Katelynne Herchak is VIDEA’s Indigenous Governance Officer, based in Victoria. Kate is Inuk from Kuujjuaq, QC with ties to Nunavut and Labrador, and has been a visitor on Lekwungen territory for 23 years. She has a background in Indigenous Family Support Work, is a former Canada World Youth IAYI Intern, and recently completed the Katimavik National Experience. Kate believes that climate change highlights how interconnected we are to the land, and that if we listen to Indigenous peoples and the land itself, we can tackle climate change together.
Michael Songiso is VIDEA’s Climate Change Advisor – Vulnerable Youth, in Lusaka, Zambia. Michael is passionate about the deeply interrelated topics of climate change, food security, gender equality and access to education. He is an amazing storyteller and writer, and is currently writing a book that indirectly calls for climate action. Michael has recently been accepted to UBC’s SDG Praxis Institute 2020 Program, the theme of which is Shock, System Change and Agency.
Lynn Thornton has been the Executive Director of VIDEA for the past 18 years. Before moving to Canada and taking up this role, Lynn worked at Greenpeace UK, and ActionAid UK. Lynn lives in Victoria, with her partner Kris and an opinionated chocolate lab – Casey. Lynn has two sons – Adan, a pilot who lives in Winnipeg, and Dylan, a kinesiology student at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Lynn is passionate about working to achieve universal human rights and about actions that empower youth to lead global development. Lynn is co-Chair of the of the BC Council for International Cooperation, and a Board member with the environmental school in Victoria, Oak and Orca Bioregional school. Lynn is an expert in neglecting gardening and household activities in order to read and do ballet.
Lisa Hernandez is VIDEA’s Finance Manager, administrator, and all round rational thinker. Lisa, who started as a practicum student in 2011, plays a central role in our day-to-day operations and we couldn’t operate without her. She really is a jack of all trades! Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Intercultural Education Training from the University of Victoria. Lisa is passionate about the achievement of universal human rights, and youth and womens’ empowerment. Lisa is a critical and lateral thinker and has answers when others don’t. The entire team aspires to having Lisa’s calm-headedness and never-ending reserves of patience. Lisa lives in Victoria with her husband, dog and sometimes team member, Rocky, and four adorable children.
Lesley Palmer has been the Programme Manager of VIDEA for 14 years. Lesley’s background is in Women’s Studies. She hails from Omemee, Ontario and moved to BC after exploring her 20’s in Halifax-DJ’ing and working in a vegan restaurant. In her time at VIDEA, Lesley has managed both International Youth Internship programmes, as well as Aboriginal Youth Internship programmes. Lesley believes that it’s time to re-imagine and re-create the way we live in the world. It’s time to dismantle old systems, to listen, unlearn, learn, and fight for justice. Lesley lives in Victoria, with her jazz-drummer partner Kelby and daughter Juna. Lesley has a passion for Organic, vegan, fair trade, junk food.
Katie Haworth first joined the VIDEA family as an IYIP intern in 2015. Having recently completed a MA in Development Studies, she joined the team again, as a Program Officer. Katie is fascinated by global interconnectedness and passionate about inspiring collective action for the greater good. She lives in Toronto with her wife and a lot of books.
Bertha Mukonda is our Education Hub Team Leader. Bertha joined VIDEA through Women for Change in grade 11 and has been a part of the Education Program with VIDEA for 8 years. Despite the hardship of rural life, Bertha did extremely well in Grade 12 and was accepted to the University of Zambia in 2015. She graduated with a Bachelor of Education in Special Education in 2019, and became our Education Hub Team Leader in 2020. Based in Lusaka, Bertha is keen to continue learning about global issues.
Hillary Ronald is VIDEA’s Youth Programmes Manager and has been on the team since 2014 when she completed her practicum with VIDEA before graduating from UVic with a focus in Social Justice later that year! Hillary leads our Indigenous Youth Programming and other central VIDEA projects and programs. Hillary is most passionate about climate justice and how it intersects with basically everything. Although always a prairie girl, Hillary happily now makes her home in Victoria enjoying the plethora of available coffee options (fair trade of course) and used bookstores!
Taleetha Tait is one of VIDEA’s IAYI Project Coordinators, based in Zambia. Taleetha is Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan from Witset BC, born into the Tsayu/Beaver Clan. Taleetha joins VIDEA from the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association where she was an Indigenous Youth Connections Worker. Taleetha is a former IndigenEYEZ Facilitator with the BC Government Aboriginal Youth Intern Program and former VIDEA IAYI intern.
Chris Singelengelle is VIDEA’s Indigenous Internship Coordinator and is instrumental in supporting the journey of each and every intern who passes through VIDEA. Chris is passionate about climate change and is a strong advocate for the equality of women and girls. Chris joined VIDEA after many years working as a gender rights activist with Women for Change, focused on supporting gender equality in rural development projects. Chris is a former teacher, head teacher, and youth empowerment professional. Chris is a strong advocate for the rights of vulnerable and under-represented youth.
Isaac Mbewe is VIDEA’s Safety and Logistics Coordinator in Zambia. Isaac is passionate about fair trade and justice for all. Before joining our team at VIDEA, Isaac worked as part of the team at Women for Change, advocating for gender equality. A significant part of this role was engaging traditional leaders in Zambia on the role that they can play in implementing gender equity within their territories. During this work, Isaac met all of the traditional leaders while travelling Zambia far and wide. Isaac helps to coordinate our Indigenous Internship programme with a focus on supporting logistics and the safety of interns. Isaac has an extraordinary record of safety and is drawn to open-minded and honest people.
Sarah Danks has been a summer student with VIDEA since 2016 and primarily works on VIDEA’s annual fundraiser, the Global Solidarity Challenge. She lives in Victoria and is finishing off her BSc in Psychology with a Minor in Professional Communication at UVic. Sarah is passionate about learning, human rights, photography, and mental health. In her free time, you can find her curled up with a fantasy novel, a cup of tea, and her dog, Callie.
Rachel Barr – VIDEA’s Innovation, Inclusion, and Gender Manager – lives on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen speaking peoples (Victoria) with her dying plants, which she just can’t manage to keep alive. Rachel became part of the VIDEA family in 2015 as an IYIP intern and joined as a staff member in 2018. She is a collaborator on a number of VIDEA programs, including the International Indigenous Youth internships and the Journey from the Heart programming. Rachel feels lucky to work within a local and international context, alongside her friends, colleagues, and partner organizations, who are always teaching her new things about the global issues that connect us all.
Miranda Yates. I’m currently a UVic student here in Victoria, BC and I’m going to be working at VIDEA for the summer helping people with diverse abilities, the Global Solidarity Challenge, and fundraising. I am excited to learn more about global issues and how we can come together to help these issues. I am an athlete, and I am part of the UVic cheer team, I also play baseball and basketball and I enjoy watching football and wrestling. I also love flowers and gardening, I am currently growing carrots and love to smell roses and sunflowers. I also love to watch tv and listen to music, my favourite shows are Seth Myers, Jimmy Fallen, Jimmy Kimmel, and Ellen. I am also a radio host for Voluntary Noise on CFUV 101.9 FM and love playing hip hop, country and pop.
Vanessa Sterling is VIDEA’s Indigenous Youth Facilitator. Vanessa is passionate about helping build a sustainable future for our Indigenous youth and partners overseas. Vanessa, who is from Simpcw First Nation in Barriere and a past VIDEA IAYI intern, thrives on being a life-long learner. She loves taking trainings to better her education and believes that education makes her family and community stronger. Her most recent certification was becoming a First Responder in her community. Vanessa coordinates some of VIDEA’s youth work in the Okanagan region, plays other fabulous roles in our team. In non-COVID times, Vanessa is one of our IAYI Community-Supported Cohort, Indigenous Youth support people, set to accompany Indigenous interns on their journeys to Zambia and Uganda.
Rose Busingye is VIDEA’s Intern Coordinator in Entebbe, Uganda. She is a passionate supporter of Black Lives Matter and integrates this into her work and personal life. She believes strongly in the importance of equality, inclusion and diversity. She wants equal rights to be reached for all women and girls. Rose is an extremely selfless person who wants to see others succeed and achieve their goals. Rose loves being a mentor, and she is a fabulous mentor to many, including VIDEA interns!
Obino Chibilika is VIDEA’s Internship Facilitator in Lundazi, Zambia. Obino facilitates the stay of interns at the house in Lundazi and orients them to their new community and local issues. Obino is passionate about equitable distribution of resources. He is an extraordinary caretaker and adapts well in multicultural environments. Obino always wants to be learning new things.