Zerbanoo Gifford (Patron)
Author, human rights campaigner and founder of the ASHA Foundation and Centre, Zerbanoo Gifford holds the International Woman of the Year Award 2006 for her humanitarian work, which spans over forty five years of grassroots and global activism. In 1989, Zerbanoo was presented with the Nehru Centenary Award for her work championing the rights of women, children and minorities. Pioneer for Asian Women in British politics, she was elected as a councillor in Harrow in 1982 and was the first Asian women to stand for parliament, she chaired the Commission ‘Looking into ethnic minority involvement in British Life’ and was a member of the advisory group on Race Relations to the former British Home Secretary. A former director of Anti-Slavery International, she was awarded the Freedom of the City of Lincoln, Nebraska, for her work combating modern slavery and racism. She is also authored seven books her latest ‘Confessions to a Serial Womaniser – Secrets of the worlds Inspirational women’ highlighted the lives of over 300 exceptional women from 60 countries for which she was awarded a ‘NESTA (National Endowment of Science Technology and Arts) Fellowship’. Zerbanoo’s biography ‘An Uncensored Life’ by Farida Master is published by Harper Collins.
Mark Gifford (Founder Trustee)
Mark is the Director of the ASHA Centre, a British educational charity. ASHA works internationally for the empowerment of young people, sustainable development and peace and reconciliation. Mark is a qualified solicitor and Interfaith Minister. He holds a Masters with Distinction in Theology and has studied at the Universities of Oxford, Durham and London. Before joining ASHA, Mark was Assistant CEO of an international British based youth and interfaith charity. His passion is the religious cultures of the world, particularly the traditions of India, Iran and China, and has a special interest in the Sanskrit Mahabharata. Mark is married to Monica with whom he has two boys, Sammy and Jimi-Krishna.
Joined the Board of Trustees in 2006
Dr. Natubhai Shah M.B.E. (Vice Chair)
Dr Natubhai Shah is a retired medical practitioner with a doctorate in Jain religion. He was the main force in the development of the Jain Centre Leicester and is now involved in developing Jain Centre London. He holds many posts in Jain and Interfaith Organisations, is the Chairman of Jain Network and Council of Dharmic Faiths UK. He represents Jainism at the highest level and was selected as ‘Man of the Year’ by the American Biographical Institute in 1991 and was honoured as ‘Jain Ratna’ by the Prime Minister of India in 2001. Dr. Shah is a member of Faith Consultative Council of UK Government.
Joined the Board of Trustees in 2006
Reza Reshad (Treasurer)
Reza Reshad is a fully qualified chartered accountant and holds a MSc in Finance and Accounting from Brunel University. Reza has over 11 years of audit experience in Banking and Consultancy dealing with senior clients in the specialist areas of Banking and Insurance. He is a member of the ICAEW – The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and is currently the Engagement Lead (Senior Manager) – Operational Risk & Governance at Lloyd’s Banking Group. Engagement Lead for audits across Lloyds Banking Group, focusing on Operational Risk Governance i.e. the development and implementation of Operational Risk Appetite Metrics across the Bank. Reza has also held senior positions at Societe Generale, Barclays Bank PLC, Ernst & Young LLB.
His interests include: Tennis, socialising, reading and Backgammon.
Ruth Rosenthal (Trustee)
Ruth Rosenthal has been a Westminster resident since her childhood and still lives in the area. Ruth’s professional life included 25 years of working at the BBC, latterly as a producer of television documentaries. Following her retirement from the BBC she studied to teach adult literacy then worked part time for Westminster Adult Education Service for 12 years, initially as a tutor then as a Lecturer, Learning Support, working with students with learning difficulties. Ruth was one of two staff governors on the board of WAES for 4 years before she retired in 2012.
Ruth is the chair of her GP practice Patient Participatory Group and a member of the User Panel for the Central London CCG – Clinical Commissioning Group.
Her interests include: Art, classical music, cookery, singing, word games, jigsaw puzzles, reading, walking and table tennis.
Joined the Board of Trustees in 2015
Dr. Saima Rana (Trustee)
Dr Rana is CEO/Principal of GEMS World Academy – Dubai, Chief Education Ambassador for the Varkey Foundation and Founding Trustee of The Shahnaz Foundation. With a background in school improvement in inner-city schools, and a PhD in Education, Dr Rana has worked in areas with high deprivation indicators throughout her career, combining traditional school improvement techniques with a commitment to collaboration between the local community and businesses in order to accelerate regeneration and raise standards.
Dr Rana has worked as a senior educational consultant for Cambridge Education Islington with a particular focus on Teaching and Learning, Raising Standards, ICT, Assessment for Learning, Curriculum, Change Management and Building Schools for the Future. She has also served as a panel member and subject expert on several programmes and projects for the Department for Education (DfE) and the Office for Standards in Education for Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), providing guidance on quality assurance, delivery and professional standards. Dr Rana is also a member of the following boards: The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA), Mosaic Community Trust (MCT), University College School (UCS), the Institute for Ethical AI in Education (IEAIED) and the BCS School Curriculum and Assessment Committee.
She has presented academic papers on Policy, ICT, Globalisation and Secondary Education at the Institute of Education, London, Trinity College, Dublin, The Knowledge Lab, London as well as at international conferences in Europe, the USA and China.
Dr Rana has also devoted herself to a variety of charitable educational projects, with a particular passion for building schools for poor children across the globe. She is the trustee of charitable schools in Pakistan and Kashmir, and provides teacher training to schools located in slum areas in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Sudan and other parts of Africa. She is a global ambassador for Girls Education initiatives and is a mental health ambassador for Refugee Mothers, where she has worked with a number of organisations to support language learning. She also supports several street schools in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Her latest project is to build an orphanage and technical skills college in a deprived area of Pakistan. She believes passionately that education is the answer to eliminate poverty, inequality, and injustice, and has dedicated her career to the ideal of giving every child a world class education.
Abena Serwaa Boateng (Trustee)
Abena is a qualified Public Health Nurse experienced in providing a Health Promotion services to children, adults, families and communities in a defined population and locality. She holds a BSC in Adult Nursing from the University of West London and has been employed as a Community Public Health Nurse and Nursery Nurse by Central London Community Healthcare(CLCH) for more than 12 years. Abena has been involved in the delivery of numerous health campaigns and has extensive experience of working with families from diverse backgrounds.
Abena originally trained as a teacher in Ghana and continued to build on her professional qualifications by specialising in community public health. She holds a post graduate diploma in community public health.
Joined the Board of Trustees in 2018
Tandy Deane-Gray (Trustee)
Tandy was born in Bermuda and came to the UK firstly to boarding school and then returned to complete her Nursing and Midwifery qualifications. She became a permanent resident in the Church Street area in 1980. Tandy’s background is in health, teaching, and psychotherapy and has practiced as Midwife for 38 years, mainly in the UK. Tandy has also taught Midwifery for 30 years as a Senior Lecturer, Department of Nursing & Midwifery, University of Hertfordshire.
Tandy is a trained counsellor and psychotherapist and had a private practice for 17 years. She is also a certified Infant Massage Instructor and has run small private baby massage groups in the community.
Tandy has a passion for travel and has visited Syria, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Iran as well as Indonesia, Thailand and China to name a few.
Joined the Board of Trustees in 2018