When Sarah first contacted me she told me she was 33 weeks pregnant and said “I would cherish the opportunity to capture the beauty I currently feel whilst with child.” Asking her about her family name and she told me it was Nigerian… I was fascinated and knew that this lady would have an interesting story. She certainly does. We had such a wonderful day together with a lot of laughs and I feel that I did capture the beauty she was radiating.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me means being true to myself. Living each day in a way that is true to my values.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
When I am enjoying time with those I love, my family and my friends.
What do you love about yourself?
I love that I have finally learnt to love myself, it has taken me some time to be comfortable in my skin.
Tell me your story
I am 41 years old. I had a middle class south east Melbourne upbringing. I followed the usual path, university, and became a Chartered Accountant. I worked in Collins Street for 4 years and thought there must be more to life… At 27 I had the opportunity to be an Ausaid Youth Ambasssador volunteering in Cambodia. I went for one year and stayed for five. Over that time I saw some of the best and worst of humanity. I met my beautiful husband Paul in Cambodia and married there. We returned to Australia, and I have continued to work in finance in the not for profit sector, initially with Oxfam Australia and now with a wonderful independent school Beaconhills College, where my son is learning and growing so much. I have recently started a post graduate law degree, and look forward to continuing my own growth and development and being a role model for my children.
What do you think was the biggest turning point in your life?
Leaving Collins St Melbourne and venturing to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to work with Mith Samlanh, who work with street living and working children in Cambodia. It opened by eyes to the bigger world, to poverty, to injustice, and inequity.
What are you most grateful for?
The amazing support network that is my family and friends. I feel very blessed to have wonderful people in my life, from all different cultural backgrounds who I continue to learn from and appreciate.
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
Our children, our son Chukwuebuke who is almost seven, our daughter Grace Uchechukwu who we farewelled at 19 weeks pregnancy, 3 other angel babies that we lost very early on, and our unborn son currently 34 weeks and thriving. They have taught me to appreciate light and shade. They have taught me resilience.
What is your most treasured memory?
Meeting my husband, Paul, who is Nigerian at an African dance party, at the French Cultural Centre, in Phnom Penh Cambodia.
What advice would you give to yourself when you were a teenager?
Don’t worry about what other people think or say about you. Be true to yourself.
What do you value most in a friendship?
Honesty, loyalty, love,support and FUN!
Please finish the statement
“I am a person who…” believes that the small differences you make in peoples lives can have a wonderful ripple effect.