We are Refuge Network International
We are a local and international non-governmental organisation working with teams of dedicated local and foreign-based volunteers to alleviate poverty and empower communities.
We are passionate about the poor, the helpless and the hopeless. We strive to be a voice for the voiceless, a refuge for the vulnerable and a source of strength for the weak.
Our vision is to to see a free and fair world; one devoid of haunting poverty, senseless human suffering, and social injustices.
Our Mission is to make a difference, and change lives; one person at a time.
No community can insulate itself by isolating itself from the rest of humanity. Irrespective of colour, gender, race, ethnicity, or social differences, the human family is one global community; as the pandemic has shown us, whatever affects one might ultimately affect all. We must work to promote the collective good. It is in your interest to work for my good, and it is in mine to support yours. Life on earth is transient, while here, we must allow our candles to burn to give light to others.
Charles Gimoh, Founder Refuge Network International
Refuge Network is a people-centred non-profit operating with a strong emphasis on community. We engage with communities to promote social cohesion with a view to reducing inequities, increasing opportunities, facilitating equality, and fostering unity. Our team is made up of local and international volunteer members and leaders representing over 40 nations. RNIs leaders are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a rich diversity of experiences and expertise encompassing law, medicine, education, finance, housing, business, social care, and other areas related to our work.
Our Leadership Programme
We recognise the vital role of human capacity development in the fight against poverty and inequality. Therefore, we prioritise leadership development by equipping volunteers with the leadership exposure they need to drive change at the grassroots. To achieve this objective, Refuge Network has evolved a dynamic leadership model. Team members interested in developing their leadership potentials are given opportunities to serve alongside our experienced leaders via a revolving short-term leadership programme.
Meet Our Team
Founder & Executive Director
Charles Gimoh is the Founder of Refuge Network International. He is a Consultant in international human rights law, an author, and an expert on strategic migration. In addition to the day-to-day running of the organisation, Charles is responsible for developing and managing Refuge Network's collaborative partnerships with corporate entities.
He started his volunteering journey in the early 80s as a Boy Scout, was active in various voluntary organisations in secondary school, and led a group of over 300 university students during his undergraduate days at the university.
Charles is proud of his Black African background and Britain, his beloved adopted country. Having lived on three continents and travelled to over 30 countries, many of them poor, he has witnessed the ravages of poverty and seen the devastating effects of social inequality in communities across the world.
His passion for social justice borne out of a vision to see the equitable distribution of humanity’s collective socio-economic and cultural patrimony to benefit the world’s poor and marginalised peoples; led to the founding of RNI and catalysed his PhD-level research efforts in law focused on finding answers to some of the many challenges facing the global poor.
He has various certifications in international trade and holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of London.
Charles coordinates the activities of RNI globally. He also heads HCI and JP International, two other non-profits.
All our staff roles are voluntary, that way 100% of financial donations can go directly towards supporting our vital work. We also work with groups of volunteers on all projects. They are a vital part of the team, and we would be unable to do anything significant without dedicated voluntary members.
Our volunteers are local and global; representing multiple nationalities including, Great Britain, Morocco, Italy, Algeria, Syria, Azerbaijan, Germany, France, USA, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Central African Republic, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Romania, Latvia, Thailand, and a host of other countries.
We pride ourselves on being a collective that is inclusive. Though, a network of three distinct non-profits, we are a collectivity of committed volunteers from diverse backgrounds, with different skills, inclusively working collaboratively to protect the dignity of disadvantaged people, promote equality for all of humanity, and facilitate mutual prosperity.
In terms of advancing our causes which generally revolve around promoting access to fundamental rights to food, health, education, housing, and an adequate standard of life for all of humanity, there is still a lot of work to do as billions of people are still living in precarity and poverty. We are therefore open to welcoming new volunteers to join us in the fight to advance the collective good.
Director Refuge Network UK
Born in Birmingham, England, to Nigerian parents, Josephine Gimoh spent her early years in the West Midlands before relocating to Africa, where she completed her basic education.
Besides some qualifications in business, she is a trained teacher with years of experience teaching children and young people.
Josephine has a Degree in Human Resource Management and Marketing from London Metropolitan University, a Postgraduate Certificate in Integrated Practice in Childhood and Youth, Postgraduate Diploma in understanding Children's Development and Learning, and a Masters Degree in Childhood and Youth.
Josephine is involved in RNI's humanitarian missions to Africa and European countries, including Greece and Italy. She is very active in our homeless outreach programmes and is one of the Directors of Refuge Network UK.
Director of Housing & Environmental Programme
Giada is an Italian architect and 3D artist who moved to London to start her dream job. After graduating in Architecture in 2018, Giada was inspired by a human rights-oriented non-profit organization and moved to her native Vietnam, motivated to make a difference in the local community.
She had many international experiences during her studies, moving to China and the United States during her Master's program and working on an environmental project in Abu Dhabi, but Vietnam was what changed her the most.
Volunteering for seven months in a world so different from the one she grew up in had a profound impact on Giada. Following her decision to settle in the UK, she decided to do things differently. Initially, she volunteered for a food organization and then she met Charles and joined his fight to support the homeless community.
Giada knows no language or cultural barriers when volunteering, and this is something her experiences and career have taught her: inclusivity and participation are the foundation of a strong society, and only a strong society can change positively as the future progresses.
Giada is our Director of Housing & Environmental Programme.
Outreach Team Leader ( Soho)
At the age of 17, eager to test and explore a more open and inclusive atmosphere, Marco Seccomandi left Bergamo, Italy for the UK, where he completed his higher education.
Marco holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing from Queen Mary University, London, and a Masters degree in Supply Chain Management from Cass Business School.
He is currently a Buyer for an international chemical company. Having spent 9 years of his life in the UK and communicating on a daily basis with international suppliers in his buyer role, Marco has developed an open global mindset, and a continuous interest in visiting new countries.
This year, he joined Refuge Network International, and decided
to enrich his personal goals by further expanding his global network of friends, and passionately contributing towards making a lasting impact on homeless people.
Marco sees himself as a very determined, sensitive and stubborn individual with a passion for perfection. He speaks fluent Italian and English, and has an intermediate knowledge of French and Spanish.
He is our Outreach Team Leader for Soho.
Vice President Citi Bank Nigera
Ike Iyasele is an ardent supporter of our cause and a member of our advisory board.
Ike graduated top of his class with honours in Banking and Finance from the University of Lagos. He holds a Masters degree in Business Administration and recently obtained a Master of Science in Financial Sector Management from SOAS, University of London.
He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, and an Associate of both the Nigerian Institute of Management (ANIM) and the Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria (ACPIN).
Ike is actively involved in humanitarian work and spends some of his spare time doing voluntary work in prisons and juvenile centres.
Derrick Samuels PhD
Associate Professor & Transformational Leader
Dr. Derrick C. Samuels is the ‘Voice against Stagnation’, addressing more than 150,000 people worldwide each year. As a highly passionate speaker, highly regarded business consultant, author, professor, and transformational leader, he embodies the skill, integrity, vision, and drive to become one of the most prominent inspiring thought leaders.
Dr. Derrick is a Certified Project Management Professional, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, an MBA in Management and; PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences and; has taught for DeVry University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, American Military University, Argosy University, and a host of other colleges and universities in the United States.
He is the founder and President of ‘Derrick Samuels Leadership Institute (DSLI)’, p4 Consulting Group, Inc., and the host of ‘Evening with Dr Derrick’.
Derrick is on the advisory board of Refuge Network International and advises us on a range of issues.
Daniela is a Colombian lawyer who worked in the Colombian Ministry of Health. She worked on the restoration of victims rights for the armed conflict and decided that dedicating her profession to social causes would be her life's driving force.
With the desire to specialise in international law with an emphasis on human rights, she moved to Paris in search of academic training to complete her professional profile and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in International Cooperation and NGOs.
She speaks Spanish and French. However, she has moved to London to improve her English and has decided that she wants to dedicate her time to help people in need, which is why she decided to join our team.
She wants to dedicate her time and her life to generate a positive impact on society, where she can transmit empathy and solidarity with a vision to build a more equitable world for all.
Daniela is serving on our short-term leadership programme.
Dr Lucky Agbontaen
Director of Medical & Strategic Outreach Projects - No Poverty Campaign
Dr Agbontaen Lucky is a humble and upright professional, who brings an extra level of dedication to any task or assignment under his purview.
Lucky is a medical doctor by training. A graduate of one of Nigeria's finest universities, he also possesses a postgraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences.
With strong cross-cultural experiences, he has worked locally in Nigeria his home country, and internationally, in the Americas, improving the medical, psychological, and physical well-being of diverse people. In his former role as a director of missions in Nigeria, he coordinated outreaches to rural communities and campuses of tertiary institutions bringing hope and providing material support to many.
Presently, he is a Lecturer at the prestigious University of Benin, where he is devoted to training the next generation of medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and other categories of healthcare professionals at the medical school.
Lucky is our Director of Medical Outreach Projects at No Poverty Campaign.
Chia-Yi (Joy) Su
Outreach Team Leader
Joy holds a master’s degree in Organisational Psychiatry & Psychology from King’s College London, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City, Taiwan.
In her previous role, she worked as a teaching assistant in a secondary school tutoring centre and an intern project worker in a publishing house during her undergraduate studies. Joy developed collaborating and communicating skills from
these experiences. She also became an intern school counselor in her final year, she was trained to be a thoughtful and empathetic listener to help students with their personal issues.
She led and designed adolescent group activities for improving students’ interpersonal relationships and emotional wellbeing. With experiences of interacting with different people, Joy has an empathy to sense others’ feelings and
emotions, which helps her understand others better.
As a psychology student, Joy enjoyed observing people’s behaviours and exploring diversity & equality in society.
Being interested in individuals’ mental health and
well-being, she was inspired by her professor and started to think about the importance of helping a person recover from one’s situation rather than focusing on negative past experiences. She decided to join RNI to try something different and broaden her horizon before heading back to Taiwan.
For Joy, volunteer work not only gives her opportunities to support and interact with homeless people but also
provides an insight into what is actually happening in our society.
Joy is serving on our short-term leadership programme.
Dr Seliatu Rhoda Ohimor
Director of Community Health & Youth Development Programmes - No Poverty Campaign
Seliatu Rhoda Ohimor is a Pharmacist with versatile working experience spanning both the Public and Private Health Sectors. An avid learner with a knack for professional excellence, She has a string of degrees including Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm), Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Master in Health Planning and Management ( MHPM), Master in Public Health (MPH). She also holds a Certificate in Project Management in Global Health from the University of Washington, USA.
An Addiction Prevention/Treatment Professional with training from the United States Colombo Plan DAP program, she is the Head Counsellor, Revamp Support Hub; a Counselling Outfit that provides Addiction Recovery and Mental/Emotional Health Counselling/Support services. She is also the Lead Coach, Skilful Parenteen Hub.
A member of various national and international professional associations including the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Association of Community Pharmacists Nigeria (ACPN) and International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP), she presently works as Community Pharmacist in Lagos, Nigeria. Seliatu is the director of our No Poverty Campaign Community Health and Youth Development Programmes.
Outreach Team Leader (Oxford Street)
Theo is a British Aircraft Engineer with 8 years experience in the field, having worked on various government contracts on both Search and Rescue helicopters and autonomous aircrafts.
Within this time, he has developed a meticulous approach to ensuring extremely high safety standards and processes are adhered to.
Prior to this, he helped set up and was director of a successful tourism company back in his home town.
Theo joined Refuge Network International after seeing his parents dedicate their careers to the NHS and to education, and felt naturally drawn to helping out in the local community.
Theo is our Outreach Team Leader for Oxford Street.
Regional Adviser for North Africa & Head of Documentary Film Projects
Mourad Jaouat is a documentary filmmaker, photojournalist, and humanitarian activist from Berlin, Germany. Originally from North Africa, he is fluent in German, Arabic, and English languages. He also communicates in French.
Mourad is widely travelled and has devoted a significant chunk of his time working on refugee-related projects.
Since 2015, he has been documenting migration flows in Europe and Africa for various news agencies.
From economic migrants fleeing poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, to refugees braving the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean; from stranded refugees in the Balkans to migrants trapped in the notorious Lesbos refugee camp in Greece, Mourad has captured their harrowing experiences with the lenses of his cameras.
Today, he mainly advises photographers and videographers in Germany. He is the regional adviser for North Africa and head of our documentary film projects.
Director of Legal Services - No Poverty Campaign
Timothy Abayomi Odumosu is a law graduate from Nigeria. He was called to the Bar as a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in 2004 after graduating from the Nigerian Law School.
Timothy is also a trainee and member designate of the Business Recovery and Insolvency Practitioners Association of Nigeria (BRIPAN), and a member of the Nigerian Bar Association.
He is in active legal practice and presently a partner in a thriving Law firm.
Tim is our Director of Legal Services at No Poverty Campaign.
Madame Diop Ndeye Arame Fall
Interim Co-Director for Senegal - No Poverty Campaign
Madame Diop Ndeye Arame Fall is an interim Co-Director of our non-profit in Senegal. She is a human rights activist and a lover of children who derives joy in helping people. She would describe herself as a simple dynamic, courageous, enterprising feminist who likes taking on challenges.
Madame Diop is a women leader in Senegal. She campaigns for equality and women's rights and is the president of the women's wing of the Syndicat Democratique des Travailleurs du Transport Routier in Dakar. Recently, she represented Senegal at the International Conference on Women in the Transport Sector, in Ethiopia, and was also featured in the International Transport Workers Federation's (lTWF) media campaign for equality and women's rights, to mark International Women's Day.
Arame Is a graduate of the University of Dakar, aka Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), Senegal. In addition to qualifications in language and computing, she also received executive training at the Institute of Business Administration Training (IFAA) obtaining a Higher Diploma in Marketing and Communication.
Youth Ambassador and Special Assistant to the Executive Director
Caprice Gimoh is a teenager currently studying at GCSE level in the UK. She has been involved in programmes for gifted and talented children, including those of Mensa: the high IQ society.
When she’s not doing academics, Caprice is volunteering with RNI to help make a better world for us all. She has been part of our non-profit since the beginning and has participated in self-funded humanitarian trips to Senegal, Morocco, and elsewhere.
As a youth ambassador, she is a voice for young people, ensuring their interests are effectively represented within our team. She also serves in a voluntary capacity as a special assistant to the executive director.
Mariame Sow Hamo
Interim Co-Director for Senegal - No Poverty Campaign
Mariame Sow Hamo is one of our Interim Co-Directors for Senegal at No Poverty Campaign. Her first contact with our organisation was in 2018 when she volunteered to support our cause in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.
From the onset, it was obvious that she had a deep concern for social justice, as she not only attended our socioeconomic rights conference that year but went on to recruit a team of committed volunteers for the NGO. She also reached out to her local mayor to solicit support for our work in the community.
As a young student, Mairame was one of a select group of intelligent students that were chosen to participate in President Barak Obama's Access Training programme in Senegal.
She has a rich and varied non-profit experience working with community development, women's empowerment and leadership NGOs, and helping to protect the environment with Green Peace, the international environmental protection organisation.
Mairame holds a Degree in Computer Science and Management as well as a French Licence 3 in Computerized Management of organisations.
Coordinator of Bones and Food Affairs at Outreach Events
Molly is an important member of our homeless outreach team. She became an instant hit with volunteers and our homeless friends the day she escorted us to an outreach event.
Molly is super-friendly; she enjoys rolling on the floor with homeless chums; in return, they spoil her with hugs and yummy bones.
You are likely to find her prancing about with an air of self-importance at outreach venues, convinced she is providing some form of psychological service. A few of our homeless service users seem to agree with her; she does not judge them, instead, they receive her furry arm of friendship, comfort, and warmth. Why do we have this sneaking suspicion that Molly likes volunteering for these events mainly to have easy access to bony treats!