Meet the African Impact Team
At African Impact we believe it’s the people that make an organisation great and we are proud to have built a team of experienced, passionate, motivated and committed individuals who all have something special to add. We ♥ our team!
Andrew and Wendy Conolly
The African Encounter team, of which African Impact is the volunteering arm, is led by Andrew and Wendy Conolly, who have more than twenty years' experience in the safari, tourism and hospitality industry. Through African Impact, they hope to benefit the people of Africa and celebrate the continent's richly diverse landscapes and wildlife. Their passions in life include their children and grandchildren, and spending quality family time together; as well as traveling around Africa and seeking new opportunities to make a difference.
Best advice ever received: : You will reap what you sow! And David Livingstone's words 200 years ago: "I will go anyway as long as it be forward. If men want to walk on paved roads, I do not want them. I want men who will walk where there are no roads at all"
Favourite animal: The mongoose because of its courage and ability to work as a family unit.
Sarah is a Marketing and Social Science graduate of the University of Cape Town. As a passionate co-founder of African Impact in 2004 she was involved with marketing and project development until 2011. During that time, acquiring sustainable and measurable results from work based in Africa, and being able to travel to different intriguing destinations on a regular basis, made her even more passionate about the work that African Impact is doing on the ground. Although now a non-executive Director and pursuing a career in food writing and television, Sarah remains fully supportive of African Impact and its goals.
Robert is an Economics graduate of the University of Cape Town. He was also a co-founder of African Impact in 2004 and was involved with operations and project development for the organisation until 2010, focusing on projects in Mozambique and Zambia. During that time, Rob worked towards setting up sustainable systems and project structures in some of our more remote destinations such as community development in Vilanculos, Mozambique and with Chimpanzees in Northern Zambia.
Kevin is a Business Science graduate of the University of Cape Town and was involved with African Impact from its inception in 2004 until 2008. During this time Kevin set up robust financial structures within the organization, and set us in good stead for running projects that are financially sustainable. Kevin was also very instrumental in the development of our projects in East Africa.
Greg Bows, co-founder and MD of African Impact, will go to any lengths in the name of volunteering. He’s been trudging through jungles with bat-eating guides and charged by lions in the search for the best volunteer projects! Greg grew up in Yorkshire England and fell in love with Africa on a family Safari in 2000. In 2003 Greg took a gap year to Africa where he travelled from Ethiopia to Cape Town. After that he spent some time monitoring lions in Tembe Elephant Reserve before going to Antelope Park and meeting the Conolly family where African Impact was born. Greg is supported by a passionate and hard-working team that help to turn his visionary ideas into reality to make African Impact what it is today.
Best advice ever received: It’s hard to say but the one thing that I have been told by several people and I have seen the effects of if this advice isn’t taken, is when it comes to work – do what you love to do. I love my job, I'm proud of what we have achieved. I could never work in a job where the sole motivation is your pay check. Of course you will always have rough days and challenging times but you have to be happy and passionate about what you do!
Favourite animal: Honey badger – they are fearless and eternal optimists! Lions, leopards even elephants stay clear of them they are a no-fuss no-nonsense animal. I also love the fact that they can't be tamed.
Andrew fell in love with Africa on a safari to Kenya in 2001. At the time he was an IT Manager for a major corporation. In 2007 he decided to volunteer abroad and spent his time on a number of projects around the world including our Lion Conservation & Community Education project at Victoria Falls. From his many adventures he's learnt what makes for a fantastic volunteering experience, and spent some time managing our Community projects in St Lucia, South Africa before relocating to Cape Town and joining the African Impact head office as Operations Director.
Favourite animal: Honey Badger - if you know them, you know why!
Best superpower: I always dreamed about being able to fly, but now I wish I just had a good singing voice!
Minnesha is originally from Melbourne, Australia and is a qualified nurse and midwife. She first visited Africa in 2006 and joined our project at Antelope Park in Zimbabwe when she was on an overland tour. The experience touched her and 6 years later she returned to volunteer on the lion rehabilitation and release program. She ended up extending her stay to volunteer in local the community healthcare clinics. The opportunity to contribute in both conservation and in the community inspired Min to change her life and she's now taken on a full time role with African Impact as a Healthcare Projects Manager.
Best advice ever received: Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.
Best superpower The ability to explode kindness bombs across this entire planet!
Natascha is originally from the UK and volunteered at our St Lucia Community project in 2008. She later returned to volunteer and take on the role of Project Manager at African Impact Thanda. Since joining the team in 2011 Natascha has grown steadily within the organisation and is now managing new project development in South Africa. She likes horse riding, seafood, pasta, and the idea of getting really fit and running an ultra-marathon!
Favourite animal: Giraffe. They cheer up every day; you can never be sad in the presence of a giraffe - it's therapy at its simplest and best!
What most inspires you: The African people who have taught me the meaning of UBUNTU - to embrace other cultures, understand them and be proud and supportive of strangers.
A born and bred Capetonian, Caryn has a Diploma in Office and Business Management and is currently studying part time towards her LLB Law Degree, specialising in environmental law. Those who know her, however, will tell you that her real passions include animal rights, cruelty-free living and mastering the perfect vegan brownie (which her office mates are more than happy to test!) Not only is she a serial bunny hugger, she’s also a certified gym bunny, and has been known to brave a 5am spin class in the dead of a Cape Town winter – no mean feat!
Best superpower: Teleportation! Who wouldn’t want to go wherever they could dream of at that moment!
Sean was born and raised on a farm in the sugar cane estates in Zimbabwe and has always had a keen interest in the conservation of Africa's indigenous wildlife. He left Zimbabwe in 2005 to study at the University of Cape Town and graduated in 2008 with honours in Finance. He joined the African Impact team in 2009 as Finance Manager and is currently working towards his CFA board certification.
Favourite animal: This is a hard one! I would say the three-toed sloth or an elephant. Both are generally misunderstood, in danger of extinction and remind me a little of myself.
Best superpower: Absolute clarity. The ability to know and understand everything - as they say, knowledge is power!
Natalie was born in Cape Town but grew up in semi-rural KwaZulu-Natal. She returned to Cape Town to study before traveling to the UK and Europe for the better part of two years. She then travelled to Asia where she backpacked solo from the islands in South Thailand to north of Chiang Mai before settling in Phuket and teaching English to children and adults. Natalie returned to Cape Town in 2008 to focus on her career and came on board as Marketing Manager for African Impact in 2012. She is passionate about the outdoors, conservation, helping others and playing roller derby!
Favourite animal: : Llamas because they're unassuming, a little misunderstood and are adorably cute! I also love giraffes... and elephants, dung beetles, hedgehogs, cows...
Ideal travel destination: I'd love to travel to California to see the Redwoods - I love getting perspective, and what better way than to be reminded of how small we are in the grand scheme of things!
Kim is originally from Surry in the UK but had her heart stolen by Africa in 2006 when she first volunteered in Kenya and South Africa. Kim is excited and passionate about being able to help others have similar life-changing experiences - both volunteers and local communities. This combined with the wide skies and colourful people, has left her defenceless to the charms and magic of Africa. Kim is an avid dancer and surfer, and loves being outdoors. She is a connoisseur of coffee... specialising in frothy cappuccinos and is a believer in magic!
Best advice ever received: Don't speak it, Live it!
Best superpower: To be a Power Ranger - it's a childhood dream of mine!
Alanna is from Toronto in Canada and has been working with African Impact in St Lucia since 2011. She is currently studying via correspondence online to receive a Master's Degree in African and International Development at the University of Edinburgh. Alanna volunteered three times in St Lucia, and working with the local communities has been a passion of hers for the past five years as Project Manager. She maintains that the main reason she loves her job is she's able to ensure current and future volunteers have the life-changing experience she was able to have. She recently joined our team at the head office to assist with marketing and social media.
Kylie was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and after studying and working for a time decided to travel abroad and experience other cultures. She lived, worked and studied in the UK for over 6 years before returning to Africa where she settled in South Africa and began working for African Impact. She loves placing our volunteers on amazing projects across the continent!
Best advice ever received: Live to work, don't work to live!
What most inspires you: People who are passionate about what they do.
Emma is a past volunteer and grew up in beautiful Cape Town. After school she spent about 10 years travelling abroad and living in many fascinating parts of the world, learning new languages, exploring incredible places and meeting people from diverse backgrounds and cultures! Africa is where her true passion and inspiration for life is and she loves wildlife conservation and the people of Africa! Her dream is to open a rustic, eco-friendly, tree house style lodge on a beautiful beach, working closely with the surrounding communities.
Best advice ever received: To be an individual and not follow the safe and conventional path in life, but to follow your dreams and to travel and learn as much as possible.
Favourite animal: Monkeys - I love their cheekiness, gutsiness and amazing expressions!
Shelley is proudly Capetonian and is passionate about Africa and travel. She joined the African Impact team in 2013 and has previously worked in a range of industries including marketing and the NGO sector, where she was a key player in an organisation promoting AIDS/HIV awareness and safe sexual health across the Cape. Shelley loves to downhill skateboard, surf, hike and generally be outdoors. She enjoys reading, cooking, playing with her kids and has a real love for people and community.
Favourite animal: Manatees – they are gentle, sweet, endangered and calm!
Ideal travel destination: I’d love to travel on horseback along the US Pacific Crest Trail, commonly known as the PCT, starting at the US border at Mexico.
Marnie joined African Impact in 2013 and is originally from Zimbabwe. She spent many years living and working in the UK, South Africa and Botswana running safari lodges and working in other areas of the hospitality and tourism industry. She loves working with people, horse riding, being out in the bush, bird watching and spending time with her family.
Best advice ever received: Trust your instincts!
Favourite animal: Horses - they are beautiful to look at and their calm nature is good for the soul. In the bush though, my favourite animal to watch has got to be baboons. Funniest creatures, I could watch them all day. And I love honey badgers too!
Les joined African Impact at the beginning of 2007 with great enthusiasm for our innovative projects. She was born in Zimbabwe, and lives with her husband, Mike in Harare. Les is passionate about travel, reading and is very much a people's person. She enjoys reading and loves all animals and helping people experience the best of Africa.
Best advice ever received: Live in the moment!
Ideal travel destination: India, because it would be so different to Africa!
Gregg was born and bred in beautiful Cape Town in South Africa. He is currently studying Finance and gaining valuable working experience with African Impact while he pursues his degree. Gregg loves spending time outdoors, playing sports and doing new and exciting things - no matter how extreme!
What most inspires you: Doing work where you can see improvements and growth.
Idea travel destination: Any remote and isolated beach where the drinks are cold and the sun was always out!
Valerie is a local Capetonian with experience working in the tourism industry. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in Law and Economics and is currently studying her postgraduate Bachelor of Laws degree in her own time. Continuing to learn and enjoying the Cape Town outdoors and South African pastimes (such as having a ‘braai’) are two of Valerie’s passions. She enjoys being part of assisting and sustaining African communities and conservation projects and knowing she’s making a meaningful difference through her involvement with African Impact.
Ideal travel destination: Mauritius. My mother is Mauritian so Mauritius is part of my roots, and it's somewhere I've never been!
Best superpower: To fly! Then I could travel the world for free!
Michelle Ainslie joined the African Impact head office team in 2013 and has taken over the coordination of all Internship programmes. Michelle has a background in zoology and psychology - she simply loves working with both animals and people! She also loves traveling and has volunteered on a number of projects in Africa and further abroad. Michelle is obsessed with books and collects rare and first editions - she's confessed she'd rather go without food than without a few new books every month! Michelle also adores the ocean and volunteers at the National Sea Rescue Institute in her spare time.
Favourite animal: Dolphins. The ocean is my home and dolphins have always been my soul's best friend. When you make eye contact they see right through you, and that is something you rarely experience with any other species - including humans.
Best superpower: The ability to breathe underwater.
Deanna was born and bred in Cape Town and has a background in administration and business management. She joined the team in early 2013 and loves that she's able to connect volunteers to the adventures of their dreams. Deanna also enjoys shopping with friends, spoiling her son and baking malva pudding.
Best advice ever received: : It's not the accomplishments and the difficulties that define a life, it's the people.
Ideal travel destination: Venice - because I think living on the water must be magnificent!
Originally from the UK, Michelle has always had a passion for conservation, travel, culture and photography, so decided to give up UK corporate life in 2007 to travel and volunteer around the world. Michelle, with her husband Andrew volunteered in South America, Asia and Africa. This included our Lion Conservation Project in Victoria Falls and Michelle found this a great way to see Africa through different eyes. She moved to rural St Lucia on South Africa's East coast to manage an African Impact volunteer project for three years, before settling in Cape Town and taking on the role of Human Resources Manager and Director of our charity, The Happy Africa Foundation.
Leonora Reid's five years of experience working in youth and community development have given her a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of the challenges of the non-profit sector. Born in the UK, Leonora moved to South Africa in 2005 and began working with the Baphumelele Children's Home in Khayelitsha. Since then she has continued working in the non-profit sector, co-founding Amandla Edufootball, a sports for development non-profit organisation, before joining The Happy Africa Foundation.
Born and bred in South Africa, Laura grew up in a happy home in Johannesburg with her father a minister and mother a teacher. Laura completed her BA degree in Jewellery Design and Metal Work in 2001 before moving to the UK for 9 years. While in England, Laura worked with a charity helping underprivileged Filipinos in Manila. Through this work she found her passion and moved to Cape Town at the end of 2010 to pursuit her career with our charity, The Happy Africa Foundation. Laura loves cycling, seeing new places, board games and pick-up trucks!
Favourite animal: I don't have a favourite, there are too many! I love animal babies of all kinds because they are so adorable and make me feel nice inside!
What most inspires you: People who believe in positive change and putting others first. Jesus inspires me to become a better person and do the best I can with what I have and where I am.
Michelle has always had a passion for travel and has worked in the industry for many years. She was first introduced to us in 2009 whilst volunteering in Zanzibar and was very impressed with the experience and the work being done there. She continued to support African Impact after returning to the UK and then in January of 2011 she joined the African Impact full time. Michelle is the Business Manager in Cape Town and loves every aspect of her role, from ensuring volunteers have a great experience and developing new community partnerships to watching our aims turn into achievements! Michelle loves exploring Cape Town, hiking in the mountains, sea kayaking with whales, and enjoying live music.
Favourite animal: : The giraffe has to be one of my favourites, I always wonder what life is like with such a long neck.
Best superpower: : I'd love the ability to make myself invisible, just think of the fun you could have!
Dawood has been working for African Impact since 2011. He speaks many of the local languages and is fantastic at helping us build and maintain strong relationships with the communities we're involved in. Dawood is originally from Nigeria but has lived in the Cape Town area for many years now and has extensive knowledge about the local area. Dawood is the main driver transferring volunteers to and from project but is also very popular with the kids on projects! He is a very interesting man and is heavily involved with a safe house and feeding programme that we love to take volunteers to.
Shecky and Jane Jamu
Shecky and Jane are a wonderful Zimbabwean couple that have worked for African Impact since 2008. Shecky is a fabulous chef and provides lunch and dinner for all of our volunteers Monday to Friday. The lovely Jane works as a housekeeper and they both live on site. Shecky and Jane have four children and they send almost all of their earnings home to Zimbabwe to help to pay for their children's school fees. They brighten up your day with their happy faces and fantastic sense of humour and love getting to know the volunteers.
Sandiso has been living and working in Cape Town for the last 6 years. He is originally from the Eastern Cape. He is multitalented! Sandiso takes and facilitates volunteers on project as our community development officer as well as being a fantastic chef! He has a lovely family and lives with his wife a boy in Masiphumelele, the biggest community that we work in. His local knowledge is therefore fantastic and he is an incredibly friendly guy. He is a big asset to our team and a fantastic man for our volunteers to get to know!
Sonja is from Hertfordshire in the UK and first started working for African Impact two years ago while facilitating community and education projects in Mozambique. Previously, Sonja was an English teacher in China and spent three years working in London on a project sending students overseas to teach English. Sonja loves volunteering at and planning lessons for pre-school and you'll see her often participating in planning sessions and getting involved at the creches in which we work. Her favourite part of working for African Impact is the children and being able to be part of the local communities - something tourists rarely see!
When Monique Ledger volunteered for the first time in St Lucia, she stayed only three weeks in August of 2012, but dove right into the experience. After falling in love with the people and projects in St Lucia, she returned to work there while studying International and Community Development online. Originally from Port Campbell in Australia, Monique is an avid surfer and "greenie". She loves helping volunteers overpower their initial fears of volunteering abroad, and listening to their stories at the end of the day hear how they enjoyed it all.
Nokwethemba has worked for African Impact in St Lucia since July 2010. She loves all aspects the work she does but is particularly fond of Home Based Care, where she feels that she and the volunteers really get into the heart of the community and help the people that need it the most. Nokwethemba is a real networker in Khula Village and is infamous with the majority of the community for her dedication to helping others. When she's not at work she enjoys spending time with friends and attending church. Her dream is to one day fly in an airplane!
Shwele has worked with African Impact in St Lucia since February 2011. While living in Khula Village, Shwele saw African Impact working in the community and decided she wanted to be involved with our organization. Her passion, she says, is helping others and through her job she's been able to reach out and fulfil this passion. Although she loves all aspects of the projects she works on, her favourite days are when she gets to play with children. Shwele says that making the kids laugh and being with them at projects such as afterschool club is one of the best parts of her job.
Nonhlanhla started working for African Impact in September of 2009, where she was employed as a cook in the busy volunteer kitchen. Before coming to St Lucia, she had been trained at Phinda Private Game Reserve, and loved the opportunity to cook more African-style means for the volunteers. Nonhlanhla now works out on projects a few times a week, helping with support groups. In particular, she is so proud of how the volunteers teach the community about positive and healthy living. She says she's proud to wear an African Impact t-shirt in her community.
Mumsy is African Impact's housekeeper, and started working for us at our St Lucia project in 2010. She's a jack-of-all-trades, and has experience being a breakfast chef, dinner chef, and waitress. This makes Mumsy great at all aspects of her job - from cleaning and tidying to work in the kitchen and her afternoons out on project. She says here at African Impact she feels at home, and she hopes to make it that way for the volunteers. Mumsy loves practicing her English with the volunteers and expanding her views by speaking to them about their thoughts and opinions.
Amanda is originally from the UK and working in banking for 21 years. When she took redundancy in 2009 she decided to travel, and volunteered at Antelope Park on two occasions. She first joined our African Impact team at Thanda in 2011 when she assisted with volunteer coordination, and took on the role of Project Manager in January 2012 as Project Manager of our Research & Conservation projects. Her role grew to include Management of the Community, Photography and Research projects at Thanda after which she took on the challenge of being Business Manager for the project! Amanda loves playing volleyball (she played in a National League Team in Northampton), and is a keen badminton player. She also enjoys reading and socialising.
Favourite animal: Lions were my favourite but since living here in South Africa it has changed to ostriches - they make me smile every morning when I see them on my way to work, the babies are especially cute and the adults make a stunning display when mating.
Best superpower: I would love to be able to fly so I can travel the world and see the sights and also be an eye in the sky to catch rhino poachers!
After volunteering for the St Lucia medical project for two months in 2012, Miriam decided to return to the projects in September of that year as the intern representative for the Happy Africa Foundation (THAF). After a 7-month stint as our intern, Miriam began working as our volunteer coordinator. A Cambridge native and drama enthusiast, Miriam worked hard as the project’s THAF intern and through campaigns such as ‘Build A Brick’ for Inkanyezi Crèche and the creation of monthly Quiz Nights in town, she raised more than R10,000. Eager to make a difference and leave her mark, Miriam’s experience as both a volunteer and an intern make her a great mentor for current and future volunteers.
Born in Mandini, near Durban, Ziggy Buthelezi studied Paper Technology at Imfolozi College. He began working with the local community there in 2005, joining Love Life, an HIV and Aids prevention campaign in South Africa. Ziggy soon took on the role of Sports and Recreation Program leader before moving onto a few other HIV/Health related organisations to gain valuable work experience. In 2012 he started his own community project: the Rise-N-Fly Youth Project. His aims for Rise-N-Fly include basic computer training, performing arts, sports and rec, and, most importantly, providing the local youth with various motivational programs and equipping them with life skills. In August 2011 Rise-N-Fly began working in conjunction with African Impact and the Happy Africa Foundation, and in June 2012, Ziggy took on his current role here at African Impact as Project Coordinator.
Favourite Animal: Buffalo
What Most Inspires You? Meeting different people from other countries and developing new ways of working with the community.
Phillipa ‘Pip’ Grenda
Pip, originally from Australia, joined the African Impact team in 2013. She was born not long after her mother’s sojourn at a Rolling Stones concert, believed in Santa Clause until she was 13 and fell in love with photography at age 16. She later moved to New York to complete a BFA in photography where she discovered cheap wine, cheap cheese, and cheap hip hop! Pip’s hobbies include "fantasising about various attractive celebrities, or me as a celebrity, or me as a really good dancer."
What most inspires you? Human emotion and colour.
Ideal Travel Destination: Louisiana swamp pits for some gumbo eatin' and geetar playin'!
Dan was born just south of London, in Surrey where he lived until he was 7 years old before moving to Burnham-on-Sea (near Bristol). After school he studies Business and Media and graduated with an Advanced GNVQ. After a short stint working in London, he realised that city life was not for him and sought a career change. Having always had a passion for animals he travelled to Thailand to volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary, working with tigers, bears and primates. During this time he realised that he had a true passion for big cats, and travelled to South Africa to complete his guiding course before volunteering with African Impact and ALERT in Zimbabwe, where he grew into the role of Project Manager.
Best advice ever given: There is no substitute for hard work.
There is no substitute for hard work.
Ideal travel destination: Uganda. I'd love to see the gorillas and enjoy the natural beauty of the country.
Colin was born and raised in Zimbabwe and completed his schooling in South Africa. He has vast experience working on game reserves in South Africa and also worked for a time at a wildlife hospital and rehabilitation centre in the UK. He is passionate about the African bush and learning from nature.
What most inspires you: Seeing the sun rise in the morning.
Best superpower: To see in the dark!
Sharon 'Rosey' Rose
Rosey grew up in Hervey Bay in Queenland, Australia and moved to Brisbane at the age of 19 to set out on her career path. She worked in various corporate companies before realising her passion was working with people and community services. In 2002, she volunteered for a year in Timor-Leste (East Timor) working for a child sponsorship organisation and returned to Brisbane to work in local community organisations and later in private hospitals. After her first trip to Africa in 2011 on an overland truck through Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania she knew she wanted to live and work in Africa, and when she volunteered at Antelope Park in 2012 she stayed on and became a permanent part of the team!
Favourite animal: Dogs because of their unconditional love and loyalty they give you.
Ideal travel destination: : I'd love to explore and experience as many African countries as I can - the wildlife, the diversity of African landscapes and cultures.
Karen is driven by her passion for Zimbabwe and the African continent and her desire to help people in need, to be a part of making a difference in the local community.
Karen was born and raised in Zimbabwe and went on to study Accounting at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. After completing her articles with Deloitte and Touche in Pretoria and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, she travelled overseas with the company on secondment to Canada. Once the travel bug had bitten she continued to travel and returned home to Zimbabwe 8 years later and began working at Antelope Park in 2012.
Karen is driven by her passion for Zimbabwe and the African continent and her desire to help people in need, to be a part of making a difference in the local community.
Favourite animal: Fish Eagle - it makes the most amazing sound and sees the bigger picture as it soars at great heights!
What most inspires you: Having purpose in life - a reminder that we are here to serve others.
Leigh-Ann was born and bred in Zimbabwe. Her family is an animal loving one and she had dreamed from a young age that one day she'd be working with big cats, and here she is managing the lions at Antelope Park! Leigh-Ann loves being outdoors in the wilderness and is an avid photographer.
Favourite animal: I know this is going to sound cheesy but LIONS are my favourite animal. They are just so magnificent in every way!
What most inspires you? When I wake up every morning and look at my baby son and to know that he still has his whole life ahead of him, and what a life he has with all the lions.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Nathan's family spent many holidays camping, visiting National Parks and being surrounded by the bush, which spurred his love and passion for wildlife. Nathan has a keen interest in reptiles and is a collector and breeder of snakes. He is passionate about conservation and is driven to protect what little wildlife we have left to ensure that their awesomeness will still be experienced by many generations to come.
Best advice ever received: Never, never, never give up!
Best superpower: Super speed
Lauren is a proud Texan and left home in 2008 to work in the UK. Four years later she set off to travel around the world, stopping at Antelope Park to volunteer on the lion rehabilitation project. A few weeks after that she changed around her travel itinerary to return to the project for a second stint and also spent time on African Impact's chimpanzee project at Chimfunshi. Lauren fell in love with animals and volunteering and realised that she wanted to be involved in helping the conservation of wildlife. She joined Antelope Park as a Project Management intern and thereafter accepted the role of volunteer coordinator. Lauren has travelled to over 50 countries, has fought in a White Collar Boxing match, is terrified of lizards and loves playing volleyball.
Favourite animal: The lion, of course! There is something so inherently majestic about lions, they are known for their courage and their resilience, which are two characteristics that I aspire to live my life with every day.
What most inpires you: For me, it is people who are living the life they have chosen to live. I've seen too many people who are living a life they think they should live and I find it inspiring to see people who are fighting for the life they want. It gives me the courage to keep going after what I want in life.
Jealous was born in KweKwe, and studied at Shungu School. She began working at Antelope Park in 2000 as a groom in the stables, and worked to become a guide for the park. He soon progressed to head, and after 6 years began working with African Impact volunteers at Antelope Park. It's no surprise that some of Jealous' favourite things to do is horse ride, walk with lions and work with volunteers and guests on conservation issues.
Favourite animal: Lions, they are the king of the jungle!
Best superpower: Super strength!
Memory has been with African Impact in Antelope Park since 2012. Growing up she used to see kids living on the streets and always wished for a way to be able to help. She joined the team as a medical coordinator to fulfil that dream and help educate the community on healthcare issues. Memory has done courses through the Red Cross in Gweru, Zimbabwe and has previously volunteered at Mkoba Poly Clinic.
Best advice ever received: Put your head down and work hard, never wait for things to happen, make them happen for yourself through hard work and not giving up.
Ideal travel destination: Egypt to see the pyramids.
Nancy Ruth Nyoka
Nancy grew up in Gweru, Zimbabwe with her family, and studied for a Bachelor in Commerce Tourism and Hospitality Management at Midlands State University, receiving her Honours Degree in 2012. She interned at Antelope Park for a year before joining the team permanently at the end of 2012. Nancy loves meeting new people, which makes her great for her job coordinating volunteers and projects!
Best advice ever received: It’s one’s attitude towards work that makes one enjoy his or her job.
Favourite animal: Cats, simply because they’re so smart!
David first joined the Lion project at Antelope Park in Zimbabwe in 2004 as a volunteer, with a general interest in big cats. Whilst there he came to understand the need for a rehabilitation program like this, and truly believes that this program will succeed in helping conserve Africa's lions. David came back in 2005 to head up the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT), a registered NGO. David is a self-confessed Sci-Fi fan and loves music.
Favourite animal: Is lions too obvious? Probably leopards - the archetypal and most beautiful cat. Also, my own domestic cats. Yeah, I'm a cat person!
Best superpower: To be fluent in every known language.
Rachael joined the African Impact team as Volunteer Coordinator in April 2012. As the daughter of a Captain in the armed forces she's lived all over the world but more recently in Scotland where she worked in Project Management. She spent many years working in India and during her time there raised funds for and spent many a weekend with children in a local orphanage. With a desire to work in an area that allowed her to make a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of others Rachael signed up to volunteer with us in Livingstone in 2011. Enjoying the experience so much she was "over the moon" when she secured the position as Volunteer Coordinator with African Impact allowing her to fulfil a dream and return to live and work in Africa. She quickly progressed to the role of Business Manager for our Livingstone community projects!
Vicky is originally from London in the UK and has a background in corporate finance and accounts. She spent time travelling in South and Central America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe; and finally came to Africa in 2012 where she promptly fell in love with the continent. Vicky spent two months travelling and a month volunteering with African Impact in Livingstone. During her time with us she realised she wanted to do something more meaningful with her career and came on board as a Volunteer Coordinator before rising to Project manager! Vicky loves travelling and meeting new people, and is "very partial to a margarita cocktail"!
Best advice ever received: Don't believe in fate, it can make you lazy... your life is a consequence of the decisions you make.
Ideal travel destination: Among others, I'd love to visit Madagascar as it's so unique and also travel on the trans-Siberian railway - for the remoteness and beauty.
Loud and proud, our medical liaison Brave Sikangila has been with African Impact since the beginning of the Livingstone project in 2006. His zeal for health care and the local community is contagious. He holds several volunteer positions in town, as well; he’s a psychosocial OVC counselor, president of the Livingstone Youth Advisory Board, a member of the neighborhood health committee, and a community health volunteer. He’s passionate about home based care but “especially HIV education,” and he always has several ideas for new medical projects in the future. And watch out for this man on the soccer field! His speed, enthusiasm, and cheers will keep you motivated and smiling.
Memory Mundia is the foundation’s Sponsor-a-Child coordinator. Growing up in Mongu in Western Province, she received an advanced diploma in Business Administration and Management Studies from Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka. She’s worked for THAF since March 2010. She enjoys working for the charity because she gets to encourage students to pursue their education, something she considers essential for -success – and a job – in Zambia. She also loves that she gets “an opportunity to meet different kinds of people with different attitudes and behaviors.”
Volunteers can find our head driver Yuyi huddling over the open battery of a vehicle, sporting his trademark oversize green sunglasses for a group of giggling children, sternly instructing a classroom of students, or maneuvering a van skillfully over a pothole-riddled road. Yuyi joined African Impact in March 2008. His favourite parts of the job are going out with medical volunteers to do home based care, and fixing the vehicles. He grew up in Mongu in Zambia, an area that often floods, so he’s adept at paddling a makoro canoe, a skill that he can show off when he drives volunteers to their weekend excursion at Bovu Island. He also helps to lead trips to Chobe National Park in Botswana!
Benny Ndeleki has been working with African Impact since October 2008. From Southern Province, Benny most enjoys our family support and home based care projects. Benny is also our go-to man when it comes to Maramba Old People’s Home where he seems to know everything and everyone! He loves that he “gets to meet a lot of new people” through the job. Benny’s gentle driving and quiet charm make him a pleasure to work with, and making him laugh will make your day!
Sean is a 5th Generation Zimbabwean, and a graduate of the University of Cape Town. Having spent the last 4 years living in Kenya and having travelled there extensively in the past, Sean’s local knowledge and passion for East Africa is unparalleled. Along with Sean, our team of staff in Nairobi are an asset to our work and expeditions in this amazing part of the continent. Sean loves mountain biking across Kenya's breath-taking landscapes, cooking, being part of a vibey local church and camping in Africa's wild places!
Best advice ever received: You can't always choose your circumstances but you can always choose your attitude!
Best superpower: Teleportation! Would be very useful to avoid the bumpy roads and airport delays in Africa
Sarah is originally from Ireland and worked for a number of years in academia, government and the private sector before starting the 'African Chapter' of her career. Since reading "Going Solo" by Roald Dahl as a child, she wanted to live and work in East Africa... and now she's here!
Favourite animal: Definitely dogs. They are loyal and friendly, with endless energy and enthusiasm for life.
Best travel destination: : I would love to explore Rwanda. I have read so much about the country's history, generosity of spirit and beautiful landscape, and I would like to see it for myself.
Mark was born and raised in Ireland, received first class honours in his BA in International Relations focusing on development and an MA in International Security and Conflict Studies. He left Ireland to seek new experiences abroad, volunteered with African Impact in Zanzibar in 2012 and has been with the company ever since. He feels lucky to have the opportunity to manage our East African projects and meet inspirational people making a lasting difference.
Best advice ever received: Always hold yourself to high standards no matter what anyone else does.
What most inspires you: Selfless acts.
Adrian was born and brought up in Zimbabwe. He spent a gap year in the UK working in a prestigious private school as a sports coach before heading back to South Africa and completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Rhodes University. Adrian then spent 5 years living and working in New Zealand, before moving to Kenya in 2008 to work with ACTS/Edutours Africa and African Impact. He has a passion for East Africa, his wife and son!
What most inspires you: The world's natural beauty; and stories of people fighting for justice on behalf of others.
Ideal travel destination: Antarctica and Nepal - both unique and inspiring places.
Eric was born and raised in Kenya and studied as an IT Support Technician. He joined African Impact in July 2010 and has made himself an asset to the Kenya team. He loves meeting different people from all over the world and working together with volunteers to serve the local community. Eric is a soccer fan, enjoys watching movies and travelling.
Favourite animal: Giraffe, I love the way they walk and run.
Ideal travel destination: Manchester City - I'd love to watch Manchester United play live!
Charity has always had a passion for empowering local communities and has been a volunteer in several community programmes. After working in the tourism industry, she decided to pursue her passion further in studying Community Health and Development. In 2010, Charity naturally jumped at the opportunity to engage volunteers in responsible travel with African Impact Teaching and Community projects. Her focus is facilitating volunteer placements with the aim of investing their time and skills to benefit local projects while providing them a fun cultural experience! She also enjoys networking projects to sustainable solutions that work well for them through finding successful local projects and organizations to mentor them. Charity dreams to see negative perceptions of Africa challenged through the development of cross cultural relationships, shared experiences and increased awareness.