The Za Team

JMT2Jayne Morris-Thurgood (Founding UK Director)

Jayne spent two decades working in London Hospitals, primarily in cardiovascular research which culminated in a PhD from Imperial College in 1997, she then continued her research at the Wales Heart Research Institute in Cardiff until 2003. On venturing into the charitable arena Jayne volunteered for the Prince’s Trust and later became a board member for the Aled Richard’s Trust. In 2005 she set up a not-for-profit business in order to secure funds for projects she was passionate about in the Nkomazi region of South Africa. Then in 2009 Jayne together with friends brought over the first Zakhele group to the UK. The success of this visit culminated in the launch of Za Foundation in 2010 of which Jayne is a founding member.

13055005_1167377656626525_8679334436195146407_oKate Birnie (UK Director and Chair)

Kate worked for the blue chip consumer goods company Unilever for twelve years as a Manager in their international business development division. During this time she travelled extensively to the Far East training staff and implementing new software and procedures in local Unilever companies. From her time with Unilever Kate gained experience in customer interface, export procedures, staff management and business administration. More recently Kate has been a professional photographer and partner in a privately owned photography business. She became involved in the 2011 Zakhele tour originally to create a photographic record of the visit. Kate was so inspired by the Zakhele tour that it became a turning point for her and she has worked voluntarily for Za Foundation ever since, becoming a Director in May 2012 and Chair in 2015.

20170313_150313Anna Young (UK Director)

As a primary school teacher and a respite carer for children with learning disabilities, Anna has a keen interest in the education and welfare of children. Her 20 years of experience in the classroom has given Anna valuable insight into how children learn; an understanding of current educational practices and a firm belief in the value of global education. During a stint living in South East Asia, Anna joined the committee of a local expat volunteer organisation and became the Editor of the organisation’s monthly magazine. In this role, Anna developed desktop publishing, marketing and editorial skills whilst getting involved in various volunteer projects for women and children in the local community. Anna has transferred these skills and is now responsible for producing all of Za Foundation’s marketing literature as well as assisting in the management of Za Foundation’s other programmes and projects.

Cleo1Cleopas Maseko (South African Director)

Cleopas joined Thembalethu Home Based Care, (THBC), in 2004. This Charity gave him the opportunity to utilise not only his skills but his compassionate understanding of the many social and economic challenges that affect the African people. One such challenge is the devastating effects on individuals and families as a result of HIV/AIDS and abject poverty. In 2005 Cleopas was given an opportunity to teach firstly at Shammah Private College and later at Imbongozi Faculty of Training, here he used teaching as a way of equipping young people in the skills and knowledge necessary to confront such social and economic challenges. Cleopas re-joined Thembalethu in 2008 as Manager for the Youth in Action programme (This included all the Youth projects run by THBC including the GOLD Peer Education Programme). He is now CEO of Thembalethu and managing all the strategic, planning and operational aspects of the charity. Currently Cleopas is completing a B.Comm degree in Economics, Insurance & Risk Management.

IMG_6179Gill Baldwin (Part-time volunteer)

Gill’s interest in international development was initially sparked by her son’s work for a global children’s charity. While visiting him in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2009, she was inspired by the work of a life-changing street children’s project, providing shelter and education to the city’s most vulnerable children. She also sponsors and corresponds with a young girl in India. During her time as a Modern Languages teacher at Backwell School, Gill witnessed first hand the positive impact of the Zakhele group on students, both in terms of cultural awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS. Since January 2014, she has volunteered alongside the UK directors; she assists Backwell School Sixth Form students organise fund-raising events for Za Foundation, manages the Sponsor a Child scheme and has produced videos which illustrate the work of the Zakhele group in clinics and schools in South Africa.

David Clarke (Company Secretary)

David has worked in social housing for over 35 years, almost all of that time being spent at Housing Associations in Bristol, Bath and North Somerset.  He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing. Although principally concerned with operations, dealing with tenancy and asset management, he has also been involved in governance and has had spells as Company Secretary to two Associations. He was a youth and junior church leader at a Church in Portishead for many years. On retiring from that role he became involved with Za and has acted as Company Secretary since 2010.