Who we are
During a trip to Ethiopia in 2009, Georgina visited a local primary school in a remote area of the country and that random road-stop became a life-changing event. Georgina was deeply affected by the conditions children were enduring at school and the barriers they were facing in obtaining an education. Georgina committed herself to doing something about it, co-founding Create Impact (formerly School’s A Gift) with Sophie Coleman, in 2010.
Create Impact has grown from a pipe-dream to help one school into an organisation that has impacted thousands of people in Ethiopia. We’ve built brand new schools and toilets, repaired dilapidated classrooms, supported students with education scholarships, created new permanent teaching positions, provided communities with access to clean water sources, delivered menstrual pads and education to girls and we are now expanding access to health care in rural areas through the construction of Health Posts.
The heart of Create Impact is the involvement of the local communities in Ethiopia and despite our growth, we remain a grassroots organisation whereby the local people propose, implement and manage each project.
Georgina oversees all aspects of Create Impact and is passionate about ensuring all the funds we raise are making a lasting difference to communities in Ethiopia. Georgina has over 10 years’ experience volunteering within the humanitarian and development sectors and holds a Master of Peace and Conflict Studies (University of Sydney). Georgina’s work with Create Impact was in a volunteer capacity for seven years until becoming the first (and only) paid staff member (in Australia) in 2018. In Georgina’s parallel life, she works in cancer research with the University of Sydney. Georgina also has a Bachelor of Science (University of Melbourne) and a Master of Science in Genetic Counselling.
Sophie is a lawyer working with Save the Children Australia as Legal Counsel and Company Secretary. Sophie made the move from a Melbourne commercial law-firm because she believes that every child has the right to be protected from harm, and to access quality education and health services. Sophie has extensive experience in not for profit regulation, as well as international development policy and practice and brings all these skills to Create Impact. Sophie holds a Bachelor of Arts/Law (Honors) from Monash University, and a MBA from Melbourne Business School (University of Melbourne). Sophie is also a Director and Secretary of non-profit Aardvark Music.
Derebe became Create Impacts Operations Manager in 2016 and oversees all of our projects in Ethiopia. Derebe has over 7 years’ experience managing development projects in the region surrounding his hometown of Lalibela. He works tirelessly to build exceptional relationships with local communities and government and works in partnership with them to design, co-ordinate, and monitor our projects to ensure they are impactful, cost-effective and sustainable.
Derebe holds a Diploma of Management and Communication (Bahir Dar University). He is passionate about improving the livelihoods and opportunities for local children and is an inspiring role model for his three young daughters.
Stephen became a Director of Create Impact in 2014, bringing his skills in finance, strategy, investments and accounts. Stephen is the Head of Equities & Alternatives at Challenger Limited Financial Services. Stephen has 15+ years experience in investment management. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) with majors in econometrics, economics and finance from the University of Sydney.
Hiwot is a highly-regarded and active member of the Lalibela community. Hiwot began working with Create Impact in 2016 and is responsible for our project accounting, budget and finances. Hiwot holds a Diploma of Law (Bahir Dar University) and works as a Prosecutor for the Ethiopian government. She also has a volunteer position with a local co-operative as an anti-HIV Coordinator.
Norman has been working in Ethiopia in the Development sector (education, health, water and agriculture) for 20 years. Prior to this, Norman has had a long and impressive career in the agriculture sector, including holding the position of Agricultural Director for HSBC Bank in London. Norman has provided consultancies for the World Bank and the Crown Estate. He has been a visiting Professor at the University of London and a Trustee and Board Member of UK charity Farm Africa. Currently, Norman is a Delegate of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Agriculture and Food for Development in the UK. He also manages Development projects in Ethiopia in conjunction with the UK charity, Lalibela Trust. Norman has provided Create Impact with guidance since our inception in 2010 and then became an active project partner in 2016. Norman is a much loved and respected figure in the Lalibela community and brings a lifetime’s worth of experience and expertise to Create Impact.