Andy Chaggar is the former CEO and co-founder of International Disaster Volunteers (IDV). He is now the UK Director of Talent RISE, the charitable youth employment foundation of the world’s fastest growing digital-tech recruitment specialist.
Andy originally qualified with a first class honours in Electronic Engineering, and designed computer processors in Munich, Germany for five years. However, he began to question his work’s meaning and impact, and in 2004 he set off to travel the world.
Just seven weeks later, while spending Christmas in the town of Khao Lak, Andy lost his partner and was almost killed when the south-east Asian tsunami struck. Although Andy was eventually rescued, he was trapped alone and facing death for four hours. This experience, and witnessing the overall devastation first hand, had a profound and permanent impact on Andy.
Following his physical recovery, Andy began his journey as a humanitarian by managing the reconstruction of almost seventy homes for fellow tsunami survivors near Khao Lak. He went on to co-found IDV in 2008, and led IDV’s operations in Haiti, the Philippines and Nepal following some of the world’s biggest disasters. Under his leadership IDV raised over £1,000,000 and supported over 23,000 disaster survivors.
By 2017 Andy had once again found love, and made the difficult but deliberate choice to leave international disaster response behind to focus on raising a family. Motivated by his own experiences of growing up on a disadvantaged council estate he now helps young people to access job, apprenticeship and work experience opportunities via Talent RISE. Since joining Talent RISE Andy has built the UK charity from the ground-up and successfully grown its operations while faced with a global pandemic.
At IDV Andy inspired and empowered over 500 international volunteers to make a direct impact changing the lives of disaster survivors in three countries. Many of these volunteers have gone on to work for other charities, and some have set-up entirely new organisations themselves. At Talent RISE Andy has personally motivated and coached hundreds of young people, and has guided over 50 to secure life-changing opportunities. Ultimately, by working with Andy, young people and volunteers alike have been empowered to change their own lives and the lives of others.
Andy’s powerful story and work has featured in a wide range of international, national and local media. In 2015 he appeared with Matt Baker in episode three of The Gift on BBC1. Soon after he appeared in National Geographic’s The 2000’s Greatest Tragedies, which was broadcast in over a dozen countries worldwide. Having stepped out of the limelight to welcome his beautiful daughter Alyss to the world, Andy returned to national TV screens in August 2021 when his story featured in the 3-part Channel 5 documentary ‘The Boxing Day Tsunami’.
Andy’s talks describe how surviving the tsunami motivated him to return to Thailand to help others, which in turn, helped him to heal and gain a new perspective. Andy then goes on to describe how these experiences motivated him to pursue a new career and build 2 charities from the ground up.
While telling his story Andy can also cover several key messages, many of which will resonate in the wake of Covid-19 and lockdowns. Depending on your needs and interests these key messages can include:
– Resilience and determination
– Grief, isolation and rebuilding connections
– Motivation and a positive mindset
– Social mobility and imposter syndrome
– Maintaining perspective and a work-life balance
To make an enquiry, or to book Andy as a speaker, please use this contact form.