Our Team

Meet Our Team

Our full-time team together with our international volunteers supports the work on the ground.

We all come together from around the world and are united under one common mission:

to serve refugee children.

As a 33 year old Syrian man, I had the ability to experience and enjoy life in Syria before the war. When the war began, everything changed. We no longer knew how to laugh, enjoy life, or be happy. Coming to Europe as a refugee, I saw the deep loss of life, happiness, and opportunity suffered by refugee kids. My dream for Happy Caravan was to give these children a chance to be happy, learn, and build community in their new homeland.

Alaeddin Janid
Founder

When I was 15 years old, I went to a talk by a woman working with displaced people in Rwanda. From that moment, I knew I wanted to do something positive for people who didn’t have the same privileges as me growing up. Almost 10 years later and 2 years working with vulnerable children in Southeast Asia, I find myself here at Happy Caravan, and every day I see the positive impact we are having on the children’s lives. The children genuinely love coming to Happy Caravan.

Marie-Josephine Hobson
Project Manager

After I received news of the refugee crisis years ago, I knew I had to get involved in some way, but living in the US, I felt so distant from the reality of the situation. When I moved to Europe, I knew I would get involved and first volunteered with HC.  I was so humbled by each one’s dedication to learn despite the circumstances they were living in. From then on, knew I would stay involved in some way and every day I am more inspired by being part of such a rich community.

Audrey Bingaman
Public Relations Manager & Board Member

I have been involved in working with Happy Caravan since July 2017. Outside of my work with Happy Caravan, I teach EAL at the International School of Prague, and run international summer camps at Luethi Peterson Camps. I am passionate about bringing different cultures together to build a community, and empowering young people to learn, create change and act with compassion.

Nina Horakova
Education Manager & Board Member

Since I was in school the inequality in education was something that deeply disturbed me, bringing high quality education to those who did not have access, became part of my life goal. When I saw the how motivated the Happy Caravan students living in the refugee camps were to learn, come to school and how they just adored Happy Caravan, I couldn’t turn away and they stole my heart. I am so grateful to be a part of this beautiful community.

Momoko Iwagami
Executive Director

Avid learner, I grew up wanting to help others. First through technology where I worked as a lead for startups to global companies many years. Later I studied individual & team performance and started to focus on education. I then went to help kids from the slums in Asia. I believe all children deserve the love, time and support that they need to become well-rounded humans because they will be the ones building tomorrow’s world too. I’m proud to be part of such a great team and the impact it creates through Happy Caravan.

Antoine Adeux
Project Manager

I found Happy Caravan through social media,  and was initially interested because of the emphasis on art and creativity.  With a background  in the arts, I have always had an interest in art therapy.  I spent quite a lot of time researching, and the more I found out about Happy Caravan the more it felt like the right place to volunteer. The children completely stole my heart, and I gained a lot of perspective and learned a lot. Since returning home I have completely changed my career and decided to follow my passion of working with children.

Debbie Isley
Human Resources Manager

Like so many others, I was shocked by the perilous journeys people were taking to seek safety in Europe and the lack of resources and compassion that they found upon arrival. As is human nature, my first instinct was to help. I found Happy Caravan and felt a strong connection to their vision and mission. I continue to be amazed and inspired by the students I teach and truly reassured by the compassion and love brought by the volunteers. I believe strongly in the power of education to break the cycle of conflict and poverty.

Eilidh Macgilp
Volunteer Coordinator

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Leo Wartna
Administrative Manager

It was in November 2017 when I saw Alaeddin for the first time in an interview on Social Media. He looked and felt like one of those few people you want to be with – pure, honest, brave, a beautiful soul. After we travelled together to Greece and visited the Happy Caravan schools I was overwhelmed. What Alaeddin and his team created is goodness in every sense of the word. Happy Caravan brings essential change for those that are in need the most – children – our children!

Adriaan Kok
Treasurer

I am the founder of The Present Movement (TPM), a community that connects business owners to NGO’s who improve the lives of refugees around the world. My goal is to inspire as many entrepreneurs as possible in the next couple of years to either directly or indirectly make a contribution to the lives of refugees in The Netherlands or abroad.Through my work with TPM, I became involved in Happy Caravan and took on the role to support the organization as a business consultant.

Marnix Geus
Business Consultant

I had the dream to do something with refugees, and found Happy Caravan on social media. From the first contact, I was impressed by the passion and motivation of the organization. In October 2017, I visited the camp to do creative activities with the kids. I was impressed by the fact that kids could communicate with us in English due to the Happy Caravan English lessons. Some kids learned in just 3 months! After my first visit, I stayed involved and helped with some administrative activities.

Esther Duineveld
Advisor

We are always looking to expand

Want to join our team?

Contact us