Massimo Gini founded Sustain for Life in 2006. During visits to some of the poorest and least developed parts of the world, he saw first-hand the lack of opportunities for children and other vulnerable people and committed to helping the poorest of the poor by giving them the tools and skills to create a better future for themselves. He was amazed at how even a little bit of funding could make such a transformative difference to the lives of those existing in extreme poverty. “It’s our collective duty to help our fellow human beings, particularly the vulnerable and underprivileged, so I hope that many others will join me in supporting projects through Sustain for Life and help to create a better world for us all.”
Paul has joined Sustain for Life in 2016 as Executive Director, after 16 years of commissioned service in the British Army. During this time, he spent 10 years working extensively in the delivery of training, education and international development in some of the world’s most troubled regions. In addition to his military experience, he is a qualified teacher and a successful entrepreneur with an extensive background in agriculture, all of which helps him to understand the needs of rural communities in the developing world. “I’m hugely excited and honoured to have the opportunity to work with Sustain for Life. I’m confident that over the coming years we can expand the scope and reach of the charity, so that more communities in more countries will benefit as a result.”
Jo works with Sustain for Life to develop our programmes and build partnerships, with the aim of maximising the impact of our projects and ultimately helping more individuals and communities to become self-sufficient. With many years’ experience as a development professional, she became discouraged with the amount of money that was wasted on unnecessary expenditure in larger organisations. “I am proud that every penny raised for Sustain for Life goes directly to helping people that need it the most. We might not be able to change the world overnight, but we can have a huge impact on the lives of others, one person or community at a time.”
Sophie joined Sustain for Life in 2016 as Executive Assistant to Paul Adams, Sustain for Life’s Executive Director. Having worked in the commercial sector for the past 20 years, Sophie brings with her numerous administration, financial and compliance skills. As well as providing support to the Executive Director, her role will involve the running of the charity’s administration function. “It is a huge privilege to have the opportunity to work for such a fantastic organisation; Sustain for Life’s ethos in helping those who are most in need is truly inspirational and I am delighted to be able to part of the team to help make this happen”.
As Country Manager of Sustain for Life in Uganda, Abigail shapes initiatives that are impactful and help countless others improve their circumstances through self-sufficiency. She is a dedicated Ugandan woman who is passionate about creating opportunities for vulnerable women, children and youth. Abigail has worked in development for over 15 years, with a progressive career path spanning lower and national levels. “My development career has partly been shaped by the African proverb: ‘If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.’ Together, we can create the change we want to see, one step at a time.”
Isidore Guelly graduated at Université de Lomé (Togo) in African American Literature, focusing on a research theme that addresses the plight of vulnerable and underprivileged people. His passionate belief in a better future for the poorest of the poor and his deeper motivation to help the needy triggered the tremendous opportunity to join Sustain for Life in 2017 as West Africa Regional Manager. Though a qualified teacher and an academic researcher, Isidore has chosen to dedicate his time to help more individuals and communities across French-speaking countries in West Africa to become self-sufficient. “Together, let us turn our eyes towards parts of the world where there are more opportunities for community development.”
Ellen Percy Kraly is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Geography at Colgate University in New York. She has provided technical assistance concerning community health research to Bwindi Community Hospital and monitoring and evaluation at Mbale Remand Home, both in Uganda. Ellen is specifically committed to providing support through staff training and development workshops in the area of social and health research methods and analysis. She has also worked with colleagues to bring Colgate students to the Bwindi to assist the hospital in the collection and analysis of data and preparation of reports to serve the mission of the hospital in promoting community health. Recent projects have addressed stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, attitudes toward use of contraception, and challenges faced by women in utilisation of maternity services provided by the hospital. Learn more about Colgate University’s partnership with Bwindi Community Hospital here.
Marianne is a Director at Justice Studio, a UK based consultancy and research organisation specialising in the fields of child protection, youth justice and penal reform. She is an expert in strategic development, business planning, and project management and design. She has worked extensively in the UK and internationally. Adept at working in complex international environments, Marianne has to date worked in Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. In Africa, Marianne has recently written an advocacy report on girls in conflict with the law and being sexually exploited in Sierra Leone, and carried out a review of five juvenile detention facilities in Uganda. On the back of her 2010 publication, Juvenile Detention in Uganda: Review of Ugandan Remand Homes and the National Rehabilitation Centre, Sustain for Life has worked closely with Marianne to develop a programme of aid to juvenile detention facilities in Uganda and subsequently to update our global safeguarding policies.
Cristian Bernareggi graduated at Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy) in computer science in 2002 and took his PhD in computer science in 2006 focussing on methods and computer applications to facilitate blind students in studying mathematics. He has collaborated on European projects relating to science education of sight impaired. He collaborates to disseminate knowledge about assistive technology and has published numerous technical and scientific papers about human computer interaction and technology for people with disabilities. Cristian has spearheaded a project for Sustain for Life at Kisoro Demo School in Uganda to use computer science and assistive technology to open up new learning opportunities for blind and visually impaired students. Through this innovation, the students will be able to learn all subjects taught at school, particularly English. Cristian spends a week each year in Uganda training the children and staff on this life-changing technology.
As Founder of Sustain for Life, Massimo takes an active role across all of our charitable entities and is the primary funder for the organisation. Frustrated by seeing the amount of charitable funding that was wasted on unnecessary expenditure by other charities, Massimo made a pledge to fund the entire running costs of Sustain for Life to ensure that 100% of income would go directly to the people who need it the most. He travels to our projects regularly and encourages our partners and donors to get involved directly.
After a career in international tourism, Nick has been engaged in a number of local, national and international charities, as chairman, treasurer and trustee. He was a trustee of the UK arm of an international development charity for 20 years. He believes that it is a duty and a privilege to be able to help the less fortunate in society. He was awarded an OBE for his charitable work.
Aurora was heavily involved at the foundation of Sustain for Life, working closely with Massimo Gini, to set it up and turn it into a reality. She believes passionately in the aims of the charity, to help those less fortunate than herself, to give them hope and dignity by providing the means to enable them to help themselves. Aurora has lived in London for many years and works in the financial sector in the City.
Karen has been a UK barrister since 1992 specialising in property law. She has experience in the not-for-profit sector in the development of public-private sector initiatives for inner city and rural regeneration, as well as in the development of real work and training provision in prisons. She has been a trustee of charities, ranging from those concerned with social provision, to those involved in culture and the arts.
Gian Oddone lives and works in Italy where he is currently CEO of Fineldo SpA. He is also Chairman of MPE SpA and a member of the board of directors of Panini SpA. His wide business experience has also included previous roles as CEO of Cofiri SpA and as a Board member with Banca Commerciale di San Marino. With a primary background in finance, Gian Oddone is also a qualified lawyer, and has undertaken further study with UCLA Berkeley University in California and the Harvard Business School.
For more than 20 years, Benedikt has been involved in development work. He has a Masters Degree in Development Management, gained on-site work experience over four years in rural Brazil, and has been administering projects in Africa, Latin America and Central Asia for an Austrian NGO since 2003. His main focus is the institutional development of local development organisations to improve the scope and quality of the work they provide and to increase their autonomy on an organisational and financial level.
Howard has been a commercial solicitor in private legal practice since 1978. He served as a local education authority appointed school governor, and in 1992 was elected as a councillor of a borough in southern England where he chaired the financial monitoring panel, became deputy chairman of the corporate services board and was nominated as the borough’s delegate to the Consumer Council for Postal Services. Aside from his professional practice, now as consultant of a central London law firm, Howard holds office as chairman of a company specialising in the development, manufacture and distribution of innovative medical products.
Paul was elected as a Member of Parliament (Labour) for Stockton South in 2017 and is a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee. Paul is a GP specialising in family medicine, has a Master’s degree in Public Health and was previously CEO of Hartlepool and Stockton Health. Between 2006 and 2010 Paul was Medical Superintendent at Bwindi Community Hospital, Uganda, where he significantly scaled up activities and infrastructure improvements, initiated life-saving programmes in the areas of maternal and child health, HIV/AIDs and malnutrition, and rolled out a community health insurance scheme. Paul has experience as both a grantee and advisor to Sustain for Life and continues to fight tirelessly against health inequalities.
Nicola lives in Vicenza with his partner Alessandra. He is a Chartered Accountant who specialises in corporate and tax consultancy and is also a bankruptcy commissioner. Nicola has been associated with Massimo Gini for almost 30 years both in a professional and personal capacity and was delighted to accept the opportunity to collaborate with Sustain for Life. He loves sport, particularly rugby, where the emphasis is entirely on the team effort and not on the individual – qualities which also apply wholeheartedly to Sustain for Life and which were among the primary reasons for agreeing to lend his support to the Charity’s efforts.
Upon retiring after 36 years working for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mario was asked by his good friend Massimo Gini to accompany him to visit Sustain for Life’s projects in Uganda. He was moved by what he saw and liked our approach of actively teaching practical skills that help the poorest of the poor move forward towards a better life. During the trip, Mario was able to see first-hand that “every penny counts”. Mario is honoured to have been offered to become a Trustee and looks forward to using his experience as a Diplomat to assist Sustain for Life’s valuable initiatives in favour of children and other vulnerable people.
When Massimo asked Marco to join Sustain for Life Switzerland Foundation as a Trustee, it was a clear “yes”, as Marco was looking for an opportunity to help some of the poorest in this world. He spent all of his professional life in the financial industry and in the last 25 years he dealt with the fall-out of several dramatic stock market crashes. This was nothing for Marco, however, compared to what he experienced during his first visit to Uganda. Marco appreciates that every penny raised goes straight to our projects thanks to Massimo’s commitment to fund all running costs. He is proud to be part of Sustain for Life Switzerland Foundation and looks forward to seeing lives improved as a result of the programmes that we support.
Jo has watched Sustain for Life grow from a small foundation in the UK to an international NGO with presence in four countries. She was delighted to be asked to join Sustain for Life Switzerland Foundation as a trustee and uses her role as a trustee to ensure that more projects are delivered to improve the lives of the most marginalised in a sustainable fashion. Jo has over 20 years of experience working with charities, both in the US and Europe and is dedicated to the values and approach of Sustain for Life. She regularly visits our projects with a focus on monitoring and evaluation.
Updated biography to follow.