Empowering others through access to education

11 Dec 2017

Education has been a powerful enabler in Artur Kaluza’s life, so when he was looking for ways to give back to the community, empowering others through access to education resonated with him. 

In June 2017, Artur, from Macquarie’s Sydney office, and his family travelled to South Africa, Kenya and Uganda to volunteer for four months. Artur was prepared to do any kind of work that local non-profit organisations needed, but he felt his experience and business skills would be a unique way to make a bigger impact. 

During one of the four months Artur spent overseas, he volunteered with School for Life in Uganda. “The people I met in Uganda really value education,” says Artur. “They know it is the first step out of poverty.” 

School for Life was founded in 2008 and has grown significantly since then. With rapid growth, sustainability becomes increasingly important so Artur focused on this as a priority. Artur conducted a strategic, operational and commercial review of School for Life and created a plan for sustainable growth that is now being implemented. 

 “My objective was to work out how the organisation could become more self-sufficient and less dependent on donor funding, which is highly competitive and unreliable.” 

Founder and CEO of School for Life, Annabelle Chauncy OAM said Artur’s time was incredibly valuable for the charity. “Artur brought a wealth of commercial experience, focusing on organisational efficiency. He facilitated a workshop for all my managers, realigning them with our goals and strategy. He also helped implement a range of different systems and templates for staff reporting, procurement, forecasting and talent management.” 

As well as making a significant impact on School for Life, Artur said he personally got a lot out of the experience. 

“Meeting the people in Uganda has changed the way I think about some things in my life and how I relate to people at work – for the better. I would encourage others, if they are able, to embark on a similar experience.” 

After returning to work in Sydney, Artur continues to be involved with the charity in a consulting capacity and will serve as a member of its board. He also organised a half day workshop with colleagues from Macquarie and staff from School for Life, focusing on human resources and procurement.     

Lisa Fletcher from Macquarie’s Learning and Development team participated in this workshop and has now also started working with Annabelle to develop her skills in human resources, talent development and structuring effective teams. These are competencies Annabelle finds valuable since School for Life has grown from a team of two to over 120 people in Uganda and five in Australia.   

“It’s easy to take things for granted here at Macquarie where we have so many resources available to us. I’m more than happy to give up some of my time to help a small non-profit that does not readily have access to the resources and expertise needed to support its growth,” says Lisa. 

Michael Muehlheim from Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group also became involved in School for Life after meeting the team at a crowd funding event hosted at Macquarie’s Sydney office. “I strongly believe in education and recognise that we’re lucky to live in a country where education is easily accessible – but people in other parts of the world aren’t so lucky. I wanted to help.” 

In 2016 Michael ran a marathon raising $58,000 with matching from the Macquarie Group Foundation, which enabled School for Life to purchase a truck that was needed to help build two schools in 12 months. 

He also recently joined the School for Life Foundation board and is helping the team with strategy and fundraising – connecting Annabelle with people he knows who may also be able to support the organisation. 

Michael is currently planning a trip to visit School for Life in Uganda in 2018. 

Hero caption: Artur Kaluza (sixth from right) with the School for Life team in Uganda. 

Image caption: Founder Annabelle Chauncy OAM with students from School for Life