Who are we?
Who are the people that make our work possible?
Be The Change Founder and Executive Director
Suzie began doing conservation and community volunteer work after she completed her BSc in Zoology at the University of Leeds and achieved a First Class Degree with Honours. She traveled to South America and lived and volunteered in Brasil, working at an ecological reserve doing rainforest restoration work, and later volunteering at a school in one of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Her call to helping and volunteering started much earlier than this where she started fundraising for various community and animal charities at the age of 6 and her calling or ‘life purpose’ as she calls it, has continued as a primary influence in all that she has done.
Knowing her purpose and wanting to align her life more permanently with this, she sold her car and a lot of her belongings, left her apartment and packed up her life in the UK into storage (not the people obviously!), and headed out again with just a backpack and a mission.
On her way to Uganda she first went to learn how to teach yoga in Bali, where she then extended her stay in Bali to help when Mount Agung began erupting. She then also extended her stay in Uganda after she had done a month volunteering with Project Uganda in the small town of Rukingiri in the west of Uganda. She saw a growing number of vulnerable children who were unable to pay school fees and were working or living on the streets; and so Be The Change began.
The mission statement of the charity is aligned with her goals;
“To help alleviate poverty through education, opportunity and support, and to help conserve the environment and the species within it through conservation and awareness raising.”
She is a keen learner and studied online for a Diploma in International Environmental Law from the United Nations Development Programme; an area she is keen to know more about and use her expertise in this area to help protect nature. She also talks Spanish and Portuguese and is learning Swahili, French and Arabic to enable her to connect with many more people all over the world. She also teaches yoga and meditation; believing that healing of our world also needs to come from within and that the state of the planet would be much improved if we all felt how connected we all are, and how we are to nature, and had more inner peace – if you’re truly at peace, you can’t harm another.
She currently works alongside multiple other charities and attended the UN Biodiversity Conference in Egypt this year as a representative of Strong Roots, a Congo based charity that works to protect a sub-species of gorillas endemic to Eastern-DRC. She has volunteered in Congo for Strong Roots and works as their Communications Officer, helping them reach a wider audience in their plight to save the gorilla. She also continues her work with I am Somebody’s Child Soldier (IamSCS), a UK based charity that works with former child soldiers in the north of Uganda, to help them return to education and get support within their community.
Working alongside other wonderful charities means we can all work together towards our common goal to change and shape the world into a place where less suffering takes place and where we respect and preserve the planet and its other inhabitants.
Headmaster of Rugarama Primary School
As an orphan himself Johnson knows the struggle of everyday living that being without family can bring to young people. He supports many students himself through school and also assists with foster families taking in children and then helps those adults find work and traiing opportuities. He has been fundamental in the start-up of Be The Change and is knowledgable with a huge network of helpful contacts and a vision for a better future that he is trying to achieve through community engagement. He supports the vocational training that we run on the ground and is innovative and proactive to help the projects flourish.
Deputy Headmaster of Laroo ADRA Primary School
Solomon worked with us alongside IamSCS to help support many of the children who were directly influenced by the insurgency that happened there at the hands of the Lord’s Resistance Army between 1986 and 2006. Their school has a high volume of former-child-soldiers and aims to try and remove the stigma surrounding those that were ‘in the bush’ during the war. We support them with child sponsorship, helping obtain counselling services for those who need it, and creating support networks and groups for the survivors so that they can be helped towards a brighter future.
Board of trustees
We are lucky to have a great group of supporters who help guide the charity to achieve its mission statement.
- Yvonne Ford
- Lee Ford
- Brian Martin
- Justin Holmes
Be The Change
Sophie's Story I met Aruju Sophie whilst volunteering in Gulu in the north of Uganda. A beautiful young woman with a grace that made her seem way beyond her years. At 19, I learnt she had already endured more than any adult should ever have to go through. Her...