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Living Hope Trust NZ
P O Box 15479, Tauranga 3144, New Zealand
P: +64 7 574 2000 E:
Rachael Hughes left school in New Zealand at 15 and spent 2 years studying to be a fashion designer at the New Zealand College of Fashion Design. After graduating, she began her own business designing and selling ball gowns and wedding dresses.
In 1993, she went to Israel and spent 3 months as a volunteer in the Israeli Defence Force. From here she took up various positions as a nanny in both NZ and England, including working for the Duchess of Arundel.
In 1997, Rachael went to Russia as a volunteer with an organization working with Russian Jews. She was invited to return and teach English. On her way to starting this role, a chance encounter with a young child pickpocket changed her life forever.
Since that day, she has dedicated her life to feeding and caring for scores of homeless children in Vladivostok. Her previous dream of being a famous fashion designer, mingling with the privileged, rich and famous around the catwalks of Paris and Milan took a backseat. Russia became her new home.
For a woman originally from New Zealand, Vladivostok was completely unfamiliar territory. Life couldn’t have been more different. The culture, queues and an unforgiving climate were a constant challenge. Yet her dedication to the children has always been unshakeable.
As Founder and CEO of Living Hope, Rachael’s life varies from day-to-day. Whether it’s meeting children on the streets, encouraging children to return to school, or helping in the soup kitchen, there’s always work to be done.