John Rendel on furthering education in southern Africa

John Rendel was 26 when he founded Promoting Equality in African Schools, which maintains 24 schools in Uganda and two in Zambia. He is now 34

John Rendel
John Rendel

Q. What prompted you to set up the charity Peas?

I went to Uganda while I was at university and found there was a real issue with children who'd completed primary school being unable to go on to secondary school. So we raised the money to build a school, and it's grown from there.

Q. Did you expect this to be your career path?

I have always wanted a job where I could be really creative, and I've always liked leading projects, but when I set up that first school I didn't realise I was going to set up a charity and lead it. It's not what I expected, but it's no surprise.

Q. What's been the most rewarding part of the job?

Creating something and making a difference. Having the emotional impact of knowing you can help people who have potential that was going to be wasted. It's easy to laugh about it, but once I'd set up that first school I realised this was something I had to do.

Q. What have been the challenges of being a young founding chief executive?

Being young plays both ways - people get very excited about someone who has done a lot while still young, but it can be hard to bring experienced people in and get their respect if you're a young chief.

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