In light of this year’s international women’s day, we want to celebrate the amazing women behind AFFCAD, and share with you some of the stories of the women who help to make our mission a reality. In this post, we feature an insight from our vice chair and trustee, Purvy Patel.

Purvy during her latest trip to Uganda.

There are many articles and statistics about the lack of diversity in Charity Boards and the make up of its trustees. While that rings true for many, I am proud to say that at AFFCAD UK, as small as we are, we pride ourselves in having an incredibly diverse board of trustees where the majority of our trustees are women. We have not purposefully chosen women over men but have always followed the mantra of hiring the best person for the role, and are committed to ensuring our talent pool for interviews is diverse.

Currently, I am serving as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for Action for Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD UK), a non-profit organisation working to eliminate poverty among young people in Kampala, Uganda, through entrepreneurship education and vocational training. I am passionate about social change and supporting mission-driven organisations to maximise resource effectiveness and deliver solutions that bring wide-ranging societal benefits.

This drives comes from my belief that I am here for a purpose. When you go through something like being expelled from your country, (I was only five years old when I was forced to flee Uganda), I suppose it’s natural to often wonder what life would have been like if you’d never left. However, I have always preferred to focus on what I can do with my life in the present, while keeping the memories of Uganda that I do have close to my heart.

Nowadays, my career as a marketeer has taken a back seat to my charity-related endeavours; I devote more of my time and energy to charities, as a way of giving back as so many have given to me in the past.

I’m also an active fundraiser for the Vraj Charitable Trust, for which I provide direction for fundraising and community events. Every year, I spend ten days in India working as ground support for projects run by the trust over there.
Meanwhile, on Sundays, I don my wellies and go to work on a charity-owned organic farm, which grows a wide range of produce and supports free food distribution. I help with organising local volunteers, and I act as the Team Leader for various community events. I’ve also commercialised our approach to asking for funding, by producing business cases for large greenhouses and irrigation systems that demonstrate the farm’s impact.

Additionally, before working on the farm, I volunteer for Vallabh Youth Organisation by teaching a group of teenagers about Hinduism and related culture, using an international curriculum. We aim to assist our students’ understanding of the importance of integration, as well as their own cultural
heritage and individuality.