I passionately believe in the transformational power of education on the lives of those less fortunate.
CEO & Founding Director, School for Life Foundation
Annabelle is a country girl who grew up on a sheep and cattle farm in Canyonleigh in the Southern Highlands, NSW. She attended small primary and secondary schools then studied at Sydney University. A visit in 2007 as part of World Youth International Overseas Service Project saw 21 year-old Annabelle spend 3 months in Kenya and Uganda, where she undertook aid work. She returned numerous times and in November 2008 to March 2009, led a volunteer school building project in Northern Uganda. Her experience led her to found School for Life Foundation (SFLF) with David Everett in 2008. Having completed her undergraduate Arts/Law degree, gaining some professional experience and meeting David, she made the decision to invest her legal knowledge in the non-profit sector and specifically SFLF.
SFLF is a not-for-profit organisation focused on making a transformational difference to the communities of emerging countries starting with Uganda through providing access to a quality education. It builds educated, sustainable, productive and profitable communities which focus on children and adults who have been denied an education.
SFLF’s pilot school, Katuuso Primary and Vocational School provides high quality education to 400 primary students including a special needs program for children with disabilities, vocational training to >100 adults through agriculture, literacy and tailoring, nutritious meals, clean drinking water, solar electricity, community outreach and medical treatment to the entire community of more than 1000 residents.
In 2016, SFLF purchased an additional 30 acres of land and built Mbazzi Riverside Secondary School. There are now 560 students enrolled across 2 campuses, and a third school (Primary) will be built in June 2017. At capacity, the facilities will provide quality education to more than 1600 people.
Annabelle has strong business acumen, building the charity from the ground up, and raising more than $5M over 6 years. She now employs more than 120 people across Australia and Uganda, as well as launched the business in the United States of America.
In 2012, Annabelle was listed in the Australian Financial Review & Westpac’s Top 100 Women of Influence 2012 and voted Cosmopolitan Magazine’s 2012 Role Model of the Year.
Annabelle was a finalist in 2 categories of the NSW Telstra Businesswomen’s Awards 2013 for Business Innovation and Young Businesswoman. Annabelle is a Paul Harris Fellow and was the 2014 winner of People’s Choice in the Australian Women’s Weekly and Qantas’ Women of the Future Awards.
Annabelle was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia on 26th January 2015 and was named the 2015 NSW Young Woman of the Year. In 2016, she was named an Impact 25 winner (top 25 most influential people in Australia’s social sector) by Pro Bono Australia, and in 2017 named a finalist in the Instyle magazine and Audi’s Women of Style awards.