For Richard Human, hearing the phrase ‘Breaking the Mould’ made him think, instantly, of his parents, Jill and Joe, and the life they have led over the last fifty
years. A life that could be described as being “ahead of their time”. A life
based on taking small steps but achieving great things.

A True Story

Born during the Second World War in rural Cambridgeshire, Joe, the second son of a
carpenter and stay at home mother, was the first in his family to attend university. Aged 24, and having qualified as a secondary school teacher, Joe decided to leave England and move to a small town at the foot of Mount Kenya to teach geography at the High School for Boys in Nyeri.

Whilst in Kenya, Joe wrote to Jill and asked her to marry him. Jill, the third and youngest child of village shopkeepers, was working as a scientific assistant in Cambridge at the time, accepted and flew out to Kenya alone where they were married. Soon after, they started a family and over the next six years became the proud parents of three, very different, boys.

Eventually, after leaving Kenya and moving to Papua New Guinea, the family returned to Cambridgeshire. Back in Britain Joe changed careers and left teaching to work with an NGO, and in 2009, was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to Oxfam and Fair Trade.


‘The Good Life’

Both funny and poignant, Richard will share with us some of the decisions his parents made, and the lessons he learnt as both a boy and teenager, as the Human family sought to reduce their impact on our world. Some of the life choices Jill and Joe made fifty-years-ago will resonate with many of us today, as they are the life choices that we are all being encouraged to make.

In the 1960s Jill and Joe decided to become vegetarians, they grew their own organic food, and equipped their home with solar panels in the 1970s and 1980s. Shunning consumerism, they chose to live without a car, phone or television. They bought second-hand clothes for their children. Jill and Joe have spent a lifetime motivated by kindness and compassion towards others. They have lived a good life. Richard will take us inside the Human household, and share some of the highs and lows of living with a couple who were unafraid to break the mould!

The Next Generation

Richard Human has worked at the British School in the Netherlands’ now for the last eight years, as both a teacher and senior leader at Junior School Leidschenveen. Before joining us, Richard worked as a documentary photographer and journalist in Africa, Asia and South America. Now grown up, he is a father, husband and student.

As a teacher and a leader, Richard is motivated to serve his students and community to the best of his ability. Richard is always striving to learn and improve on his expertise, and completed his MBA in Education Leadership (International) at the Institute of Education (2019). He is also a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching (2018). Richard would like to stay at the BSN for many years to come.


World Food Day

If you are inspired by Joe and Jill’s self-sufficient lifestyle, and Richard’s story you will be interested to know that on 16 October 2019 the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations will organise collective action across 150 countries for World Food Day. The Food and Agriculture organisation promotes worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all. #WorldFoodDay


Richard’s TEDx talk

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