Who we are

There are currently 26 volunteers around the world who are giving up their time to tell stories and do other online learning activities with Palestinian and Syrian children and their teachers through the Hands Up Project…

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Aleydis Delforge

I’ve been teaching English and Dutch for 20 years. I teach adults in EPFC, a school for adult education in Brussels, Belgium. I love the creative part of my work and try to use interactive teach in g methods such as games and stories. In 2016 I started volunteering for the Hands Up project doing weekly internet sessions with a group of Palestinian school girls and their teacher.

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Alex Guzik

I teach English to children and teenagers at Follow Me to English, a private school of English, in Krasnodar, Russia. I’ve been teaching for 10 years and particularly enjoy working with stories and role-plays in my classes. Through the Hands Up Project I do a weekly session with groups of girls at Beit Hanoun elem co_ed “A” school, Gaza. I enormously value the experience of working with the enthusiastic teacher Sahar and the incredibly cheerful girls.

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Alina Uka

I recently completed my CELTA course and teach general english classes at International House, London. As an International Development graduate, I strongly hold the belief that education is the key to empowering individuals, which aligns with the values of The Hand Up Project. Through teaching weekly sessions with a mixed group class in Rafah, I’m developing my teaching career and also thoroughly enjoying the experience.

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Ani Aloyan

I teach English to teenagers at Ayb middle school in Armenia. I am also a senior teacher-trainer at British Council Armenia. I’ve been teaching English for about 6 years and spent 2 years of my career in Lebanon with IH Beirut.  I enjoys spicing up each lesson with games and activities to motivate the students even more. Through the Hands Up Project I do a weekly session with a group of 5th grade girls and boys in Gaza and enjoy storytelling and cultural exchange with the kids.

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Caroline Aragão

I teach English to children, teenagers and adults in São Paulo, Brazil. I’ve been teaching for 5 years and particularly like working with cross-cultural matters and stories based on folklore in my classes. Through the Hands Up Project I do a weekly session with a group of girls in Kufur Trulth Secondary Girls’ School, Nablus and I really enjoy the experience.

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Conrado Abreu Chagas

I work as an English teacher at Instituto Federal Sul-Rio-Grandense – Câmpus Charqueadas, Brazil. I’ve taught English for more than 20 years now, and I particularly enjoy working with groups of teenagers. Through the Hands Up Project I do a weekly session with a group of about 15 boys and girls in Rafah, Gaza I and really value the experience.

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Dennis Newson

At 82, and after a TEFL career that took me to five countries, ending up and resident in Germany, I now allow myself not to do any regular teaching – except  Zooming to Hebron once a week to help 13-year-old Lina with her English. Her mother and her older brother and younger sister regularly join in too.

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Edoardo Barzaghi

I work as an Arabic language teacher at Sharek Centre London. In the past 3 years I’ve been teaching also English, Italian and French languages to adults and children in the UK. For the Hands Up Project I’m teaching a class of 11 girls at Qurtuba School in Hebron. I like picture-based activities and to incorporate drama and storytelling into my lessons.

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Emi Slater

I’m a teacher trainer, EFL teacher and Drama/EAL workshop leader currently working in London, Coventry and Oxford. I have over 20 years experience teaching English as a Foreign language to adults and young learners and 11 years experience directing and producing international theatre projects with Perpetual Motion Theatre. I’m a creative writing mentor for Freedom from Torture and a published theatre journalist. I am currently working with Rafah Elite girls and I’m amazed by their motivation and focus.

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Filip Rakocevic

I teach all those who are eager to learn. I’ve been teaching for 5 years in Queen Victoria Education & Translations, Belgrade, and I’m constantly seeking new ways to make learning a more enjoyable experience. English has changed my life for the better and now, through the Hands Up Project, I’d like to give something back.

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Helen Rountree

I teach at International House Bydgoszcz, Poland where I’ve been teaching students of all ages for 3 years. Before this I worked with teenagers and children running drama and active learning workshops in Austria. I meet the enthusiastic girls of Khan Younis, Gaza every Wednesday for stories and fun, which is the highlight of my week!

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Iwan Kusha

I work with an entertainment agency in Devon, England. I love storytelling and theatre improvisation, and the Hands Up Project has made me very curious about exploring techniques of storytelling via a computer screen. With the Gaza school kids I’ve seen more talent, enthusiasm and hunger to learn than ever before and this has been truly inspiring.

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Jane Cleary

I’m a senior lecturer working in teacher-training and English language teaching at The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK. I’ve been working in teaching since 2001. At the moment, I’m enjoying doing a weekly session with a class in Rafa, Gaza. Teaching the group gives me a chance to work with younger learners, try out storytelling and story making materials  and develop my online educator skills.  The girls and the teachers in Gaza are so warm and enthusiastic and motivated – it’s a real pleasure to work with the Hands Up Project!

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Jane King

Training originally as a Primary School teacher, for the past 30 years or so I have taught EFL/ESOL to adults from all over the world.  I enjoy doing creative activities and getting children and adults enthused about learning, so am really pleased to have the opportunity to do this with a group of Grade 7 girls in Hebron through the HandsUp project.

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Jon Turner

I teach general studies at a public university in the United Arab Emirates. I’ve been teaching for 25 years and have worked all over the world. For the Hands up Project I work with high school students in Palestine, working with storytelling. In smaller groups the children there also get to know my own school age kids through shared activities.

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Julietta Schoenmann

I’m a teacher and a teacher trainer, who works in a number of different countries around the world supporting teachers in their continuing professional development. I’m enjoying working with a class of Grade 5 students at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan and I like to teach the girls songs, chants and to act out stories together.

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Larissa de Mello

I teach English at Red Balloon in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’ve been teaching for 2 years and wholeheartedly enjoy working with kids & teens. I think teaching goes beyond academic content and it’s more about having someone to rely on and exchange experiences. Only then it’s possible to truly learn. Through The Hands Up Project I follows this ideology by telling stories and playing games weekly in a session with a mixed group in Gaza.

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Madeeha Manzur Sultan

I am currently working as Head Teacher at SLS Montessori and High School Primary Campus in Pakistan. On a weekly basis, I connect my students in Pakistan with students in Palestine. The most interesting part about this work is that my students belong to two different cultures and speak different languages. This allows me to engage them in many activities where they get to learn a lot about each other and of course learn English too!

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Mark El-Kadhi

I worked teaching English for around 20 years in Spain, Poland and the UK. Now working through HUP wth a boys’ class in Rafah once a week from my home in Devon in the South West of England, I enjoy using stories and discussing the messages they can teach us.

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Nick Bilbrough

I’m a teacher, a teacher trainer, and an author of books for language teachers. I have an MA in Drama in Education from the University of Central England and 25 years experience in the field of teaching English as a foreign language. I do at least one session a day with HUP and am consistently blown away by the enthusiasm, the energy and the drive to reach out by Palestinian and Syrian children.

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Paul Dummett

I live in Oxford, UK, where I writes English coursebooks and methodology books for National Geographic Learning. I’m interested in how images and stories can help make learning more memorable. For Hands up project, I have weekly classes with groups in Gaza City and Beit Hanoun. In 30 years of teaching, they’re probably the most enjoyable and rewarding classes I’ve ever had.

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Penny Burgess

I’m a photographer based in Birmingham, UK.  For many years I taught English to children and adults  in France, Germany and Luxembourg before joining the teaching team at Brasshouse Language Centre in Birmingham.  I’ve recently started to work with a large group of girls in Hebron and I’m looking forward to sharing stories, photographs and experiences. I enjoy using photos, songs and games in class.

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Rosalia Leone

I’m a History and Philosophy teacher to teenagers in Palermo (Italy). I’m passionate about the English language and storytelling.   Through the Hands Up Project, I do a weekly Sunday session with teacher Abrahim and a group of 12 boys, at Library Al Bahrain, in Gaza. It is a real honour to be part of HUP and  I have a lot of fun doing it.

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Sara Wood

I’m an English teacher working with children, teens & adults in Palma de Mallorca. I’m thrilled to work alongside teachers in Palestine whose resourcefulness and tenacity never ceases to amaze me. Their students bring a smile to my face every week with their willingness to participate!

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Sandra Olmeda
I’ve been teaching English to teens and adults since 2009, always looking for new, fun and interesting ways to approach a second language. This work is very important to me especially knowing that in developing countries such as mine a second language improves the chances of my students to have better future. I’ve learned that the easiest way to learn is through storytelling. This is what brought me to The hands up project where I have had a great opportunity to tell stories, enjoy teaching and share moments with wonderful kids and teachers .
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Sibel Karataş

I’m an English language teacher from Turkey and I’ve been teaching for 13 years at different levels. Currently I’m working as an education coordinator in Berlin. Through the Hands Up Project, I do a weekly session with a group of 16 girls in a village near East Jerusalem.  I am more than happy to be involved in such a meaningful project.

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Sibel Karataş
I am a teacher, trainer and CELTA tutor based in Liverpool in the UK. Much of my teaching experience over the last twelve years has been in the Middle East and North Africa, although this is the first time I’ve taught in Palestine. Zooming in to a library in Gaza every week adds a special dimension to my work. I honestly don’t know who is learning more – me, or the super-enthusiastic girls and boys in my Jabalya after-school storytelling club.
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Parisa Mehran
I’m doing my PhD at Osaka University, Japan on Computer Assisted Language Learning. Before moving to Japan, I taught English courses at Alzahra University, Iran. I currently teach part-time at several Japanese universities in the Kansai area. I am also an English tutor at Paper Airplanes and I have weekly English classes with an amazing Syrian student based in Damascus. I really look forward to my classes with Palestinian kids through the Hands Up Project.

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