Meet Our Staff

Elaine Ortiz

Founder & Director (She/Her)

I founded the Hummingbird Refugee Project in 2015 and managed the high risk cases of children on the move in Calais and  then established services in the UK.

I have 15  years of experience across various care fields. My specialisms are working with adults and children who have experienced trauma, abuse and managing high risk, crisis situations.

My working background is in child protection, having worked for the NSPCC  and then training as an Independent Domestic and Sexual Violence Advocate, working at St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre as a Rape Crisis Worker and Women’s Aid Refuge. 

I am also on the Management Committee Sanctuary on Sea . 

Joshua Samuels

Service Manager (He/Him)

At Hummingbird I manage our awesome team of programme leads and specialist support workers, seeking to provide the best environment and tools to support young refugees in their often difficult journey. I particularly appreciate working with a team of people that listen to and learn from young people in the development and delivery of our services.

Born and raised on the island of Bermuda, I have worked for over 14 years in the charity sector, primarily with young people and refugees. Prior to my current role at Hummingbird, I worked in Dallas, Texas, USA developing and leading refugee support programmes in the areas of friendship, education, employment, and advocacy.

I came to the UK in 2019 to pursue an MA in Migration Studies from the University of Sussex and was introduced to the work of the Hummingbird Project by a classmate. My hope is that young refugees and asylum seekers feel welcomed and are empowered to flourish, as our local community works together to create a warm, welcoming city, and systems that are just and equitable.

Favourite Quote: "Be who you needed when you were younger"

Ayesha Siddiqi   

Sarah Bennett

GSC Lead

I am an experienced facilitator who is passionate about creating spaces for connection. I have led GSC since 2018 and provided Maternity Cover as Hummingbird's Service Manager throughout 2019.

My varied career in the third sector has included roles as a Mental Health Support Worker, a facilitator for VSO’s youth programmes, leading peace-building youth arts projects for Firefly International in Bosnia and campaigning for Oxfam.

I am a visual artist and outside Hummingbird, predominantly works as an artist-facilitator. I believe creative encounters can change the way we see the world and each other. I have an MA in Inclusive Arts Practice, have taught as a Postgraduate Lecturer at University of Brighton and led visual arts projects for organisations including ONCA, Fabrica, Rocket Artists & Photoworks.

Dr. Mick Taylor

Education Lead 

I am Hummingbird’s Education Lead, running our Learning Space and Homework Club.

I am a Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Sussex and was a recent winner of their Education Award in the Better World Category for his work with the Hummingbird Project.

I also host Nerd Nite Brighton, a monthly event where people come to learn from passionate people sharing their knowledge and expertise.  

Otis Kirby-Dunkley

Specialist Refugee Support Worker (They/Them/Otis)

My role at Hummingbird is to provide one-to-one support for young people.

I have been working to support the wellbeing of refugees and young people both in the UK and in France since graduating from university in 2015. Alongside my work at Hummingbird I deliver training in suicide prevention to professionals, parents and students. 

I am passionate about my role at Hummingbird because I believe everyone should have access to support as and when they need it.

Svetlana Scheck-Ramzy

Specialist Refugee Support Worker (She/Her)

My role is Specialist Support Worker, providing one-to-one support to young people across all aspects of their lives.

Prior to my current role, I spent many years in the live events industry.  I am also a trainee counsellor and bereavement volunteer. 

I’m passionate about community and enjoy working with young people to support them in making a new home in a welcoming environment.

Favourite quote: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Maya Angelou

Amber

Young Leaders Female Engagement Lead (She/ They) 

I am the Young women's engagement lead for the Young Leaders Program.

I have over 6 years of experience in youth work, advocacy and caseworking, through paid, voluntary and grassroots organising. I’ve supported and worked alongside people from a refugee background, young people experiencing homelessness and ran community events for women and people who identify as LGBTQ+ . I studied Applied Theatre: Theatre in the Community, which highlights my two passions- arts and social change. 

At the age of 21 years I had my play written and performed with people experiencing homelessness was performed at the national youth arts festivals. 

Favourite quote: "I am no longer accepting the things I can not change. I’m changing the things I cannot accept’"

Angela Davis

Phati Mnguni

Young Women's Group Lead

FULL BIO COMING SOON!

Toby Moore

Young Leaders Project Lead (He/Him;They/Them)

I help to run our Young Leaders Program! I support young people in learning new skills such as public speaking, leadership, communication and confidence.

I also help the Young Leaders prepare for events and public speaking engagments and work with other refugee organisations to help share our learnings from the Young Leaders Program. 

My work experience a wide variety of technology, events and creativity. More than anything I just like dreaming up ideas and maing them happen. 

I love to see people (young and old) grow in confidence and take on new opportunties and challenges. Watching and each every  Hummingbird Young Leader progress on their own amazing journey fills me hope and pride.

Favourite quote: "You, the people have the power.  The power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure"

Charlie Chaplin

Dr. Reima Ana Maglajlic

Supervisor

Rea is an experienced voluntary sector practice supervisor in the UK and abroad. She has been providing both casework and organisational development supervision in the Hummingbird Project since 2015.

Rea is a registered social worker and a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at the University of Sussex. Rea's practice and research to date focuses on social work, political conflict and mental health.

She has first hand experience of working with refugees and displaced persons in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, both in these two countries and in the UK. Between 2017-2019, she has worked with Social Workers without Borders to help co-edit a book on Social Work with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants 

Meet Our Trustees

Chas Walker

Chair

Chas Walker is CEO of YMCA Downslink Group.  He joined the YMCA in October 2009 as Deputy Chief Executive. He was appointed to the CEO role in July 2015. Chas has a background in supported housing working for Southdown Housing Association in a frontline role and then Hyde Housing in a management capacity before joining the YMCA.

 

May Anderson

Treasurer

May is currently retired and studying for a BA in Fine Art in Brighton. She was previously a senior tax inspector in the Inland Revenue (later HMRC) in Scotland and London, when one of her roles was head of IR Charities (Scotland). She has been a Trustee of several Arts organisations and brings to Hummingbird an understanding of accounts, bookkeeping and charity law. She is also an accredited mediator.

Elisa Sandri

Trustee & Secretary

Elisa is a consultant with over 6 years’ experience of working in
research, monitoring and evaluation in international development and
in the humanitarian sector. She joined the Hummingbird Project in
Calais in 2015 and has published her research on volunteers providing
informal humanitarian aid in Northern France in academic journals and
in a book.

Dr. Mark Doidge

Trustee

Mark  is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Brighton. His research focuses on exposing power imbalances in sport and seeking to transform sport into a positive social activity, whether it is supporting refugees in their new home, football fans challenging discrimination or helping their local communities. He is also a committee member of Sanctuary on Sea, Football Supporters Europe and the British Sociological Association.

Damien Robert

Trustee

Damien is a digital marketing wiz and passionate about Internet and the way it connects people and cultures.
He is also involved in different well-being activities like meditation, yoga and mindfulness.
Being a Trustee at The Hummingbird Project is a way of putting his knowledge and passion in the service of young refugees.

Richard Williams

Trustee

Bio Coming Soon

Thomas Hipwood

Trustee

Thom joined the Hummingbird project in September 2019 and brings with him 12 years of fundraising experience. In his previous role at Monash University, Australia, Thom helped to set up the 'Change It. For Good' Campaign to raise $500 million from 50,000 donors, which included a focus on significantly expanding the number of scholarships awarded to students seeking asylum

Fabia Bates

Trustee

Fabia Bates is the Sector Support Manager for Community Works, the membership organisation for the voluntary and community sector in Brighton & Hove, Adur & Worthing. She has worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years, including 5 years as Director of Survivors' Network, the Rape Crisis Centre for Susssex .

Jayne Grier

Trustee

Jayne is Head of Organisational Change and People at Frontline AIDS, an international development charity in Hove.  An experienced leader with a 20-year track record in the not-for-profit sector, Jayne has a background in strategic communications. She now works in the fields of Organisational Development, Brand, Governance and Strategy.  She is also a trained Business Coach. 

Katie Tong

Trustee

Katie is a humanitarian consultant with 17 years’ experience working in emergency situations across Africa and Asia. Now based in Brighton, Katie conducts evaluations for UN agencies in complex conflict, displaced, and refugee contexts across the world. Katie specialises in protection issues with a specific focus on adolescents and youth, and gender.