A Chat with Annabelle Chauncy

Who YOU are

“Annabelle Chauncy OAM, Founder and CEO of School for Life.”

What YOU do 

“We build schools in Uganda, one of the poorest nations on Earth. Uganda is experiencing an education crisis, only three in ten children finish primary school, and 50% of Uganda's population (38 million people) is aged under 14 years. We educate children, employ Ugandans, empower women and encourage community-led change... 

We currently have 2 schools across 2 campuses with 560 students, providing them 3 nutritious meals every day and a teacher:student ratio of 1:20, we provide health clinics on both campuses, clean water sources for more than 2000 people, employ 120 staff (95% of whom are Uganda), conduct adult literacy and vocational training programs... and we are about to embark on construction of our third school! Across the 3, we will provide education to more than 1600 students.”

Why YOU do it 

“I believe every single child in the world has a right to be educated, no matter where they are born. I'm passionate about helping others, serving the community, and creating a sustainable model of education where 50% of the running costs of schools in developing nations are funded by community-led projects including agriculture, tailoring and carpentry. I believe education is freedom - from poverty, from disease and from war.  

There's nothing like the resilience I see in Uganda - children who are suffering from severe hardships - lack adequate housing and sanitation, not enough food, but still turning up to school every day with giant smiles on their faces and a desire and passion for learning.”

How YOU started

“I went straight from school to Uni to study Arts/Law without taking a break. When the Arts component of my degree was complete, I took 6 months off to go to Kenya to teach English to children. When Kenya erupted into a civil war I was evacuated across the border into Uganda, and I decided to build a school there. I was 21, naive, but determined, and I didn't stop until my dream became a reality. We have now built two schools and currently educate 560 children.” 

Who YOU look up to

“I couldn't have achieved all I have without a strong passionate Board and mentors. Professor Nadia Badawi AM mentors me. She is a Neo-Natologist at the Grace Centre for Newborns as well as splitting her time at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Despite being so busy with two jobs, she has always made so much time to mentor, counsel and guides me. She is the most intelligent, disciplined and hard working woman who is changing the lives of so many around her. Her generosity is incredible.

My parents have the most remarkable work ethics and they instilled in me an understanding that you have to work hard to be successful. They value education more than anything and made a lot of sacrifices to give me amazing education opportunities.”

What YOU want to say 

“If you have the capacity, make sure you incorporate a giving program into your life - for example, child sponsorship gives a child three meals a day, a quality education and clean water - anyone can make a huge difference to people's lives, even from the comfort of their living room. We believe that change begins at home, and if you believe in the transformative power of education, we'd love you to join our movement to see every single child in the world receive a quality education. Education is a life changing gift that cannot be taken away from someone.”

www.schoolforlife.org.au | @schoolforlife 

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