FROM A FUTURE IN BUSINESS TO FORGING FUTURES
Inspired by his experience teaching former child soldiers in Tanzania, UNSW Business School alumnus - Corrin Varady - established the World Youth Education Trust (WYET), a UK and Australian-registered charity. Corrin’s charity now has a school in Tanzania and in Uganda, enrolling more than 2,500 students. The schools make a small profit which is re-invested, making them sustainable, social enterprises. Through his business acumen and capacity to imagine the unimaginable, Corrin is transforming lives, including his own.
Corrin Varady had always planned to be an investment banker. But a transformative experience in Tanzania has seen him apply his business acumen in a most unexpected and worthwhile way. Corrin has established the World Youth Education Trust (WYET) and works collaboratively with locals to change the lives of young people across Uganda and Tanzania.
In the last semester of his Masters of Commerce at UNSW Business School, Corrin decided he wanted to teach in Tanzania. He admits his motivations were not purely altruistic at the time.
'I wanted to have a wonderful experience and an adventure, I didn’t ever think that I was going to go and never come back,' Corrin says.
Following a chance encounter with Mama Anna who was teaching ten students in a small village, Corrin spent three months teaching English under a shelter of bamboo and wood covered by a tarpaulin. Before long Mama Anna and Corrin agreed that they should start a school. He began by asking friends for money and support and before long the World Youth Education Trust (WYET) was formed. WYET now has a presence in Tanzania, Uganda, UK, Australia and South Africa. His organisation is making a significant social impact.
'We built a school and we now have 670 kids there, the majority of whom are orphaned or disadvantaged kids who can’t afford to pay,' Corrin says. 'We're number one in the region in our results. Every single one of our students gets into a selective high school or a private school because their performance is so good,' he says.
Corrin's successful not-for-profit caught the attention of the UNICEF as they - were moving out of Uganda - the conflict between the Lord's Resistance Army and the Ugandan Defence Force was starting to wane. They invited him to work with the child soldiers - he read to them in the evenings and formed long lasting friendships.
This experience inspired him to start a school and leadership program, particularly focusing on female child soldiers - they had experienced excessive hardship and little attention had been given to their plight. He formed a female football league to instil self-esteem and empower these young women. It was an act of defiance and humanity that would see him arrested by local security officials, only to be praised by the Federal Minister for Sports. The Minister has agreed to help fund a female football league across Northern Uganda.
Corrin's achievements are extraordinary. Working with the likes of Virgin Unite, Google for Education, National Geographic, and the Jane Goodall Institute, Corrin is currently developing a campus in a township of Johannesburg which used to be controlled by gangs. The focus is on digital education, conservation and the training of teachers.
He has also established a for-profit entity, the Institute of Digital Education Africa (IDEA), which creates educational content for digital devices, in line with the South Africa, Kenya and Tanzanian syllabuses. By the end of this year there will be 78 people in his organisation working across South Africa, East Africa, and Australia.
According to Corrin, this is very much a collaborative story in which he works closely with communities, just as he works with his professional partners. He emphasises that WYET doesn’t give people handouts. It does provide people with the means to create their own change. Corrin’s achievements are evidence of the truly remarkable things that can happen when you ask, why not?