Our Team

Operations Team

Fiona Mann Founder & CEO

Fiona set up Project MAMA after several years working with expectant mothers seeking-asylum in the UK who were survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery. Fiona has worked within the context of women’s support services for 12 years in the UK and further afield. She completed a masters degree in Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) with expertise in sexual violence amongst vulnerable populations. Fiona comes from a background of supporting survivors through grassroots movements and solidarity projects.

Azza MustafarAdvocacy Ambassador for Arabic Speakers

Azza is a community health and advocacy worker, as well as an experienced collaborative leader. She has supported asylum seeker and refugee women for 14 years. Her work is centred on working with multiple forms of violence against women and girls, particularly within African and Arab speaking communities. She has undertaken studies in Counselling which has given her an increased awareness of the challenging complexities of women living with trauma.

Esther DeeksClient Liaison Coordinator

Esther comes from a background of working in migrant camps in and around Calais and Dunkirk. Her involvement on the ground started in 2016 with the Calais WoodYard providing shelter and firewood to displaced people living in the ’Jungle’. Since it’s eviction she has worked with various grassroots organisations in and around the area distributing essential items, providing signposting, advocacy, and emergency responses to the adverse conditions these people face. Esther studied International Migration and Ethnic Relations at Malmö University in Sweden with a specific focus on refugee law and asylum accommodation and support conditions in the UK. She joined the Project MAMA team as part of the solidarity care packages project in 2020 and has since been involved in running fundraising auctions and administrative support. Driven by her passion for people, Esther is committed to supporting and standing in solidarity with those who experience hardship exacerbated through marginalisation.

Rose CodnerMother Companions Coordinator

Rose has a background in languages with a degree in Arabic (and Farsi) with Middle Eastern and Islamic studies. Following a stint of work in the Middle East after graduating, she has dedicated her career to working with those seeking asylum in the UK. Most recently, she worked as case worker for female survivors of trafficking through Unseen, and then moved on to found ‘RefuLingua’ – a grass roots language project in which refugees teach their native languages (with Bridges for Communities). Rose has previously completed a doula training and has been present at a small number of friends births. She lives in Bristol with her family and when not working, loves to spend spare time pottering in her local community allotment.

Sophia HankeOperations Coordinator

Sophia studied Sociology at UWE until 2017. She has since cofounded the Bristol-based video production company CrissCross Films which focuses on using video as a tool to raise awareness of social issues and inspire social action. She is interested in exploring the lived experiences of mothers and motherhood under challenging personal and structural circumstances. To support vulnerable mothers more directly, she joined Project MAMA at the end of 2019 as a fundraising volunteer.

Silvia Jimenez CruzCommunications Coordinator

Silvia has been working in charity sector communications since 2014. Silvia studied Sociology in Chile before moving to the UK, where she worked as a freelance researcher. Since her arrival to Bristol, she has been involved in several refugee agencies in different capacities. After the birth of her children, she became a breastfeeding peer supporter and advocate. Silvia is passionate about social justice and enabling the voices of communities being heard both online and offline. She is also an avid ukulele player and knitter.

Deb Joffe Trusts & Grants Fundraising Coordinator

Deb is a former midwife who worked in Bradford and London. She later moved to the voluntary sector where she has been working for a number of years in fundraising and grant management with Bristol charities. Her father sought political asylum in the UK in the 1960s. She has been engaged in campaigning for social justice and environmental issues all her adult life and volunteered with Bristol Refugee Action before it closed.

Samanta HaxhagiqiCommunity Hub Assistant

Bio coming soon.

Dominique Sakoilsky Volunteer Supervisor (Volunteer)

Dominique has a post graduate Diploma in Relational Counselling Supervision and contributed to the first Relate Family Counselling service in the UK. Dominique has 40 years experience working in the arena of birth, parenting and family life, initially at the Active Birth Centre in London, where she continues to work on the professional training team. Dominique has trained doulas and antenatal teachers for over twenty years, offering trainings in the UK, Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, India and Lithuania, culminating in the publishing of her 2007 book The Seven Secrets of Joyful Birth. She is trained craniosacral therapist and has expertise in birth, healing, prenatal and birth trauma work.

Wendy Cox Policy & Specialist Needs Advisor (Volunteer)

Wendy spent most of her working life in the NHS as a midwife, health visitor and counsellor. Wendy has demonstrable experience as a sexual health worker supporting people with HIV, including women with substance misuse issues and women working in the sex industry. Wendy more recently coordinated a bereavement service open to anyone who had lost a baby or child. She brings a profound understanding of the needs of vulnerable women to the role.

Chris Suffolk Admin Assistant (Volunteer)

Chris has a background in psychology and sustainable design. She has lived in and around Bristol for around 30 years. Her mother is Zambian and her father is British. Chris continues to work in sustainable design but after having two children, she decided she’d like to volunteer for a charity which supports woman during pregnancy, and the early stages of parenthood.

Trustees

Asli Tatliadim Chair of Trustees

Asli has been working with people seeking asylum and refugees for the past six years. With Kurdish origins, she grew up in Turkey. There, she worked as a campaigner and in the front lines with child labourers among refugee and internally displaced populations. Since 2017, she has been working with people seeking asylum in Bristol. Asli has an MSc in Anthropology from UCL, where she has investigated minority and identity rights from a political economy framework. In the past 12 years, Asli has worked in Peru, the UK and Turkey on multiple grass-roots projects on child, migrant, refugee and indigenous rights issues. Currently she also works as a communications specialist at University of Bristol. She is a mother of one.

Heeral Dave Treasurer

Heeral is passionate about social justice causes, she’s been working as a management consultant for 7 years, working with local government, central government and the charity sector, supporting on a variety of projects, from monitoring and evaluation, strategic reviews, to social care reform and implementation. She has supported childcare charities in London and Kenya, and previously worked with Children’s social care.

Ruthie Whincop

Ruthie is a Registered Midwife in Bristol with a huge passion for human rights in childbirth for all women and birthing people. Prior to re-training to become a midwife she worked in the charity sector in various roles and studied Sociology and Politics at Goldsmiths University. It was during her time at uni that she became passionate about refugee and asylum seeking people’s rights and was heavily involved in solidarity campaigns. Since being back in Bristol she has volunteered for Borderlands charity.

Beth Benedict Fundraising Trustee

Beth has worked in the social change sector for 13 years, beginning her career as a volunteer with Refugee Action in Plymouth. She went on to spend 8 years working internationally to support young people to realise their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and has held senior leadership roles in the UK and Zambia. For the past four years, Beth has led Comic Relief’s Government Partnerships team, delivering funding programmes on a range of issues in the UK and Africa, including women’s rights, ending violence against women and girls, and women’s leadership.

Angela Conway

Angela has worked as a named nurse for safeguarding children over the past 5 years both in Wiltshire and more recently joining a mental health trust in Cornwall. Safeguarding has been integral to her career over 20 plus years from working in a prison drug unit to health visiting. She is passionate about equality and high standards of services for all vulnerable families.

Julia Dixon Barrow

Julia has worked with refugees and migrants offering different support services in Bristol since graduating with a Postgraduate in Career Information, Advice and Guidance in 2012. Julia started her career offering Career Advice and Guidance within organisations supporting asylum seekers and refugees. She was inspired by individual stories, perseverance and determination and moved on to develop refugee support services from implementing strategy, managing projects supporting with integration, campaigning, and advocating for policy change. Since having two children, she noticed the disparity of support women receiving pre and post birth and passionate about change.

Catherine Jackson

Catherine is a solicitor with over 10 years’ experience of employment and immigration law, in both the private and charity sector. She graduated with an LLB from the University of Bristol and has a Masters in Human Rights from UCL. The child and grandchild of migrant mothers, she has volunteered for various organisations supporting refugees and migrants ever since university. She is herself a mother of two and brings her legal expertise as well as her passion for supporting other mothers to her role of trustee.

Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz

Josephine has over a decade’s experience in the international development and humanitarian sector, in a range of campaigns, research, policy and advocacy roles. She spent the last 8 years working for Oxfam in Turkey, where she worked with refugee-led organisations and networks. She currently leads policy influencing and public affairs work at Praxis, a charity that supports migrants and refugees in crisis through provision of a range of services, including immigration advice and housing.

Mother Companions

Our incredible Mother Companions are the beginning and end of all our work. A huge thank you!

Abi Matthews, Alice Richie, Alison White, Amy de Havilland-Hall, Beth Richardson, Claire Fryer, Clara Hazleton, Emma Burton, Gail Daniel, Gemma Lomri, Jane Holder, Jay Urquhart, Kim Ives, Luiza Morris, Marion Cooper, Natalie Harrison, Olivia Denham, Rebecca Hunt, Sally Balfourth.

Ambassadors

Rebecca Vincent

Rebecca is a tattoo artist and activist living in London. She started working with refugees in 2015 and over the last 3 years she has coordinated collections of aid to distribute in Calais and Dunkirk. Rebecca is an advocate for women who experience postnatal depression under significant immigration pressures. Rebecca brings to the role her own personal experience of postnatal depression along with ensuring that no woman should go through the postnatal period unsupported.

Gabriella Wilde

Gabriella began working in fashion and film from 15 years old. working across the world on different projects in print, film and television from a young age. Gabriella said her hardest challenge was when she became a mother at 24, juggling work and raising her three children and states that becoming a mother being the most rewarding and difficult time of her life. Gabriella is currently raising her three boys in Somerset while intermittently studying psychotherapy and continuing her career in the film and fashion industries.

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