Staff and Board
Jacqueline Adusei | CEO
Jacqueline has worked within the charity and social care sector for over 30 years, and as a CEO for 16 years. She has been instrumental in the setting up and delivery of support services for refugees, including temporary and supported housing and the coordination of complementary partnership/signpost agencies services. She is also a qualified Personal Development and Business Coach and a certified NLP Practitioner. Furthermore, Jacqueline is a passionate advocate for empowering women: she is on the Board of WISH, an organisation focussed on championing positive and beneficial outcomes for all women, regardless of their role or experience, whilst aiming to boost women’s futures in housing with a difference; and she is a Crossing Thresholds Mentor which delivers programmes that transform the lives of women across the UK.
Philip Thorpe | Head of Client Services
Philip came to Refugee Resource in July 2023 with over 15 years of experience working with asylum seeker and refugee communities in the UK and internationally. He holds a Masters Degree in International Development and Emergency Practice from CENDEP at Oxford Brookes and has worked for the Home Office, as well as UNHCR, IOM and Save the Children. His international work has taken him to Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as, Bangladesh, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Hong Kong SAR, where he was Officer-in-Charge for the UN Refugee Agency before returning to the UK in 2022. Philip sees himself as an advocate for those whose voices are not heard, standing with those in need of protection and building communities in which refugees can thrive, not just survive. A key focus of his work has been improving refugee participation, as well as access to education, training and livelihoods, and promoting a ‘whole of society’ approach to refugee response. He thrives on delivering positive change and believes that meaningful and smart collaboration within teams, across sectors and throughout society is the key to solving the biggest global challenges.
Rebecca Wilkey | Fundraising and New Initiatives Manager
Rebecca has spent over a decade advocating for and supporting refugees and asylum seekers navigating resettlement in both Europe and the US. She spent a better part of those years working in US refugee resettlement contexts, managing program funding and donor relationships, supporting staff with program design and implementation, and ensuring program excellence through regular monitoring and evaluation. She is passionate about increasing the reach of refugee mental health and psychosocial support programming through expanding funding portfolios, so programs can have the resources necessary to empower refugees, whose wellbeing and community engagement gives back tenfold. She enjoys helping stakeholders, donors, and volunteers see the incredible impact of their donations.
Sue Leigh | HR Consultant & Executive Assistant
Sue joins Refugee Resource having spent all her career within the printing industry and most recently, as HR Manager and PA. Sue has a great deal of experience within HR and in particular, the Ethical Trading Initiative base-code which is an internationally recognised code of good labour practice.
Sushila Dhall | Capacity Building Lead and Counsellor
I have been working with people with mental health challenges for over 30 years, as a therapist for 26 years, and at RR working with refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants since 2004. I also offer trainings and supervision to people working on the frontline with people who have been forced to flee or are vulnerable migrants.
Heather Al-Yousuf | Counsellor
Heather Al-Yousuf joined the counselling team at Refugee Resource in 2015 and specialises in working with young people in trans-cultural contexts. She trained in systemic and family therapy to practitioner level in 2010 and is a Relate- registered family and couple counsellor and member of the association for family therapy and systemic practice.
Joanna Pavelin | Finance and Administration Manager
Joanna has spent the past 20 years working in Oxford for the not-for-profit sector after a degree in IT and Business Studies. Her career has mostly been in administration, however she has also taught IT to beginners and English as a foreign language, and in more recent years expanded into book-keeping and finance. Her places of work ranged from small community-based organisations such as Leys News - a community newspaper in Blackbird Leys which provided training and the chance for local people to be involved in community journalism, to larger charities such as Oxfam, and the University of Oxford. At Refugee Resource she is responsible for the finance and administration systems and managing the office contracts such as mobile phones and IT.
Rachel Lebus | Associate Counsellor
Rachel Lebus is a UKCP-registered psychotherapist. She has a degree in Anthropology and a Masters in Psychotherapy from the Institute of Psychosynthesis. She also has a private practice and specialises in relationship work and trauma therapy.
Leon Beachy | Counsellor
Leon grew up bilingual in a minority culture in the US. This gave him a life-long fascination with how people perceive the same things in different ways. From 1987-2000 he lived in Kenya and Eritrea working first on mother-tongue education and then as a lecturer in social anthropology. From 1989 he began meeting Eritreans in Nairobi and quickly became aware of the life of displaced people. Moving to the UK, he wanted to work with displaced people and Refugee Resource seemed like a natural fit. Since 2014 he has worked on various programmes there and in 2023 switched to his current role as a counsellor. He is passionate about the shared humanity of all people.
Eva Sam | Social Inclusion Officer
Eva is multilingual and speaks French, English, Agni as well as understanding some Fante and Spanish. She worked in the hospitality industry over the last 30 years, and acquired a range of qualifications and personal skills. Due to the corona virus pandemic, she decided to change direction but maintain her focus on people’s satisfaction and experiences. Her passion has always been people, food and plants. Meeting and working with people from different backgrounds and expertise fascinates her as there is always something new to learn. She is known by her friends as the orchid whisperer as whatever she touches flourishes. Her energy is alive, contagious and her motto is “Together we stand, divided we fall”.
Aoife Horgan | Mentoring and Volunteering Services Co-ordinator
Aoife has recently returned to the UK after studying a Master's degree in Political Philosophy in Barcelona, Spain. Having studied International Relations as a Bachelor's degree, she is passionate about the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum in a global context. She has had previous employment in a national housing and support company working with UASC clients, as well as the Development Office at Oxford University. She grew up in East Oxford, and feels strongly about improving experiences for refugees and people seeking asylum who move to the area.
Alaa Safi | Marketing and Fundraising Co-ordinator
Alaa has a wide range of knowledge and expertise reflected in her work experience and education. Alaa is currently a trainee counsellor in her final year with a master's degree in Development and Emergency Practice. She has experience working and volunteering with several NGOs and UN agencies in Palestine on different projects. She strongly believes in the importance of youth participation in decision making. She values counselling in empowering refugees to work through their trauma and re-access their inner strength and resilience. She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion and the wealth of experience and knowledge that it brings to any community.
Judith Rassmann | Counsellor
Dr Judith Rassmann is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist specialised in working with asylum seeking children, young people and their families. She runs the Refugee Resource school’s based Therapy Project at Oxford Spires Academy. She has worked for Refugee Resource since 2016 and is a registered member of The Association of Child Psychotherapists.
Jameela Shodunke | Refugee Resource Women’s Service Co-ordinator
Through her work with the women's Group, Jameela aims to share awareness on Health, Education, volunteering or employment opportunities and Social Care for women service users of Refugee Resource. The activities that the women's group take part in include: visits to City farms, Botanical garden, walks in South Park as well as annual events such as International Women’s Day, Exhibition at Old Fire Station, and Refugee Week.
Charlotta Nuboer | Counsellor
Charlotta has worked with asylum seekers and refugees for 18 years in counselling, education and support settings. She grew up in the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA and then lived in Africa for seven years (in Namibia, Kenya and Togo) before settling in Oxford. In 2012 she set up the Orientation Programme for newly arrived Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children in Oxfordshire and ran it for eight years. In 2019 she qualified as a counsellor, having been Refugee Resource’s first ever counselling placement student. She has been a counsellor at Refugee Resource (and private practice) ever since and specialises in trauma therapy. She is passionate about enabling people to find their own strength in order to build a new life here in the UK.
Susanna Lee | Counsellor
Susanna Lee started her career in education, working for twenty years leading community, college and prison-based groups, aiming to empower individuals from 14 to sometimes late adulthood with learning. She received her core training as a Psychodynamic Counsellor from the University of Oxford to MSt level and has since expanded her approach by training in group analytic work and also creative writing for therapeutic purposes. She worked for five years as a therapist in acute mental health care and as a counsellor, has worked for the NHS, in schools and University colleges. She has a small private practice.
Louise Walker | Counsellor
Louise started working with Refugee Resource as a volunteer on the Front Desk in 2017, she was also a Mentor as part of the Mentoring & Befriending service. Inspired by her mentoring experience, Louise then trained as an integrative counsellor at Abingdon & Witney College, with person centred at the core of her approach. She is a registered member of the BACP. She has an MSc in Psychological Trauma from University of Chester. Since 2022, Louise has been working on the Ukraine Programme at Asylum Welcome offering advice and guidance to refugees and hosts in Oxfordshire.
Jenna Starr | Counsellor
Jenna Starr joined the counselling team at Refugee Resource in 2023. She is a BACP registered psychotherapist. She has a degrees in International Development (MA) and Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy (MSc). She also has a private practice and specialises in attachment related issues.
Afraa Hasona | Bookkeeper
Afraa has Information and Technology as well as Economic and Accounting Finance B.SC Honour Degree. Afraa has worked in the past with Oxfam and UN organisations in the finance department. Besides her experienced in finance and banking, Afraa wrote many articles on peaceful coexistence between the various monotheistic religions, and respect for doctrinal privacy. Afraa is also a member in journalists without borders.
Sara Baba | Client Services Assistant
Sara holds a BSC in Journalism and Communication Sciences and also has a rich experience in customer service, hospitality and sales as well as working with non-profit organisations. Since 2019, Sara has volunteered with Sanctuary Hosting Oxford and Refugee Resource and has now joined as a staff member. Sara, being a refugee herself, is passionate about working with refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants which enriches her understanding of the refugee experience.
Being bilingual, Sara makes our clients feel at home the second they walk in and is able to support our Arabic and English speaking clients with any inquiry they may have.
Vicky Hodges | Counsellor
Vicky joined Refugee Resource in 2023. She qualified as a counsellor in 2020 at Abingdon and Witney College and is a registered member of the BACP. She also works as a school counsellor and has a diploma in Adolescent and Schools Counselling from Metanoia Institute. Vicky is a CELTA-qualified teacher of English and has taught refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford, which helped inspire her to become a counsellor. She is very interested in working with loss, trauma and cultural identity. She had a first career in press and communications and holds a degree in German and Linguistics (MA) from Oxford University.
Board of Directors
We are currently looking for new trustees to join our Board of Trustees with a fundraising background. Please get in touch for more information.
Belinda Coote | Chair of Trustees, member of the Finance Committee
Belinda has extensive experience and knowledge of the voluntary sector both in the UK and overseas gained through a career that reflects her strong interest in social justice. After completing her social work training and working as a Probation Officer in inner London she spent 2 years in the Philippines as a VSO volunteer followed by 18 years working for Oxfam, including in Bangladesh, Nepal and Southern Africa. She left Oxfam to become Chief Executive of Medical Aid for Palestinians and has since occupied a number of senior roles, including as Chief Executive, in a range of international development organisations. Latterly her focus has been on interim management and organisational change. Belinda is author of several books on international trade has been a trustee of a number of organisations including INTRAC, Asylum Welcome and FoBZu (Friends of Birzeit University).
Ray Pope| Treasurer
Ray is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accounts and has over 40 years’ experience of leading finance teams in large corporate organisations. He joined the board of Trustees in 2022 bringing with him a deep understanding of the finance activities of the charity together with a passion to help deliver its aims and objectives.
Kate brings several decades of business development and leadership experience to her Trustee role. A career in international educational publishing culminated with Oxford University Press, as Managing Director for Oxford Education. This included responsibility for OUP’s operations in Africa and Australia, as well as for its UK-based schools and children’s division. Kate’s publishing career followed four years teaching English in Europe and East Africa, two as a VSO in a rural girls’ school in Kenya. When Kate moved on from corporate life at the end of 2018, she studied for a post-graduate diploma in the International Centre for Coaching and Mentoring at Oxford Brookes University. She is currently mentoring women in the publishing industry in Kenya, and also mentors vulnerable migrants in two Oxfordshire contexts.
Michael Taylor | Deputy Chair of Trustees, member of the Finance Committee and Staff Liaison Trustee
Michael Taylor has a background in both the academic and the development sectors. In a remarkable career spanning many roles, he was director of Christian Aid for 12 years, Professor of Social Theology at Birmingham University, and has chaired the boards of a number of charities, including the Burma Action Group, the Jubilee Debt Campaign, Health Poverty Action, Responding to Conflict, and Mines Advisory Group.
Nuha is a community leader who set up Syrian Sisters in 2016 and now advises and supports other community groups. As a refugee herself, she is able to walk alongside other asylum seekers and refugees which has been a passion for the last nine years. Her strengths are in partnership development, teamwork and supporting vulnerable people, based on social work and research experience in both Syria and the UK. Nuha speaks Arabic, Kurdish, and English fluently.
Professor Donald Ridley CPsychol, AFBPsS | Associate Dean, Strategy and Development, HCPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist
At Oxford Brookes, Donald is responsible for formulation and implementation of organisational strategy to meet key organisational KPIs. He works with NHS trusts to meet workforce needs, develops Trans-National Education, CPD programme/commercial spin outs and led the technical upgrade of the workload planning system across the whole of Brookes. Donald has set up and managed successful collaborative partnerships in Russia, Greece, Malaysia and the UK and developed the distance/blended/advanced entry offer. As Director of Teaching and Learning he led interventions in NSS/DLHE/Graduate Outcomes and other TEF related activities that led to significant, measured improvements in student experience and outcomes. Donald developed community mental health services in Russia, addiction treatment services and refugee/IDP education in Georgia. He consults widely. E.g. Cognitive activities of police officers managing major road incidents, error prevention automotive manufacturers and training and development in error prevention/ risk assessment in safety critical systems. He was an independent safety assessor on the modernisation of the London Underground SSR. After graduating in Psychology while working full time in the City of London, Donald joined the MOD examining systems usability and cockpit systems. He then joined Nuclear Electric designing defences against cognitive error for Nuclear Power Stations. As a research Biochemist Donald characterised the Na/K ATP-ase in Red Blood Cells, as applied to Beta Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Disease. His research examines organisational aspects of error prevention and risk management, strategic leadership development and cross-cultural aspects of organisational development. Donald is a BPS Chartered Psychologist and an HCPC Registered Practitioner Occupational Psychologist. He plays trombone in the Trans-Siberian March Band a world music ensemble playing riotous dance music from Eastern Europe and the Balkans
Naznin Ali | Deputy Safeguarding
Naznin has worked for 18 years in the health and social care sector both operationally and in management. She is a trained family therapist and has considerable safeguarding experience.
Hannah Newth | Trustee
Hannah began a career supporting asylum seeking and refugee children in 2000 when she became Asylum Welcome’s first youth worker. Since then, her career has taken her from Oxford to various countries in Africa and the Middle East via Birmingham & London - all working with children and families whose lives have been affected by migration, displacement or trafficking. For the past 7 years she has been working for Save the Children as Senior Child Protection Adviser specialising in ‘Children on the Move’.
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