During his post graduate studies in Ottawa, Canada, Declan’s visiting professor was the great Austrian Neurologist, Psychiatrist and Holocaust Survivor Viktor Frankl. Frank’s insights into a person’s ability to choose happiness and positive meaning in their lives despite dire circumstances, had a huge influence on the young Declan Coyle. This was a defining moment and the start of Declan’s development of his Green Platform Principals and thinking.
When Declan left Ottawa after being awarded two Masters Degrees he was sent to work I the slums of the Philippines. Once again his experience in burying thousands of babies who had died of malnutrition related diseases proved a powerful catalyst for his belief that even in bad situations we need to identify and work towards positive change. During this time he set up the Philippines Human Development Fund which for the past 35 years has been supporting sustainable food, income and educational help to the poorest families in the Philippines. He later also lived and worked with the poor in Taiwan.
Declan spent a total of 27 years working with the Columban Fathers before leaving to marry his Australian wife Annette. They have 3 children – Genevieve, Fionn and Alexander. Alexander’s birth also had a particularly huge impact on Declan, as Alex was born with a rare genetic condition, Mowat Wilson Syndrome which means he is profoundly physically and mentally disabled. In Alexander, Declan witnessed someone who is not able to speak, is tube fed, suffers severe seizures and many other medical problems, but is still able to be happy and to bring intense joy to others.