Our team

THE TEAM

Mike Butcher

Co-Founder and Chairman of Techfugees Foundation - United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Mike Butcher is Editor-at-large of TechCrunch. Mike has been named one of the most influential journalists in European technology by Wired UK, The Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard. He also founded the annual Europas Awards, the co-working network TechHub and has advised the UK government on tech startup policy. He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list of 2016 for services to the UK technology industry and journalism.

Raj Burman

Chief Executive of the Techfugees Foundation - United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Raj joined Techfugees as CEO in November 2020. Fellows of the renowned Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Raj brings with him a wealth of experiences in various business fields and experienced leadership. His career spans three decades of scaling high-growth ventures across international markets, with specific knowledge of digital innovation, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. In his previous role at Sustain Ventures, Raj applied his philanthropy experience across  international impact ventures and corporates supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Prior to that, Raj worked for GS1 as well as led the SME scaleup business accelerator in the United Kingdom for an independent body of the European Commission.

 

Petra Johansson

Director & Board Member of Techfugees Foundation - United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Petra Johansson has 20+ years experience from the events industry ranging from sponsorship, media and delegate sales at organisations including IIR Conferences (now Informa Group), Incisive Media, and Financial News. She has been based in London since 1998 and runs events consulting company TwistedTree since 2007, and is also co-founder of 2Pears.

Louise Brosset

Global Community Officer - France 🇫🇷

Louise is the Global Community Manager: she orchestrates Techfugees volunteers worldwide and coordinates operations and programs. She was Program Manager for one of the first #TF4Women Inclusion programs in France and shifted to the international network organizations in 2018. With a background in entrepreneurship and a research assistant in cognitive science, she met Techfugees as she co-founded  Black Sheep in 2016, a student association aiming at learning and duplicating best practices from NGOs working with forcibly displaced people to scale innovation. She is based in the sunny city of Montpellier (south of France).

 

Mila Pavlenko

Global Community Assistant - France 🇫🇷

After 13 years of a career in IT industry, working with well known clients at IBM, Mila decides to make a significant shift and move to the international solidarity sector. With a broad volunteering experience from a young age in projects like a children’s home and a parish community in Germany, forest cleaning and eco-farming in Swiss Alps she has always been drawn to goodwill actions. 
 
In 2020 she joins a German association based in France and searches for European, French and German funding opportunities, plans artistic events for people with psycho-social disorders.
Techfugees caught her attention in 2022 by its innovative approach to tackle international solidarity problematiques.
 

Hiba Abou Haykal

Digital Corridor Program Manager - Lebanon 🇱🇧

Hiba Abou Haykal a PHD candidate at University of Saint Joseph- Beirut majoring Sociology- HR & Leadership and certified Life Coach.I have been working as an administrator at the Lebanese University. During the last 11 years. I had the chance to work in different NGOs: Amel Association, Basmeh & Zeitooneh and Arcenciel where a solid experience was built examining closely Syrians Refugees concerns.

During 2012- 2014 had the chance to lead Educational Programs at Amel’s Association in West Bekaa and experienced the difficulties faced by Syrian kids and youth to cooperate with the educational system in Lebanon and the main role was minimizing the gap. In 2016 joined Basmeh & Zeitooneh as Psychosocial Support Coordinator supervising the implementation of Peacebuilding Program in central Bekaa through Playback Theater techniques to support Syrian kids and youth through their traumas resulting from war and integrating in new society. From 2017 till 2019 I had the chance to work as HR Officer & Employee Relations Specialist at Arcenciel responsible for all HR personnel with a scope of inclusion including Syrian Refugees Employees. Furthermore, my PHD topic research “Employee Turnover Phenomenon, Case of NonGovernmental Organizations in Lebanon” is giving me the opportunity to professionalize my research skills and have a direct exposure with NGOs addressing Refugees needs.

Alexandra Kutas

Rapid Emergency Network Coordinator (Ukraine) - United Kingdom 🇬🇧

Alexandra joined Techfugees in March 2022, following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, to coordinate the Rapid Emergency Network launched by Techfugees, a volunteer-led network of whatsapp groups, in 30+ countries, facilitating ground support and tech projects developments for forcibly displaced persons in Europe. 

“I’m the world’s first runway model in a wheelchair, public speaker and a co-founder of fashion brand Puffins.My ultimate goal is a world of equal opportunities where people are seen through their professionalism, drive and humanity, but not something which was given without choice.
My work received recognition from The Huffington Post; Daily Mail; CCTV (China Central Television); Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and America’s most popular public radio station, WNYC. I appeared on catwalks on 3 different continents. News about my first runway show at Vozianov show in Kyiv was featured in more than 60 countries around the world. Recently, I received awards from Kyiv Post Top 30 Under 30, and the Chou Ta-Kuan Foundation presented by the president of Taiwan.

At the same time at my early 20s, I saw the price of neglecting mental health in my family and what happens if you are being strong for too long. Being a caregiver has been one of the most challenging and self-discovering experiences of my life.In 2018 I joined mission-led startup incubator program Zinc and moved by myself to London.

Though my whole life I have been breaking down stereotypes unfortunately, there is a still long way to go.”

Richard Hodkinson

Rapid Emergency Network Coordinator (Ukraine) - Germany 🇩🇪

Richard is a social entrepreneur, political and social scientist, information geek, and changemaker. He has a background in emergency response, technology management, journalism, information media analysis and academics.

He worked in the UN Ebola crisis response, travelling to West Africa to coordinate communications technology to support the international Ebola epidemic response, working for NetHope, and worked on improving collaboration among the partner NGOs, the UN and the governments. He hopes to bring his experience to bear in facilitating collaborations among Techfugees’ community and partners in our efforts to help the Ukrainian people.

He is dedicated to improving the lives of all people, working on equality and transparency both in times of crisis and in the way our institutions organise. As a technology entrepreneur he has founded companies to develop products to counter authoritarian state control and surveillance; to counter corruption and kleptocracy; and to bring more effective strategies to counter conspiracy theories and media misinformation.

Digital Internships
(JOB READINESS SPRINGBOARD PROGRAM)

Alaa Malabawi

Junior Data Analyst - Lebanon 🇱🇧

Alaa Malabawi is an Education Management Specialist & Researcher. ” I am doing my Master’s Degree in Educational Management at Lebanese International University, did my Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Jinan University, with more than 5 years of experience working with INGOs and Local NGOs . In addition, I am a teacher for students for special needs, Alaa  is a powerful force in the workplace and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed.  I’m Syrian and have been based in Lebanon since 2013.” She joined Techfugees for an internship as part of the Digital Corridor Program in May 2022. 

 

Hala Al-Shamali

Junior Data Analyst - Lebanon 🇱🇧

 Hala Al-Shamali a 23 years old syrian girl she is a photographer with two years of experience. She studied English literature and obtained certificates in IT and English language. She has been building her experience in Data Labeling with the Techfugees team in Lebanon.
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Since arriving in Lebanon, when not learning or working with Techfugees, Hala has spent a lot of her time volunteering. Most recently, she cofounded Hemma team, a group dedicated to supporting children orphaned by the war by providing them meals and toys.
She joined Techfugees team for an internship as a data analysis in May 2022

TECHFUGEES ADVISORY COUNCIL
(Coming soon)

Haidar Baqir

Special Advisor - Switzerland 🇨🇭

Haidar Baqir holds a Master’s degree in engineering and has been working in emergency telecommunications for the last 18 years. Mr. Baqir had been working with the World Food Programme (WFP). He served in multiple field emergency operations, including Sudan 2004, Lebanon 2006, Somalia 2007, South Sudan 2011, Ebola outbreak response in West Africa in 2014, Nepal following the earthquake, and Yemen in 2015. He also served as part of the Global Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) based in Rome and as Regional IT Emergencies Preparedness and Response Officer for the World Food Programme based in Bangkok, covering the Asia and Pacific region. In his role with Global ETC based in Rome 2015-2017, Mr.Baqir led the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) coordination model project for WFP and the humanitarian response community.  His final deployment with United Nations was with the Telecommunications Development Bureau of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) based in Geneva working as emergency telecommunications and climate change coordinator.

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