Our Global Team
Meet Nukanti's team! We are proud to have people from different parts of the world and with different skills and background, but who are all united by the same passion to help foster communities through youth empowerment. Below you will find a brief profile of our current team members, as well as a list of longtime supporters.
Feel free to email our team with your questions, ideas, and thoughts. Because Nukanti means 'us'.
Founder & Executive Director
Location: Boston, USA
Where are you from?: Ivory Coast
Why choose the name "Nukanti"? When I heard the word Nukanti for the first time, meaning “Us,” it recapped not only my childhood dream, my history and those I had gotten to know, but also the feeling of pertaining not to any one culture, but to many at the same time. It also explains how I grew up eating chocolate croissants in the morning; fried plantains on my way back from school; my mother’s delicious Dolmehs at home, and now carry my Arepas wherever I go.
Why Nukanti Foundation? Nukanti embodies multiculturalism and the meaning of what it is to be a citizen of the world. But most importantly, Nukanti epitomizes the concept of a community and a shift from the individual to the collective, uniting all those inspired to produce a positive social change regardless of their backgrounds. Empowerment should not be limited to the disadvantaged and vulnerable, but also to those with opportunities who want to create a more just society.
Tell us about you?: I am a child anthropologist and human rights consultant, specializing in child protection and conflict situations. I have lived for 22 years in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and am fluent in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Farsi and English. I am completing PhD in child anthropology at the University of London and I hold a Master’s degree in International Development from Cornell.
Program Manager, Nukanti Colombia
Location: Bogotá, Colombia
Where are you from?: Sofia, Bulgaria
How did you hear about Nukanti?: CouchSurfing
What are you doing for Nukanti?: I first joined the team as an EVS volunteer in 2013, when I gave English classes and led workshops for children and youth in Quinchía, a small village in Colombia's Coffee Region, and in Cali. I am currently responsible of assisting the Executive Director, coordinating and developing Nukanti's programs in Colombia, and supporting the global team.
What do you do in addition to your work with Nukanti?: In my free time I like dancing, going to the theatre and cinema, cooking, reading, listening to music, riding my bike, and hiking. I'm trained in Bulgarian folklore dances and Aikido, and recently started playing softball, my newest passion!
Director, Nukanti UK
Location: Bournemouth, UK
Where are you from?: United Kingdom
How did you hear about Nukanti?: I was traveling and volunteering through Latin America in 2012, I found out about them on Couchsurfing and got the chance to visit the Children’s Community projects in Quinchía, Colombia. I have been part of the Nukanti community ever since.
What are you doing for Nukanti?: I'm building and growing the Nukanti network and always looking for new volunteers, partners and ideas for new projects. I used my project management and leadership skills to establish the charity in the UK from virtually zero.
What do you do in addition to your work with Nukanti?: When I'm not working on projects for Nukanti, I have a busy day job working as an IT Project Manager and like to go salsa dancing.
Leonardo Pescador Restrepo
Regional Director, Nukanti Colombia | Director, Corporación Centro para Jóvenes
Location: Pereira, Colombia
Where are you from?: Quinchía, Colombia
What do you do for Nukanti?: He served as District Advisor of Youth in Quinchía 2002-2005, as Coordinator of the III Youth Congress in 2007, as Founder of Corporacion Centro Para Jovenes (Center Corporation for Youth) in 2008.
How did you get involved in Nukanti?: I was interested in Human Rights because of my personal experience. I began to work in the social sector taking advantage of a great tool that had become available in the moment - the Internet.
Program Coordinator, Playing for Freedom
Location: Bogotá, Colombia
Where are you from?: From Bogotá, but I have lived many years in the neighboring municipality of Soacha.
How did you hear about Nukanti?: I got to know Niousha Roshani, Nukanti's founder, in the Capoeira Nativos school in Bogotá where we were both practicing this martial art. She mentioned to me her idea about the project and I liked it very much. So I developed a social Capoeira project adapted to the conditions in Soacha, the sector of Cazucá, which is one of the most complicated zones of Bogotá, and presented it as my thesis at university. The following year we started the Playing for Freedom project.
What do you do for Nukanti?: I am coordinator of the Playing for Freedom project, I give Capoeira classes to children and youth from vulnerable environments, and I manage the collaborations with other private and public institutions.
What do you do in addition to your work with Nukanti?: I am master of Sports Science, I teach physical education at a local high school and I give Capoeira classes. Since 2002 I have been organizing different sports and recreational activities for people from different social backgrounds and of different ages.
Program Coordinator, Weaving Cazucá
Location: Bogotá, Colombia
Where are you from?: The Huila department in the south of Colombia
How did you hear about Nukanti?: I got to know Nukanti through my work for the community directed to after-school tutoring and workshops for children in my sector in Cazucá. A friend of mine presented me to Cristhian, who brought Niousha to the community, and we then started working together.
What do you do for Nukanti?: I manage Nukanti's community center in Cazucá, where we offer various activities for the benefit of the community, with a focus on empowerment workshops with children, youth, and women. We also collaborate with other organizations that come to the sector and lend them the space for their activities.
What do you do in addition to your work with Nukanti?: I am Vice President of Foundation Proyecto Escape, which is a grassroots organization that works with children and youth in areas such as education, culture and art, sports, and environment. We also run a small library which is open to both children, youth and adults of the sector. Our activities are aimed at transforming youth into subjects of peace.
Program Coordinator, Morocco Solidarity Micro-Credit Project
Juan Camilo Peralta
Ex-Program Coordinator: My Life in Focus
Ex-Program Officer: Women's Solidarity Project
Ex-Program Director: Pulse of Life
Ex-Program Director, L'Ekol Se La Vi