Meet the GRACE Cares Heroes!
We are a [global] catalyst – helping local heroes grow into organizations utilizing their unique resources to take action, in community development & empowerment.
Jefferson Guyo Badiva
Jefferson Guyo Badiva was born and raised in the heart of the Galana area in Kenya. He comes from the Watha community, a Cushitic people living in the semi-arid Galana region of south-eastern Kenya. Guyo plays an important role in the community and is very keen to work with local agencies for the betterment of his people. He was fortunate to enroll in university in 2015 and is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Law in Nairobi. Guyo’s aim is to use his law education to help his people gain official recognition as an ethnic group in the eyes of the Kenyan government to preserve, develop, and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories and their ethnic identity as the basis of their continued existence as a people. The Watha community is truly excited to collaborate with GRACE Cares in relation to work on a water project with the intention of helping the community access clean drinking water and combat diseases such as cholera and typhoid as well as ward off crocodile attacks.
Dr. Beck Banda is a public health, youth and community education specialist. He has been Executive Director for YOCUPA (Zambia Youth Land Project) for 18 years. He has specialized in utilizing theater for community action as a tool to raise awareness and provoke community action. Beck has served on the National AIDS Council Board and Zambia Global Fund Coordinating Committee for over 8 years. He is an innovator of SMAGs in Zambia and he holds a BA (Hons) in Community Education, a Master’s in Public Health, and a PhD in Public Health.
Andrew views himself as a facilitator of development who works to discover where he might encourage the emergent development of others. He has worked as the Program Director for Community Finance Guatemala for the past 5 years, empowering local leaders to support their communities through financial education workshops and savings group trainings. While designing and implementing the Community Finance program, Andrew was fortunate enough to simultaneously earn a Master’s degree in Community Development at the University of New Hampshire. The degree complimented his two Bachelor’s degrees, one in International and Developmental Economics and the other in Spanish. Currently he is working as Training and Education Coordinator at Integral Without Borders, managing an online certificate program in Integral Project Design for Social Transformation.
Project Hearts Director
Marissa is currently based in Baitoa, Dominican Republic, where she is the Executive Director of Project Hearts, a partner project of GRACE Cares. In this role Marissa leads a team of locals who empower residents with education and practical knowledge, especially in regard to health and sanitation. As Project Hearts supports the community so they can transform their own neighborhoods, GRACE Cares supports the organization with technical guidance. For over 15 years Marissa has worked in nonprofit administration and is still passionate about bringing light to dark places and situations.
Kali to Kali Team
Erick currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he works on clinical research trials and patient care while maintaining his global efforts with his colleague and friend Hason Khan for their NGO Kali to Kali. Restoring sustainable practices in areas of need through education, health, and wellness remains a priority within their objectives. Through GRACE Cares, Erick and Hason are able to network on a global level and begin projects in Pakistan and Rwanda. Erick holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health from UMass Lowell in Lowell, Massachusetts, and a Master’s of Science from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, UK.
Kali to Kali Team
Hason currently lives in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, where he was born and raised. He maintains involvement with social justice activities as well as local organizations that support youth development, community development, and sustainable initiatives. Hason holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health and Pre-Medical Studies from MCPHS University in Boston, MA, and a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Southern California (Keck School of Medicine). Hason currently works as a Health System Implementation Specialist for Thermo Fisher Scientific. In his role, Hason consults physicians on blood testing, works to provide gap assessments in health systems, and travels throughout the Northeast.
B4 Peace Founder/Director
Dr. Namaya (MIA, MSN, D.Sci.) is a poet and artist who has worked in peace building and community development all of his adult life. He served in the Peace Corps in the mid-1970’s and then worked in Morocco with Catholic Relief Services in the 1980’s. He received his Master’s in International Development at the School for International Training. With his wife Zoe Kopp and nephew Kenneth Giancola he founded GRACE Cares in 2002. Namaya is the Director of the B4 Peace projects because of the importance of peace and social justice in every community. He has worked on B4 Peace projects in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Palestine, and the US.
Afshan is a recent graduate of McGill University, currently working in marketing at Aavrani in New York City. The Lucknow Project initiative was started by her mother and sister, Seema Haider and Nazeela Nasseri, as a continuation and expansion of aid to their ancestral village on the outskirts of Lucknow, India. Afshan began teaching at 15, creating an intern program which brought youth from around the world to help teach for weeks at a time. Being involved with GRACE Cares has helped her gain a grounded understanding of the world and more importantly an understanding of the importance of local contexts in development.
Salena currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and is a graduate of Georgia Southern University with a BA in Psychology. She is now planning on getting her Master’s in Nonprofit Management. She started about a year ago with GRACE Cares and is in the process of building a school for disabled children in India. GRACE Cares has helped Salena understand how nonprofits work and the kindness required to build a better community in the world.