Our Story


Meet The Team

Emily Young

Emily Young is a primary school teacher in Trowbridge having just completed a Biology degree at the University of Bath. In 2010/11, she spent 10 months volunteering in Ingwavuma, South Africa. She taught the grade 2-4 class in Khethani School, a huge but extremely rewarding challenge. She also spent a lot of time at Zisize’s orphanage helping to brighten it up and becoming a part of its family. Emily has since returned to Ingwavuma to visit our children and projects. She comments “Ingwavuma is a magical place and one that has a huge place in my heart”. Emily manages relations between sponsors and children, the website, the Zoe Trust records, and our relations with our mentors on the ground in Ingwavuma. Emily also organises regular fundraising events for the orphanage and the enrichment fund. Together with Tanya, she oversees overall management of the Trust

Tanya Murphy

Tanya Murphy is Zoë’s sister. She lives in Geneva, Switzerland with her husband Niall and her three children. She is a social anthropologist, with an international career in social development, specifically project monitoring and evaluation. She was inspired to set up the trust after living in South Africa from 1999 to 2001. She witnessed there the fantastic work of Bridget and the Zisize Education Trust in Ingwavuma, and the work her friend Alison was doing in Cape Town with young people who took under her wing. Tanya is in charge of the overall running of the Trust, and manages the finances, and relations with our mentors in Cape Town. She also enjoys ad hoc fundraising campaigns as required.

Laura Burch

Laura Burch is a PR consultant who lives in London and would have been Zoë’s sister-in-law. She has been a Trust sponsor since its inception and she, along with Zoë’s brother Zac, has spent some time in Ingwavuma, South Africa, getting to know the community and the children and families that are supported by the Zoe Trust. Laura supports marketing initiatives and enjoys creating fundraising events.

Dorothy Schwarz

Dorothy Schwarz lives in Colchester. Six years after her daughter Zoë died she wrote Behind a Glass Wall – anatomy of a suicide (Chipmunka Press 2006). The book attempts to give Zoë a posthumous life and to understand why someone takes that terrible decision. That the Zoe Trust grew out of her sister Tanya’s desire to honour Zoë’s memory is a great solace to her. One of the founding members of the Zoe trust she is delighted at how it is expanding. Dorothy is semi-retired from teaching Creative Writing to Adults. She is still writing fiction and had her first London production in August 2014. Since Zoë’s death in August 2000, one of her most absorbing activities has been the care of parrots. She is now a well-known avian journalist, writing for UK and international parrot magazines. Dorothy provides editorial support for all written work and helps shape the direction of the Trust.

Hannah Webb
Hannah has now retired from the trust, we would like to thank her for all of her help and support during her time with us.

Hannah grew up and lives in London. After doing some volunteering through her school she was inspired to reach out to Tanya Murphy about getting involved with the Zoe Trust and subsequently travelled to South Africa in her summer holiday in 2016. She spent a month getting to know our children at Khethani School, Ingwavuma and being mentored into the trust by Emily and was thrilled to become a trustee in 2017. She has since taken on responsibility for our four youngest children in Ingwavuma and organised the first Zoe Trust Celebration in July 2017. She is currently about to undertake a longer trip to South Africa in 2018 before going to read English at the University of Cambridge.

Mylene Sylvestre
Mylene Sylvestre has now retired from the trust, but as one of our founding trustees and an ongoing sponsor, we would like to thank her for all of her help and support over the years.

As head of newspaper sales and marketing at the Guardian and one of Zoë’s closest friends from school in France, Mylene offered valuable support to the Zoe Trust during her time as trustee.

Bettina van Oosten
Bettina van Oosten has now retired from the trust, we would like to thank her for all of her help and support during her time with us.

Bettina van Oosten was born in Nigeria. Bettina spent most of her childhood in Brunei. She studied History in Leiden, Holland, before working in real estate in Amsterdam. She moved to Switzerland four years ago where Tanya introduced her to the Zoe Trust. Bettina manages the finances with Tanya, and takes on way more than her fair share of administrative tasks.

Sarojini Vittatchi
The Zoe Trust mourns one of its founding trustees Sarojini Vittachi who died in her home in Bangalore on February 22nd 2015 after a brave battle with cancer. With her career in UNICEF, she was well placed to offer guidance to our trust in our early days. For everyone who knew her she was an inspiration. As well as being a highly placed international public servant she was the most loving and and faithful friend to everyone who had the good fortune to know her personally.

Sarojini Vittatchi lives in Bangalore, India, and she is Zoë’s Godmother. She has worked in third world development for some 40 years, in tribal and rural areas. She worked for UNICEF for over two decades in many countries round the world, and her final posting was as Regional Director covering 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. She recently set up a small resource and information centre for non-governmental groups, called Girls Education Plus, GEd +. Her experience brought the realisation that one key, an important key, to breaking through poverty, is education, particularly of girls. Sarojini supports Tanya and Emily in daily strategic decision making.

Walter Schwarz
The Zoe Trust mourns one of its founding trustees Walter Schwarz who died, in his sleep, at his home in Greenachres,on the 25th August 2018. His calm and diplomatic nature will be missed by everyone in The Zoe Trust family no more so than his family. His orbituary can be found here https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/sep/10/walter-schwarz-obituary.

Walter Schwarz, Zoë’s father, was born in Vienna and came to England as a child in 1937. He went to the Manchester Grammar School, studied at Queen’s College, Oxford and was on active service as an infantry officer in Malaya during the Emergency. He was the Guardian’s correspondent in Nigeria, Israel, India and France, finishing his career as the paper’s Religious Affairs Correspondent. His books include The Arabs in Israel, Nigeria, Living Lightly – travels in Post-Consumer Society (with Dorothy Schwarz) and The Ideal Occupation, his memoirs which include an account of Zoë’s life and death. With Dorothy, their son Zac and daughter-in-law Laura, he visited Ingwavuma in April, 2013, to attend the inauguration of the first orphanage building, named the Zoë House. Walter manages bank payments and provides editorial support for all written work.