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
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.
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 80 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 of Support Services 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.
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.
Outreach Team Leader (Victoria)
After graduating from university with a philosophy degree in 2019, Ella has been involved in various projects and professional roles from helping to run an online community for female entrepreneurs to managing the marketing activities of a cyber security firm.
Now working as a UX designer, Ella spends time improving digital experiences and accessibility for all kinds of users of products and solutions.
Ella has always had a passion for volunteering and helping those in need. She worked for Nightline while at university, doing overnight shifts to offer a listening ear to those struggling. A big lover of animals, Ella has also volunteered at a monkey sanctuary in South Africa to help injured and abandoned monkeys make it back into the wild.
Ella joined Refuge Network International in order to continue efforts to make a positive change in society and have a better awareness of the everyday struggles that different people in our community are going through.
She is our Outreach Team Leader for Victoria.
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.
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.
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.
Outreach Team Leader (The Strand)
James is a copywriter currently working in the PR industry. He has written content for all types of organisations, from SMEs to world-leading multinationals, and for publications such as Forbes, Microsoft Technology Record, and the World Economic Forum.
Prior to this, he worked as an in-house writer for two successful HR businesses and a student careers website after graduating with a degree in Creative Writing.
James grew up in North Yorkshire before moving to Liverpool for university. He then lived and worked in Manchester for 18 months before moving south to London. James joined Refuge Network International after witnessing first-hand the number and plight of homeless people in the capital, and when he spotted the RNI team distributing food one Saturday afternoon, he realised he had to help.
James especially enjoys the social aspect of volunteer work, alongside the joy and satisfaction that comes with supporting those in need. He's very proud to be a part of the RNI family and be able to help make a genuine difference in his adopted home.
James is our Outreach Team Leader at the Strand.
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.
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.
Interim Co-Director (Admin) at Refuge Network Senegal
Sokhna Ndiaye is one of our Interim Co-Directors at Refuge Network Senegal.
Interim Co-Director (Finance) at Refuge Network Senegal
Adeline Dercia is an interim Co-Director (Finance) of our charity in Senegal.