Refugee to riches story from Ram
Former London mayoral candidate and chief executive of a major UK business, Ram Gidoomal CBE
, was the guest speaker at a high-profile dinner in Norwich in April 2006.
Ram spoke to an audience of 170 which included the chairman and chief executive of Norfolk County Council, Lord Mayor Councillor Michael Banham, the Chief Constable and Deputy Chief of Norfolk Police, the Bishop of Norwich and many other senior church figures from around the city, at the Sprowston Manor Hotel near Norwich.
Ram told the audience how his family fled from Pakistan and went to East Africa where he was born. They lost everything there as refugees from dictator Idi Amin’s Ugandan regime. They fled to London where they opened a corner shop in Shepherd’s Bush which through hard work and seeing niches in the market, they turned into a chain of shops.
It was when he was studying at Imperial College that Ram first started thinking about Christianity: “I started to rethink my whole outlook on life,” he said.
“I had done lots of bad things and felt spiritually and morally bankrupt,” said Ram. “But here was Jesus offering to take all the bad Karma away if I was just prepared to surrender to him.
“The scales fell from my eyes and I put all my prejudices about this white Imperial religion aside,” he said. “It has made such a huge difference to me.”
Ram went on to become UK group chief executive of a multinational business, and was made a CBE in 1998 for services to the Asian Business Community and Race Relations.
He was a founder trustee and chairman of the Christmas Cracker charity, which has raised over £5 million for projects in developing countries and is the author of several books including The UK Maharajahs and The British and how to deal with them: Doing business with Britain's Ethnic Communities.
In 1990 Ram was asked to run for London Mayor on behalf of the Christian People’s Alliance. He was eventually beaten by Ken Livingstone.
“Whatever you view of Jesus is, I would ask you to think very carefully about him,” said Ram. “It can make a great difference to your life if you have a relationship with him.”
The audience also heard from ex-lager lout and now an Eastern Daily Press reporter, Steve Downes who became a Christian after God healed his unborn baby.
“I just used to live for the weekend, for drink, drugs and one-night stands,” said Steve. “Becoming a Christian was the best decision I ever made.”
John Betts, chairman of Transforming Norwich, who helping to organise the event, said: “The concept of the County Towns Initiative is to convey to local decision-makers the life and society changing results that come from a personal faith in Jesus Christ.”
Story by Keith Morris
Pictured above is Ram Gidoomal at Sprowston manor in Norwich. (picture by Kevin Gotts)
You can hear Ram's story, told by himself when he visited Norwich, by clicking on the link at the top. Audio clip supplied by firstname.lastname@example.org