We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Cloar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Christine and I have conducted mission trips to Kenya for many years now. On one particular trip, we visited a school for children with special needs and disabilities. To call it, a school is being generous. Christine is a Ph.D. in special needs leadership, and I am completing mine in cross-cultural service implementation. When we began to research what life is like for children with special needs in developing countries, we were heartbroken. It moved us to change things. We founded UnFinished International to make changes in these children’s lives who, at best, face horrible discrimination, and at worst, are not even allowed to live if they are born with a disability.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
UnFinished International is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that seeks to restore hope to children in impoverished areas with special needs and disabilities, their families, and society through education, empowerment, sustainability, development, and love. We are most proud of the changes we have made in the lives of our kids. For the first time, we have sent kids to school, rescued girls from dangerous environments, and seen amazing things happen. One of our girls, Anne, went from a life in the village with no hope, to singing the national anthem of Kenya for their President. It is not easy. Many people have no idea where Kenya even is on a map. When you try to talk to people about disability, the image they have in their minds is what disability is like in America. They don’t envision a culture filled with stigma and cultural disdain for children with disabilities. It’s difficult to explain to people we are literally saving lives in some cases. We’ve been able to overcome some of these challenges through some of our partnerships. It helps when people have a relationship with those asking for help. The biggest lesson we’ve learned is to be good stewards of every dime entrusted to us. COVID hit the nonprofit world hard. Because we do not have overhead like payroll and such, we have been able to weather the pandemic well. This was important as COVID was hard in developing countries. That’s what I would want the world to know about us. That all the support we receive goes directly to the cause. As bad as it is here with COVID and other things, it could be worse. Also, so little does so much. $5 here buys an entire uniform for a kid. $600 sends them to school for a whole year. It’s easy to make the world a better place if you plant your seed in good ground.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All we do is by the blessing of others. Since we are a nonprofit organization, we rely on the support of incredible people and organizations who give their time, resources, and money to change our kids’ lives. One of our biggest supporters and encouragers is Daniel Williams and his team at Thru the Roof with Houston’s First. They have supported and believed in us like few others. The rest of our support really comes through family and friends. Their involvement is proof that a grassroots project and indeed be international and make changes around the world. As we are 100% volunteer with no paid staff, it would be remiss to not celebrate the many volunteers who have made all of this possible.