Sandra Elisabeth Roelofs (Netherlands, 1968) was initially educated as a translator at the Brussels State Economics Institute where she majored with honors in French and German Her interest in other cultures as well as her humanitarian drive brought her to Georgia where she initially worked for the International Red Cross and the Dutch Consulate.
She set up her own charity foundation SOCO (www.soco.ge) in 1999. When her husband Mikhei; Saakashvilil, a promising Georgian lawyer, got involved in politics she was teaching French at a Business School in Tbilisi and at the same time advised European companies as a business consultant. Her husband got elected President of Georgia in 2004 and served two terms till October 2013.
During her time as First Lady, Mrs. Roelofs was deeply involved in public health: she got a medical nursing degree in Georgia, set up breast and cervical cancer screening in Georgia, chaired ministerial councils on reproductive health and infectious diseases and was appointed goodwill ambassador for the World Health Organization. She was also an advocate for healthy life style and palliative care and continues to assist children with rare diseases and disability.
Sandra and her youngest son Nikoloz reside in Georgia. Her oldest son Eduard works in Philadelphia as a journalist. Sandra presently often travels to her parents in the Netherlands and her husband in Ukraine. She is aspiring to start a PhD at John Hopkins School of Public Health and is awaiting approval of her application.
In Georgia, she works as an international consultant on public health, lectures master students at the University of Georgia and directs her charity foundation SOCO that has a medical mobile team, a study grant program and a project on rehabilitation for the disabled.
Sandra speaks Dutch, English, French, German, Russian and Georgian.