Shepa Choudhry – Co-Chair of Trustees

Shepa has been in the NGO sector for nearly 20 years with experience at Cancer Research, Save the Children UK, and currently UNICEF UK, working from London to Lagos (Nigeria) with experience in campaigning, marketing, governance and EDI. She is the founder and Co-Chair of Unicef UK’s Diversity Volunteer Led Working Group (Inclusive Unicef) which has been instrumental in driving forward key diversity and inclusion changes to create a more equitable workplace. Shepa is incredibly passionate about supporting survivors of war, torture and persecution by supporting their mental health via the medium of music.

Alifya Akberali – Trustee (Policies, Safeguarding & Fundraising)

Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, Alifya studied international relations with politics at the University of Salford and Bologna and an MA in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response at the University of Manchester, during which time she interned at Music Action International. Since then she has worked in Kenya, Portugal and South Sudan for Islamic Relief, VSO and currently READ Foundation UK as programme Coordinator focusing on Sustainable and Emergency education across Pakistan, Lebanon, Yemen, Bangladesh and Syria.

Ben Amponsah – Trustee (Training, Well-being, Strategy)

Ben Amponsah, BSc, PGDipl, MBPsS, MBACP (Accred) An ex-army officer, is both psychotherapist and life-coach. He qualified as a counsellor in 2004 and took his life coaching qualification in 2011. Ben is also a psychology graduate and, having part-completed the Independent BPS course for the Qualification in Counselling Psychology (QCoP), commenced a professional doctorate (part time) in Counselling Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University in Sept 2018. He expects to qualify in July 2025. Ben has worked for several charities both as a practitioner and as a Trustee and then Chair – he very much values this work and has a keen eye on social justice. In his free time Ben considers himself an amateur creative writer, is a published contributor to a psychology book and is active on many fan fiction gaming forums as such and is a published writer.

Tristan Paton – Co-Chair of Trustees (Fundraising & Refugee Sector)

Tristan has worked primarily in fundraising from trusts, foundations and institutional funders across the arts, homelessness, sport for development and the refugee sector. He also has a Masters in Psychosocial Studies, which culminated in a research project exploring experiences of national identity through a psychoanalytical lens.   "Music Action International is my first Trustee role, and I really appreciate the opportunity to work with such a dedicated, talented and creative team."

Dr Daniel Diaz Vera – Trustee

Originally from Chile, Daniel specialises in organisational psychology with a masters in Community Psychology and Organisational Change, and a Phd on Non-profit Organisations. He is lecturer at the Global Development Institute at Manchester University researching the impact and effectiveness of NGO Boards. He is also a fantastic photographer and many of his images are on our website.

Photo Credit: Martin Fuentes

Sepideh Amiri – Trustee (Treasurer)

Sepideh is a member of Stone Flowers and has been making music with us since 2011. She has also delivered creative sessions for kids in our Harmonise Programme. Sepideh is a qualified accountant and we are delighted to welcome her to our Board of Trustees as our treasurer with valuable experience and insights to our board and programmes.

Ivana Gavrić – Ambassador

Orignally from Bosnia-Hercegovina, international concert pianist and recording artist Ivana Gavrić performs on the major UK concert platforms, including Wigmore Hall, Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall as well as across Europe, USA, Canada, Japan and Russia. “Music has the wonderful power to transcend divisions of language, cultures and age, and can help bring people together, particularly in broken communities. Music gave me great comfort, escape, hope and a sense of direction when I was forced to flee Sarajevo as a child. I firmly believe in the importance of the work Music Action International carry out, in Bosnia Herzegovina, and elsewhere across the world, and I am honoured to be their Ambassador.”

Jean Paul Samputu – Ambassador and Music Facilitator

Jean Paul Samputu is a singer, songwriter, and musician from Rwanda. He has established himself as one of the most prominent African artists on the world stage. Having survived the Rwanda Genocide of 1994, Jean Paul went on to win the prestigious Kora Award (the “African Grammy”) for Best African Traditional Artist in 2003, as well as numerous international awards, including the Calabash of Peace. Jean Paul travels the world as a cultural ambassador for Rwanda, bringing traditional African singing, dancing, and drumming, and most importantly, a message of peace, hope, and reconciliation. He also continues his efforts to educate young people about genocide through panel discussions and forums at colleges and universities.

Harry Christophers – Ambassador

Harry Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra, as well as a regular guest conductor for many of the major symphony orchestras and opera companies worldwide. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America and the Far East gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque and 20th-century music. “Music can add a semblance of sanity to a world that is full of conflict. I firmly believe that it teaches us to love not hate, to be humble rather than arrogant, and to build not destroy. I believe in the importance and the need of the work of Music Action International and am incredibly proud to become their musical ambassador. I urge you to support this wonderful charity.”

“When you work together with love
you can achieve anything.”

Amir, Survivor

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