Autumn is in full swing here in the UK as we reflect on a busy summer at EDULIFE. We were sad to see our wonderful Chairperson, Cathy Wheatley, step down at the end of August. She has steered the ship since the end of 2016, and seen us through a lot of transition, change and growth. We couldn’t be more grateful for the time, energy, and enthusiasm that she has put in. She’s done a fantastic job and leaves some big shoes to fill! Happily, she will continue in her role as EDULIFE’s Programme Lead so we are not losing her fully. Cathy is succeeded by Mo Dabbas, who joined us in September and brings considerable experience in fundraising. You’ll find a Q&A with Mo later on in the newsletter.

Photo of students at the EDULIFE student day

EDULIFE Student Day

In September, we were pleased to be able to hold our student day in person for the first time since 2019. 28 of our school and university students, and alumni, gathered at St Edmunds Secondary School in Mazabuka. The day was a great opportunity for past and present students to get together with our Zambia Committee and share lunch. One of the benefits of being a smaller charity is that we are able to build more personal connections with the young people we support, and our student day is a great chance for us to get to know our students, and for them to meet some of our team. Our Zambian lead, Seb, did a great job collecting plenty of updates which we will be sharing on social media over the coming weeks. Make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook so you don’t miss out.

Photo of the fundraising team at Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder

Rounding off the summer, our Fundraising Lead Tony and a group of friends took on Tough Mudder. This is a challenging 5k obstacle course, featuring mud, freezing cold water and electricity, making the monkey bars, rope swings and vertical walls even more difficult to conquer. The entire team absolutely smashed it and even managed to make it look like fun! There were few aches and pains the next day but we hope these were eased by the knowledge that their efforts raised over £4000 for EDULIFE. This will go toward our work to enable children and young people in Zambia to access education.

Photo of Mo

Meet the Chair of Trustees!

We sat down with our new Chair of Trustees, Mo Dabbas, to get to know him a bit better and find out about some of his plans for EDULIFE. He has some big ambitions, so make sure you subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date with our developments. There are lots of exciting things to come!

Hi Mo, Welcome to EDULIFE! It’s great to have you on board. First of all, could you tell our supporters a little bit about yourself?

I am an international nomad that has lived in over four countries across the Middle East & Europe. Supporting charities is in my DNA and I have been doing so since the age of 10. I started off my career at a local NGO in Jordan, moved on to Consulting with Ernst & Young, and now work as Chief of Staff at a start-up digital bank that is revolutionising the banking sector in underserved economies. I am currently working across multiple markets and sectors, making me somewhat a strategy guru that is responsible for everyday business functions and ensuring alignment between corporate objectives and missions.

What made you want to be a part of EDULIFE?

Education! Nothing is more important than our younger generations receiving a minimum standard of education. Generations and years have gone by, yet the world still faces a significant educational gap. Zambia is a prime example of restricted access to education, and I strongly believe that EDULIFE can make an impact on the lives of many Zambia’s youth.

What do you do for fun?

Long quiet walks or drives that keep my mind away from my day-to-day. It doesn’t sound fun, but it brings me closer to happiness! When possible, I travel to new countries and different parts of the world – this may sound cliché, but there is no better education than travelling. 30 countries and counting!

What is the best fundraising challenge you have ever been involved in?

The best fundraising challenge I was involved in was in 2010, running after large corporates for USD10,000 to build orphanages and libraries in Nepal. First, I contacted the corporate. Second, I chased the corporate for at least three weeks. Third, I committed the corporate to a USD10,000 donation. Fourth, I trekked for 20 days to Mount Everest Base Camp. Finally, I planted the flags of each corporate 5300 metres above sea level.

What do you hope to achieve as Chair of EDULIFE?

As Chairman, I would like to create impactful and sustainable partnerships with large corporates and donors regionally and globally to scale the impact EDULIFE has on Zambia’s communities today, and in the future. The importance of creating sustainable partnership models plays an important role in creating a sense of stability not just for EDULIFE as a charity, but for the youth supported by EDULIFE’s programmes.

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