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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Thursday's Connector: John Pedley

April 2nd, 2010
03:29 PM ET

Would you be like John Pedley and give up millions of dollars to live a basic lifestyle helping disadvantaged people in Africa?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/05/pedley.blog.jpg
caption="What do you want to ask John Pedley?"]

For most people, the answer would probably be no.

For British businessman though, he's preparing to sell off all his worldly possessions for a much simpler life helping those less fortunate than him. .

Pedley has put his $1.5 million country home on the market and is also selling his Range Rover worth more than $100,000.

The 41-year-old is heading to Uganda to start a charity focused on improving the community by developing better health, water and education facilities.

What would you ask John Pedley - millionaire turned philanthropist?

Why would he give up his millions? Did something in his life force him to make a change? What does he hope to achieve?

Please leave your comments below and be sure to include where you're writing from.

soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. joann

    I wish I was where he is in his heart and soul. However, material things still has control of my life.

    I know that my life would be easier and more peaceful, if my reliance on materials things did not control me, but I don't know how to live without the man made things.

    I saw a grown man cry at the lost of his home and material possessions from the flood, yesterday. That could so easily be me, I wish I too,could live, free of this materiialistic, world.

    Just think of the freedom, surving as we should, from the gifts of this earth, giving back to the earth by loving what is most dear, people, life, this earth. We don't appreciate the gifts , so the earth is taking them back, along with the crap that we hold precious.

    April 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  2. Marie

    Dear Mr. Pedley,

    I salute you. You are doing something that I've always dream of doing but lack the courage to do. Please remember that you are a mortal so take care of your self as well.


    April 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  3. Jay

    You're a good man John. I hope you make a difference over there.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  4. sonny

    thank you, your act provides much needed strength, more of you needed..

    April 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  5. M in Canada

    Kudos! After having most things of sentimental value lost in a home-invasion and then working in Mississippi doing Katrina relief, I became very anti-consumption, anti-"stuff," etc. We built a small house, try to be conscious about wants v. needs, etc. But, unfortunately, I'm not prepared to impose a more "life encompassing" move on my child. We're doing what we can to raise him with the "right" values (e.g., instead of birthday gifts he requested items to donate to the humane society), but I'm not prepared to ask him to give up his Wii! Then there's the issue of having to live a certain life to earn a certain living to pay off certain debt – that is, primarily student debt, not consumer credit. Maybe in retirement? I think it's much easier for someone of privilege to make this move, but it is still to be admired. Congratulations and good luck!

    April 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  6. theguyharvey

    Good one John. I recently sold my car and just walk and bike because I ran out of money. I have also been asked to leave my apartment. I feel really good and confident that new things are coming but letting go has been a good experience. I had close to a million dollars a few years. It comes and go, in the end all you have is your breath. You can't take any of it with you.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  7. Katie Mc

    John, you're an inspiration to humanity. It is so important to live beneath our means and sustainably in order that all might live with dignity.
    What motivated your mid-life conversion?

    April 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  8. Ryan

    This reminds me of the story of Millard Fuller, who was a self-made millionaire who dramatically sold his home, business, and car to dedicate his life to Christian service for others in the 1960's. People thought he was crazy, of course, but his path led him to to found Habitat for Humanity and The Fuller Center for Housing.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  9. Roland

    I know the joy you are experiencing by your decision. My wife and I have done similar things although on a tiny scale compared to yours. It is a wonderful feeling. We also support Kiva which is a micro loan group which assists the less fortunate. I wish there were more people like you
    John. Certainly there is more than enough wealth among the top 5%
    to share with the less fortunate.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  10. Marcellus Probus

    It is the sharing that really matters-"To give and not to count the cost".

    It is not so much what you own,but it is more what you can give to help others.

    April 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  11. felix sabiniano

    that is very noble thing to do. to give up your luxurious life in order to help the other. it will be difficult but the joy of knowing you are helping others is priceless than gold. may god bless you and keep you and give you courage and strength as you go this less traveled path.

    April 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  12. Lydia Dean

    I love the leap of faith... hats off John. I started a company http://www.GoPhilanthropic.com to help others be active and engaged philanthropists too. Not everybody feels ready to take the immense jump that John is taking... (or tha $ to di it) so we help them take the baby steps first – to go, visit, learn and engage with education, microfinance, health and education projects in Uganda..central American and all over Asia. While funding these great projects is important...the dollar amount is never at the heart of a true philanthropist and never the power behind real goodness ... The importance behind philanthropy is the connection between people. What we should all learn from what John is doing is "the get up and go part"....and the heart behind it. Good luck John!

    April 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  13. alfred curmi EUROPE Malta Central Meditteranean

    Weell done JOHN ! Congratulations.

    I only hope that since the world – thank GOD – nowadays holds MILLIONS of MILLIONAIRES they copy your work. NOT necessarily giving away ALL their MILLIONS – BUT if they, say most of them give out of generosity and gratitude to the same consumers who gave them such BIG wealth ! they can donate say 10 / 15 % of ALL their wealth, which is made in one BIG DONATION FUND (SAY LIKE BILL & MELINDA GATES, ETC, HAVE DONE ALREADY) IMMAGINE HOW MUCH GOOD AND LOVE CAN BE CREATED IN OUR DISULLUSIONED WORLD.






    April 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  14. Danielle

    Reading his story reminds me of the scripture verse in Matthew 4:20 "And they straightway left their nets, and followed him." I believe that when a person is filled supernaturally (from above) with the love and compassion of Jesus, they have a fervent desire to give and be given for other people, especially the despondent both in spirit and in body. This is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. It would be very interesting to read/hear more of his testimony for the reason of his motivation.

    April 5, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  15. Tracy

    This is really a double gift: not just the money, but the personal involvement. It feels good to write a big check, but to go to Uganda to get involved in how the money is spent is truly special. God bless you!

    April 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  16. onielz

    Hats off to you Mr. John. I'm sure God's spirit is working in you to do such magnificent deed. Such act deserves lots of kudos and recognition. May your tribe increase.

    April 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  17. Thomas Lane

    My hat goes off to that man!

    April 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  18. Chuck M.

    John Pedley has seen the path out of our current predicament. If we would just value others as ourselves the results on this earth would be truly miraculous. – Chuck M.

    April 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  19. Sagar Sen

    You are great Mr. John Pedley.

    April 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  20. C.swinkler

    Motives are admirable, but why start up another charity effort instead of working with an existing organisation like World Vision International?

    April 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  21. C.swinkler

    writing from Switzerland

    April 5, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  22. Michael Argiroudis

    Dear John,

    Whatever your motivation this is the Good news of Jesus Christ.
    You are an inspiration to all of us and If there were more people like you our world would have been different !

    Take a good care of yourself John and please have in mind that it will be wise for you to hold some money for your needs. If something happens to yourself you will be alone ... because there are not many people like you nowdays .

    April 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Reply
    • Andreah

      Posted on incredible, that was a very good read. In cicolusonn, someone who actually thinks and understands what they are blogging about. Quite difficult to find of late, especially on the web . I bookmarked your web blog and will make sure to keep coming back here if this is how you always write. thank you, keep it up! .

      December 30, 2012 at 12:33 am | Reply
  23. Masud Sheikh

    Dear John, you are a great human being in this very selfish/greedy world where people like me do dream of doing something like you but dont have the guts to do so through different personal reasons. I really commend you and pray for your happiness and contentment. I can assure you that you are definitely on the RIGHT PATH and my prayers are with you. My ALLAH will reward you for your love for HIS CREATURE.

    Masud Sheikh, Manchester, UK

    April 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  24. Keira


    My question is: What was the moment that made you decide to do this? Was it something you saw or heard that made you want to change your life so drastically?

    Also, how can you get others who have made a lot of money in their life to join you in your efforts to help others? Do you have any plans to reach out to others and how?



    April 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Reply
  25. ayman allkany

    I can`t find a reason for asking him , but I can geuss why he did so.Every one in this world have two things in them , first one is the body which needs to be fed with needs of food ,work,rest ,sleep ,sex and so on.The second one is the soul inside them which nedds to be fed with feelings of faith in the GOD { WHO IN THE HEAVEN AND CREATS EVERY CREATURES IN THIS UNIVERSE AND MUST BE WORSHIPED ,ONLY HIM, BECAUSE ONLY HE CREATES AND IS AWARDEING AFTER DEATH TO THE HELL OR THE PARADISE .ONE ASKES ,IS THERE A LIFE AFTER DEATH ,I ANSWER ,ABSOLUTELY YES ,THE GOD WHO CREATED FIRST TIME CAN RECREATE ROTTEN ,ASHED BONES AGAIN } so the soul can live in happiness, satisfaction,unselfishness and so on .these needs are supposed to bring the happiness for any human beings but in one condition ,it msut be carried out within the right and bad rules.For example , if you want eat , you don`t eat stolen food ,and if you want have sex you first marry and then you can have sex with your own wife and so on.

    April 5, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  26. jesse fernandez

    "There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving"- Acts 20:34

    April 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Reply
    • Moises

      Great sample! That is extacly what I was looking for to improve the graphics of my 2d game. But the (bad) performance still remains a serious problem for me. In my game, the (scrolling)levels are much bigger as the one in the sample. Furthermore i also would like to add some more lights. I tried this within the sample and the result was like a slideshow I experienced that the most performance loss comes while drawing the shadowvertices (last lines of the DrawShadows method). Maybe merging all convexhulls shadows to one single buffer could help here. Also precalc the shadowvertices on specific events (eg. on new light, on new convexhull, on lightposition change, on convexhullposition change, on scaling light range ) instead of doing this each frame. Therefor an illumination manager class, which holds shadowvertices and manages all convexhulls and lightsources, could be helpfull. Just my thoughts. Any further ideas?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  27. OJS

    This is a great example for the Church to follow. Perhaps the Vatican will start to practice what they preach and sell of some of billions, much of which they collected from the poor, and give it back to the poor the world over!

    April 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Reply
  28. Bernardino O. Del Rosario

    John Pedley – modern day St. Francis of Assisi. May the Lord give you all the strenght and power. Holy Spirit be with you. AMEN!

    April 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  29. OJS

    This is a great example for the Church to follow. Perhaps the Vatican will start to practice what they preach and sell off some of their billions, much of which they collected from the poor, and give it back to the poor the world over!

    April 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  30. Dutch

    Go for it, Mr. Pedley. I couldn't do it, myself, but I'm glad there are people like you who can.

    April 5, 2010 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  31. Charles

    You are an inspiration to many. Good luck with your endeavors.

    From Denmark

    April 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  32. Patricia Caviezel

    Good for you John. Since the difference between the vary rich and the vary poor is getting wider and wider, it is wonderful to hear of those who have so much giving in this way to those who don't have the minimum to live a healthy life. We need more people like John to show that the most important thing in this world is not the power that money brings but empowering people to help themselves.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  33. John

    John: I salute you! How did you go about making the logistical change and get things started. I have a similar urge and am open to hearing how you and others went about initiating the transition (i.e. getting things established with foreign govt, requirements, funding, housing, etc.). If you have time I would very much appreciate your feeback and keeping in touch. God bless.

    April 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  34. syaiful

    I salute you Mr. Pedley,
    It is my dream also to do what you're doing at the moment. I'll study and work very hard for that. May God bless you and keep you well.

    April 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Reply
  35. angelita

    There are poor children in England also.

    April 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  36. Abbas

    Not everybody in this world is courageous like you John, we all love you. You are an inspiration for us, I always want to do something like you, but just working to become a millionaire first. (:-)

    Take care

    April 5, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Reply
  37. Neetu

    inspiring – i aim to get there i pray one day

    April 5, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Reply
  38. Mike

    I wish I had your heart and soul

    April 5, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  39. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello John Pedley and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from John Pedley to the following questions:
    – What is your opinion on the current situation in Uganda?
    – What must be done to really connect Uganda with the rest of the world?
    – What in Uganda do you love?
    – What can we do to help Uganda?
    – How are you inspiring people all over the world to make our world a Better Healthier and Beautiful Place?

    I am awaiting John Pedley’s replies.

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Paramaribo, Suriname

    April 5, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Reply
  40. izzo

    what made you commit to doing such good deeds

    April 6, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  41. Ibrahim Bouteraa

    I would like to know why did you travel to Uganda personally instead of just donating the money to a charity organisation?
    Was it because you did not trust any of them or just simply needed to be involved personally?
    Thank You

    April 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  42. Ibrahim Bouteraa

    Sorry i forgot
    i live in abu dhabi

    April 7, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Reply
    • Daljinder

      hassan Posted on You can name your blog on your own name like miror, one thing more, you should name it accnrdiog to your interest.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:29 am | Reply
  43. Sally

    Do you think that your current mindset will last? And if so, why are you so confident of that?

    April 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  44. shifah

    This is a great story , and wish him the best in everything.

    April 8, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  45. Jess

    Hi John WELL DONE! I hope there are more people out there like you. We all wish you all the best and give you good health and your family to continue doing this job. One day I will be doing this too hopefully when God grant me with my heart desires....God Bless :):)

    April 9, 2010 at 6:21 am | Reply
  46. Jess

    Hi Ibrahim, giving the money to charity organisations it will NEVER reach them! John is doing the right way....if he give a million dollars to the charity by the time it reaches to the poor will be NOTHING! Poor people will NEVER get it..sorry if I answered you, cheers!

    April 9, 2010 at 6:25 am | Reply
  47. James Allen

    Dear john pedley, i've been reading a few comments on here about the great thing that someone can do for people in need. John you are a great man and i will thank god for that man. John you are a very good person for the things you are doing will always be in everyones heart included mine. You have provided people with food and water John and that's what you're heart said to do. I am always reading the newpaper and read peoples buying new cars and houses just like you John but giving everything up maybe you got tired and broad with you're life?

    April 9, 2010 at 6:33 am | Reply
  48. Jess

    Hi Ibrahim, giving the money to charity organisations it will NEVER reach them! John is doing the right way....if he give a million dollars to the charity by the time it reaches to the poor will be NOTHING! Poor people will NEVER get it..sorry if I answered you, cheers!

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    April 9, 2010 at 6:44 am | Reply
  49. D Hastings

    Mr. Pedley,

    I am so happy that you found out your purpose in life. So many don't ever find it! Money is not enough! Things are not enough! A person must find their purpose in life, and fulfill it, in order to truly be fulfilled, complete, and happy. Congratulations!!! I too feel a special calling to helping the young people today. Many are so lost and disillusioned by what they see and feel in the world today. Everything seems so sinceless and meaningless to them. I visit and minister to the youth each month at our local Juvenile Hall here in California. I never tire of telling young people about their higher purpose and calling. I pray for your ministry. I believe it will benefit many young people, and set them on the right path. Be blessed in all you do...

    Delores Hastings, California

    April 10, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  50. joan and bob

    I knew eventually that you would do what you wanted and feel free. When we last spoke (joan) you were adamant that you enjoyed working abroad with people who needs were greater. Hope it goes well for you. You have the time to do this and help and enjoy your life.

    see you hopefully before you go.

    April 11, 2010 at 8:43 am | Reply
  51. Dubby & Joan Daniels

    Jesus said that who so ever wants to find (discover) him/herself must first loose (surrender) it all.
    There is no better and more fulfilling life like the one lived, putting God first, others second and self last.
    We shall take nothing with us when we exit this life on earth.
    Keep it up John, you have my full support!

    April 12, 2010 at 10:31 am | Reply
  52. Irene

    Many many thanks. I am a Ugandan, and both my parents died when I was 11. I am now 25. I understand what it means to be and grow up as an orphan in a country like Uganda. I would like to help the disadvantaged people one day too. You are such an inspiration, I know I would never compare to you!

    April 15, 2010 at 11:48 am | Reply

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