January 28, 2019

Meet Kate Holland, Winner of the Shillington Design Safari at The School of St Jude in Tanzania

Here at Shillington, we’re strong believers that design can change the world, which is why we are so proud to partner with top design studio Seesaw to sponsor our graduates for a paid work and travel opportunity in support of The School of St Jude in Arusha, Tanzania. Read on to meet our winner! London graduate Kate Holland, who is settling into her new design role and life in Africa.

Exclusively for our graduates, we help The School of St Jude recruit and support top creative talent to best communicate their important mission—providing high-quality education to 1800 of the brightest and poorest students in Tanzania. Selected from families living on less than $2 a day, St Jude’s students receive an education that consistently ranks in the top 10% nationally. Andy Shillington, Founder and CEO of Shillington is a long-time donor and loves connecting our design graduates to the school’s important work.

In 2016, New York graduate Connie Leung spent one year designing for good at St Jude’s, and now—in 2018, London graduate Kate Holland takes the reins. “A talented, enthusiastic graphic designer helps us find new and exciting ways to share our story,” says Gemma Sisia, Founder of St Jude’s. “Good design connects with our supporters from all over the world who help us do an amazing job fighting poverty through education here in Tanzania.”

Here’s our full interview with Kate. Find out why she’s pumped to work with such a beautiful brand for a good cause, what life is like so far in Arusha and why she’s passionate about this important work.

Congratulations on being selected for the Shillington Design Safari at St Jude’s in Arusha, Tanzania! How does it feel?

Seriously incredible and totally surreal at the same time! I had such build up of anticipation before coming here and now that I’m actually standing on Tanzanian soil I can’t believe it. What they’re doing here at St Jude’s is beyond words. It’s very moving to see the students gorgeous, cheery smiles around the campus every day, it’s a constant reminder of why I’m here.

Since arriving, I’ve been blown away by the kindness and contentment of the people, their humble approach to life, the way people greet each other and just the everyday on-goings of life in Arusha. I’ve never been to Tanzania before so it’s all extremely eye opening but I feel like I’m meant to be here, I’m ready to call this place home.

You actually saw Gemma Sisia, founder of St Jude’s speak while studying at All Saints Anglican School and it “shifted and heightened [your] interest to aid others”. Tell us more about what her talk meant to you.

Having grown up on the Gold Coast and then seen others parts of the world, I think we have no idea just how lucky we are to have access to privileges that many people do not experience. Listening to this inspiring woman talk about the unimaginable extremes of poverty and lack of education in Tanzania, it really put a lot of things in perspective for me.

It was about 10 years ago so the school was still in its early stages, but you could tell that St Jude’s was no ordinary organisation. Even then, what Gemma had done was incredible – to think that she started with $10 in a bank account and not much knowledge of building schools is probably the most inspiring story I’ve ever heard. A few of my closest friends went over to visit St Jude’s on a school trip and seeing their pictures made me realise that one day I just had to go over, experience it for myself and help in whatever way possible.

Before coming here I read Gemma’s book about St Jude’s—an absolute must read! It gives such an insight into her background and shows how one person with enough good-will, motivation, love and selflessness can actually change lives and have huge positive impacts on a community. Her story is incredibly moving and really prompted me to think about the way I live my life.

Besides being inspired by Gemma, why else did you decide to apply for the opportunity?

I love seeing the world, I love new challenges, I love immersing myself in other cultures and also, why not? I think it was a sign when I received the email from Shillington advertising the design safari and I wasn’t going to ignore it. It was a great opportunity to not only continue working in design but also produce work that is fulfilling and for a fantastic cause. Sometimes you can get caught up in all the materialism and mundanity of design so it’ll be nice to feel like my work is making a difference, even if it’s ever so small!

Kate Holland

Why are you excited to work with Seesaw’s branding?

St Jude’s has taken such a massive leap in the right direction with this rebrand. I’m only two weeks in and I can already see how imperative this new brand is for St Jude’s.

It’s energetic and fun, it’s colourful, it’s the kids on the playground at lunchtime, it’s positive, it’s impactful, it’s the atmosphere of the campus and it’s also so much more!

Seesaw Studio and Connie have done an incredible job and I hope I can fill their shoes as I continue to roll out the branding across bigger and better things!

What else are you most looking forward to during your time at St Jude’s?

Making life-long friends and memories with like-minded people who are here for a great cause. Trying to understand and immerse myself as much as I can in the Tanzanian way of life and maybe becoming fluent in Swahili! I also can’t wait to interact with and get to know some of the students a bit more, we have some interns in our team who are completing a Community Service Year internship through our graduate program, Beyond St Jude’s. Many graduates choose to participate in the program as a way to give back to the school that gave them so much, and when they’re working right beside you, you realise just how far they’ve come, thanks to an education at St Jude’s.

I’m also really looking forward to going on Safari, I’ve heard so many great things about the safaris in Tanzania and can’t wait to see it for myself!

What were you up to before studying at Shillington? Why did you want to study design?

I’ve always been quite creative but also very methodical and logical so design seemed like the perfect avenue for me. I went to a Shillington Info Session in Brisbane while I was still at school and something about it definitely felt right, so it was always in the back of my mind.

Then I finished high school in 2011, turned 18 the following year and jetted off to Europe for a gap year. I fell in love with London and made the decision to stay as I was having the time of my life. After a year, I decided (with the help of my lovely parents!) that I would enrol to study at Shillington in London, and the rest is history!

Where has life taken you since graduating?

Since graduating I moved back to Australia as no one would marry me for a UK visa! I worked on the Gold Coast for a year and then moved to Brisbane for two years working for a boutique hospitality group and then back to the Gold Coast to work on the 2018 Commonwealth Games and now to Tanzania! I think studying at Shillington was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It was exactly what I needed and look where it has taken me—I couldn’t ask for anything more!

Anything else you’d like to share?

ASANTE SANA (‘thank you’ in Swahili) to Shillington for giving me this opportunity and supporting such a great cause!

Huge thanks to Kate for sharing her Shillington Design Safari story! Be sure to check out her website.


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