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News > Alumnae Interviews > 10 Questions with ... Amanda Ali

10 Questions with ... Amanda Ali

This month, Amanda talked to us about how Covid-19 changed her plans for the future, and led to her working full time for her not-for-profit organisation in Trinidad and Tobago.
8 Nov 2022
Alumnae Interviews

Amanda Ali (No. 2, 1987-91), started her career working in the corporate world, before starting her not-for-profit. She talks to us about how Covid-19 meant she had to defer her plans to study law in London, and instead is now focussing full-time on her not-for-profit work preserving the legacy of the indigenous people of Trinidad and Tobago, and provided essential support to people and animals on the islands.

What is your favourite memory of Roedean?

The friendship amongst the girls, the care and attention of both the house staff and teaching staff. The amazing part is they are not just memories as through this lovely thing called technology many of us are still connected and are continuing life long friendships.

What was the best piece of advice you were given whilst at School?

To keep my happy, cheerful demeanour and determination and I would overcome any challenges in my life due to my outlook and attitude to life and the tasks ahead.

When you were at Roedean, what did you want to be when you ‘grew-up’?

At first I wanted to be a Vet, then I applied to the University of Aberystwyth to do a combined Degree in Agronomics, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.

What are you now you’ve grown up?

I worked in the corporate sector for around 30 years, starting out in insurance and Business Administration, and moving to Sales & Promotions and PR. I have also worked as a Business Development Consultant and Artistes Management in the Entertainment industry.

Alongside this fulltime Corporate undertaking from 1992 to the present, I have developed a range of community projects as a Social Entrepreneur.

In 1996 as a direct descendant of the Indigenous First Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago and the third generation of my family in Community service as well as Animal & Wildlife rehabilitation I along with my mother and a business colleague formed our NGO, The Foundation for Heritage Preservation and Legacy Creation.

When the pandemic hit in 2020 we decided due to the overwhelming needs of the most vulnerable families, animals and wildlife that we would work fulltime in offering support via a Community Food Pantry. Our Animal Division Phoenix Paws & Claws Rescue and Sanctuary TT was made public and the intake of domestic & exotic animals as well as wildlife have been ongoing.

Out of this we are currently building Our Heritage Learning Resource Centre, Nature Park & Animal Sanctuary (an Urban Centre engaging in Animal Welfare Services and Conservation Breeding programmes) as well as content creation for ongoing public education in Collaboration with Creative Visions (Media, Production, Entertainment and Promotions) and Redzi the Trini Clown with plenty Tobago Flavour a children’s character, Arts Education Facilitator and Children’s Production Company

 R Real

 E Educational

 D Discoveries

 Z  Zooming in on the

 I Indigenous

Our soft release centre is set up on our Heritage Park & Family Farm Guayaguayare our ancestral first peoples village. Also included on this site are food growing projects and plant propagation.

What does your job involve?

Prior to the pandemic I was running a successful Consultancy handling Expatriate Administration and Immigration matters for a portfolio of local Regional and International elite clients. In 2019 I gained a scholarship to study Law at the University of Law in London and spent 6 months domiciled in London in preparation to return in 2020. I returned to Trinidad at the end of 2019. Due to border closures and Covid regulations I did not travel back but instead we have pivoted due to the pandemic.

As the Co-Founder, Executive Director & Secretary of The Foundation for Heritage Preservation & Legacy Creation, I am now full time committed to the projects, which include pastoral care of animals, support services to vulnerable families, fundraising, production of sustainability products such as ornamental plants, upcycled tyre pet beds and craft. I am also conducting Heritage Preservation exercises such as documentation and content production for Legacy Creation.

Our Heritage Learning Resource Centre, Nature Park and Animal Sanctuary is the Santa Rosa Heights, Arima site on which the Foundation currently operates. There are several outreach programmes serving the community in a myriad of ways via a Food and Pet Supplies Pantry, Social Entrepreneurship, Upcycling & Recycling programs.

The Animal & Wildlife Divisions provide support for Domestic, Exotic and Wildlife rehabilitation and Conservation programmes including breeding of critically endangered species of turtles and tortoises sacred to my indigenous first people.

Families who access food hampers and support also have the opportunity to gain some food independence by receiving planting materials, via Kairi Seed harvest, seed bank and propagation programme. We share our indigenous methodology of companion planting.

What have you done that you are most proud of?

I would say that creating Redzi the Clown, our beloved children’s character and Production Company is what I am most proud of. Our programme, dubbed Patriotis-Through-The-Arts, has just celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary.

The past three years in particular have been a very proud moment too, establishing and undertaking the fulltime work of the Foundation. Under all the Covid restrictions, we established both a community food pantry and seed bank and successfully pivoted our business model. Many Roedean alumni contributed generously to our efforts, which was uplifting and very impactful.

We are finishing physical upgrades and infrastructure and will lead into the 4th phase of development, a full digital transformation and the launch of our Heritage Centre Urban Site. This will be a multipurpose Space including a First Peoples Museum and Nature Centre in addition to our Heritage Park & Family Farm Rural site. Both sites will act as living demonstrations of our Indigenous way of life and it is intended that we can monetize these properties and become self-sustaining.

What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?

  • A seed kit from our Kairi Seed Bank
  • A Water harvester and  purification system (air/dew/mist system)
  • An Indigenous Benab thatched hut

What books have had a significant influence on you and why?

  • The Celestine Prophecy – believing and understanding the journey
  • The Secret – mastering the skill of co-creating my future
  • 7 Habits of Highly effective people and the Covey series – establishing the best habits lead to the best outcomes and a life of service and dedication is worth living and having
  • Animal Farm – Learning the nature of people
  • The Greatest Salesman – Og Mandino

What is on your bucket list?

  • Thriving through a cancer diagnosis...
  • Celebrating my 50th Birthday in May 2023.
  • Travelling back to UK Roedean Day 2023.
  • Visiting the Amazon region where my grandfather Warao tribe live in Venezuela.
  • Visiting Guyana and Jamaica again.
  • Finishing the 3 properties currently undertaking the work of our Foundation.
  • In 2019 I received a partial scholarship to study at the University of Law in London. Circumstances led to deferral and this is one of my key goals for the future.

If you had one year and unlimited funds, what would you do?

  • Pay off for 4 years law degree and full time accommodation in UK while ensuring all my responsibilities in Trinidad are taken care of.
  • Purchase 1000 acres of land and establish an Indigenous Village for our tribal people as well as our indigenous people who have fled to the mainland.
  • Establish all the bonafide Not for Profits on my island with for-profit businesses to sustain their activities.
  • Provide every cancer patient with all their needs.
  • Provide every family with a child who has a life threatening, critical or ongoing illness with all their needs.
  • Establish cooperative housing for elderly, vulnerable and disenfranchised members of our society.
  • Create multiple streams of income to fund ALL our ongoing projects.
  • Establish an organisation to create equitable outcomes at a political and governance level.

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