was leaving meetings early, applying make up and an older woman was giving her prompts when to leave the church meetings. Thankfully the charity we work closely with in Romania called Outstretched Hands, started to see these signs and established this young girl was in the early stages of being groomed for prostitution.
No child should be forced into a horrendous situation where the only hope to better their life or those of their family is to sell their innocence and have their body used. That is not the story for any kid, yet time and time again we hear stories that are full of injustice and unfairness. These can leave us with an overwhelming sense of helplessness by the circumstances people can find themselves in. We can feel overwhelmed and debilitated at the enormity of the task. The only way to tackle the enormity is to start with helping one person, then another.
We simply cannot meet every need, but we knew we could meet the need of this one young girl. On a monthly basis, we have financed education and regular engagement that keeps her safe. The dream for us as a charity moving forward is to create safe houses where young people have a place of safety. We see them supported by a team of carers to educate and protect them from those who would want to abuse, neglect or take advantage of. We start with the one and hope she will be one of the pioneers to reach out and support her peers from being exploited. The work will never stop until everyone is safe, so we have plenty of work ahead!
Since last year Big Love has sent over 30 boxes of resource to Romania. Working with local schools, businesses and football clubs in the UK, Big Love has been able to help meet clear and identified need which can be found on our website.
Our four key principles are to; Restore, Repair, Revive & Transform. The team regularly visit Romania and will take teams out in the future. If you are interested please get in touch, we’d love you to join the ever growing table.
About the founders
Stu & Emm Alleway have been married for close to 15 years and have three children.
Stu, serves as the Community Pastor at Skylark Church in Chelmsford, Essex where he has worked for over 10 years. Part of his role sees him serve as Chaplain to Southend United where after 6 years he is still waiting for a playing contract! Stu loves connecting with people from all backgrounds and is passionate about people seeing and recognising their worth, value and potential. He developed a self-esteem course for teenage boys which is delivered to schools across his home city and alongside sport and supporting Chelsea, he loves spending time with family and friends.
Emm studied Pastoral Care and Leadership at Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney Australia, Emm has worked with young people for over 20 years. She is currently a lead schools worker and mentoring and strongly believes that people can help others rewrite stories with care, resources and passion. She has served on church leadership teams, is a regular public speaker and has been part of numerous mission teams to Romania. In her spare time she enjoys running, baking, family time, coffee with friends, long walks on the beach and the odd bit of kick boxing.