Friends of Refugees London is led by a board of volunteer trustees, each of whom serves as a trustee for one, two, or three years. Our trustees also take on voluntary roles to help deliver the services of Friends of Refugees London.
We are also seeking new Trustees to join our board and provide governance and support to our dynamic, growing charity. We particularly invite applications from people with lived experience of forced displacement, refugee resettlement, or the process of seeking asylum. If you feel you have the skills, time, and interest in becoming a trustee, please download the Trustee Role Description and get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shaharazad has worked in the non-profit sector for over 20 years, and held directorships in international children’s rights organisations for over a decade.
In her professional capacity, she has worked with Education Cannot Wait, the multilateral fund for education in emergencies, and successfully advocated for the rights of refugee children to become a priority work area for the international children’s advocacy movement Laureates and Leaders for Children.
Since 2015, she has volunteered for local and national refugee support organisations in the UK and in Greece, with substantial field experience working with refugees from across the Middle East and Africa, and previously acted as an advisor to Refugee Rights Europe.
Karen spent more than 15 years as a public relations director, specialising in devising, planning and executing campaigns across the consumer category. Responsible for a global roster of clients, she is experienced in media relations, strategic planning, relationship and stakeholder management and crisis management.
In 2015, she undertook a Masters in Social Anthropology which gave her a passion for refugee rights and civic empowerment, and led to volunteering opportunities including Citizens UK and Lewisham Refugee Welcome, a community group which supports resettled refugees in Lewisham by matching them with befrienders.
Karen sits on the Steering Group of the Lewisham Sanctuary Borough and on the Lewisham Migration Forum. She was previously a trustee of Donate4Refugees, and is a Clore Social Impact Leadership Programme Fellow.
Katie Gibbs has spent over a decade working in the tech industry, advising large corporations and not-for-profit organisations on how to design user-centric experiences with new and emerging technologies.
She’s passionate about using tech for good and the AI for Good projects that she’s led include creating conversational assistants to provide ongoing support to patients with dementia and to young people receiving cancer treatment.
She is dedicated to making London a more inclusive and welcoming space, and brings her user-centric approach to the services we offer at Friends Of Refugees London.
Robert has over ten years’ experience volunteering with groups which support refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and abroad.
From 2017-21 he sat on the steering group of Lewisham Refugee Welcome (LRW) and was previously a trustee of Greenwich Refugee Aid and Community Enterprise (GRACE). Robert is multilingual and holds a PhD. He has a particular interest in refugee and migration related policy and research, as well as peer-to-peer learning with refugee groups including in Germany.
Frances is an experienced HR Director having worked for 20 years in global companies supporting leaders with strategic people activities. Frances is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. With a degree in Human Geography, she has a keen interest in understanding social aspects of society and learning more about other cultures of the world.
She has travelled extensively in Europe, the Middle East and Asia and spent 2 years living and working in Singapore.Frances enjoys living in London and is keen to be able to support others moving to the area to discover what a great city it is! She is keen to make a difference to others in society and support those who are most in need to enable their transition to the UK to be a more pleasant experience and help them to understand our culture as well as become embedded in their communities.
Cristine has been employed for over 30 years by local authorities and third-sector organisations in London, working in the areas of community and neighbourhood development, project development, grant-giving and fundraising.
Since her retirement in 2009 she has volunteered with Citizens UK campaigns promoting fair wages, jobs and safety for young people, affordable housing, refugee resettlement and rights for migrants and asylum seekers. From 2019 onwards, she has been working with the environmental group Extinction Rebellion, focusing on support for arrested protesters as they navigate the judicial system.
Tibebu holds an MSc from Addis Ababa University on Population Studies, which focused on the interplay of fertility, mortality and migration; population growth and development; measuring the rate of population growth; and predicting the growth for industrial sectors. He worked in local government offices while in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, in the capacity of junior expert on education, planning, and people mobilisation. Following this Tibebu worked in managerial positions in local charities for vulnerable children and elderly people care.
After arriving in the UK, Tibebu studied Health and Social Care, and worked in the care sector for 3 years, both as a care assistant and as care coordinator. Currently, he is studying for an MSc in Project Management while working for Lewisham Refugee Council.
Josephine Wagner Poedenphant
Josephine has worked in professional services for 20 years, mainly in international roles. With a broader marketing and business development background, she now specialises in account management, market strategy and client listening and manages an international team. Josephine has a keen interest in travel and culture and, although originally Danish, she has lived, worked and studied in the UK, Singapore, and Thailand for the past 24 years. With experience of relocation, including with young children, she has some appreciation of the challenges of settling into a new country and culture. She strongly believes that her local area, and the UK as a whole, would benefit from developing stronger links with, and a better support network for, refugees. She is keen to use her international background to help refugees settle into their new lives and develop a stronger local understanding of the culture, religion and languages they bring to enrich our society.