African adventure in aid of orphans is life-changing experience for tech entrepreneur

“Scott Smyth at the All As One Orphanage, Sierra Leone”
London-based technology director reveals why recent aid trip to West Africa has been a life-changing experience.

Scott Smyth, 32, embarked on a trek to the impoverished west-African nations of Sierra Leone and Liberia recently. Initially, the trip involved Scott travelling 3,065 miles to Sierra Leone with his brother Carnegie Smyth, 34, to deliver clothes, toys, vitamins and essential items to a children’s orphanage in the capital Freetown.

Ironically, out of the six suitcases the brothers travelled with, the five containing gifts for the orphans arrived unscathed while the remaining suitcase containing the brothers’ clothes, toiletries and medicines never arrived and has only recently been discovered in Brussels. Prior to the trip, Scott, who is Chief Commercial Officer of Pivotal iQ, one of London’s fastest growing technology companies, asked friends and family to donate various items which while in abundance and relatively cheap in Europe are luxurious necessity items in two of the poorest countries in West Africa.

Explaining why the trip had personal connotations for him Scott said, “I am proud to say that my sister adopted two of her daughters from West Africa, Nahla from Sierra Leone and McKenzie from Liberia. Ever since both girls were adopted, my sister and mother have been hugely influential in the lives of small communities in both countries. The first stop for me was Sierra Leone to visit the orphanage in Freetown where Nahla spent the first two years of her life to meet the people without whom, she wouldn’t be alive today.”

After spending two days helping at the orphanage, Scott crossed the border into Liberia to deliver much-needed items to the family of his adopted niece, McKenzie.

“My sister and her husband bought a large plot of land and have built a big house for the local community including McKenzie’s extended biological family. Although it was intended for a single specific family, it appears the entire village now benefit from it, which of course is great because for the first time they have a proper roof over their head. Post McKenzie’s adoption, my sister researched her background and nearly five years later managed to find some of her biological family including her twin brother, Benjamin. For years, I have wanted to visit McKenzie’s birthplace and to finally meet Benjamin and it has always been on my mums and sister bucket list to have my brother and I visit so it was great to have finally achieved this.”

Leaving Africa was a bitter-sweet experience for Scott and he revealed why the trip had made an emotional impact on his life. “It was a real privilege for me to go with the girls for their first time back to their home countries. Even at their age McKenzie and Nahla realise how fortunate they are and my sister has ensured that our family spends a huge amount of time and travel giving back to their birth countries and being proud of their heritage. I personally fell in love with every child I met and was overwhelmed by their smiles and caring nature and it all just made me want to dedicate more time to supporting them in the future.”

Scott is aiming to return to both countries this year with even more items for the people who have made a huge impression on him and with whom he keeps in touch with regularly. “These people have literally nothing yet they are always positive about life and they always make me smile, especially my Liberian ‘brother’ Prince who sang happy birthday for me via the internet which was the highlight of my birthday.”

Scott’s African adventure can now be seen in a revealing documentary available to view on YouTube which he hopes will inspire other technology entrepreneurs to get involved in similar initiatives.

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