Saif Ali - Integr8 UK


Both the vision and overall ethos of Integr8 UK align closely with those of ThoughtBox – the importance of supporting young people to “unlearn” their stereotypes and prejudices surrounding refugees and asylum seekers is more important now than it has ever been – and Saif and ThoughtBox are looking forward to working closely together to support positive integration and celebrate diversity.

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"Integr8 UK is a non-for-profit community development social enterprise founded following my experiences as a refugee coming from Iraq. Inspired by my 18-year journey of seeking asylum, I founded Integr8 UK in 2015 right after receiving my leave to remain. Through collaborative work with other refugee-support agencies, we aim to empower people and create unique opportunities to enable them to integrate and lead a purposeful life and work experience in the UK.

I envision a world that is enriched by the diverse experiences and unique gifts that refugees and asylum seekers carry. My mission is to enable them to uncover those gifts and share them in a world where everyone feels respected, included and able to embrace their differences and celebrate their individuality beyond labels and limitations."


Ali Knowles - Creator of Ollie and his Superpowers


When I first crossed paths with ThoughtBox, it was immediately apparent just how much we had in common, both in terms of the work were are doing to support the emotional health of young people and also in our approaches to support the whole person in finding resilience to help themselves. The Ollie concept encourages children to think, to take control, to question and to finds solutions – just as the ThoughtBox curriculum aims to do –  we don’t give children fish, we teach them how to fish!

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Ollie and his Superpowers was my first offering, the idea emerging after becoming a cognitive therapist four years ago. I realised that we didn’t need another text book on how to help children with emotional and behavioural issues.  We needed something simple but effective.

I initially dealt with adult clients, but soon realised my affinity with children after one came along to a consultation. Soon after ideas for my book were born.

The concept is simple: ask a child to draw a heart and they can. Ask a child to draw an emotion and they can’t. By making emotions superpowers we give kids something they can relate to and control. If we can deal with issues while they are kids it makes so much difference to how they develop. By using the Ollie concept, we can help young people to leave unwanted emotional baggage behind as they grow into adults.

The true power of this model is that it is strength focused. Rather than being a therapy model that tells you what you should do, it asks you what you think you should do and gives you the tools to make the changes that best suit you as an individual.  As I have always said, “some therapies give you fish, the Ollie model teaches you to how fish!”

The Ollie model encourages both young and old to celebrate their individuality and to question their feelings and make decisions based on what’s right for them and what will help them be the best version of themselves.

Very much like ThoughtBox, the Ollie concept embraces the idea that one size does not fit all in a therapeutic model. Children are very individual and should be encouraged to be the best version of themselves whatever that may be.


Kyle Perkins - Founder of Parkour Experiences


When I first heard of ThoughtBox and the work Rachel was doing I instantly knew this was a movement I wanted to be a part of. After speaking with Rachel about her work it was clear we shared many of the same ideas and concerns about the current state of education, and how young people interact in today's society and I hope to be able to help support the next generation through my own experiences, ideas and teaching.

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At 19 I was faced with an opportunity that not many people of that age have: I could stay in college or start a business. I took the leap and set out on my own path with zero knowledge, zero savings yet plenty of positive thinking. Nearly a decade later my business - teaching, performing and filming as a professional freerunner and coach - is still going strong. Through teaching the art of movement (Parkour) the idea of getting to point A to point B in the most effective way possible it has given me many great opportunities in working with, and for young people from all walks of life.

Since I was 16 I've been featured in many magazines and newspapers about my work as a freerunner and after being given the opportunity to coach I have moved down a self-made path of coaching, which later transitioned into mentoring. Through my work as parkour coach, many young people have felt the benefits of the power of movement - not only physically but mentally. As they overcome physical obstacles they then gain the ability to overcome mental ones.

Through my own experiences growing up, I have developed the ability to teach, coach and mentor in a relatable way, helping young people to talk about issues that others either have no reference for, or don't feel comfortable speaking about. This comes through the way I teach and speak when engaging with the youth groups I work with.

Working on the sidelines of the education system has given me great insight into the struggles students and teachers face in not only main stream education but alternative and home schooling too. I hope to help young people achieve and forge their own futures, utilising my skills and accumulated knowledge to support their journeys; be it through movement, exploration or mentoring.

I am the founder of Parkour Experiences. You can contact the team for movement based work, one to ones and mentoring by visiting our website:


Avril Macdonald - Creator of 'Feel  Brave'


I am thrilled to have been invited to be a ‘New Generation Thinker’ with ThoughtBox. The Feel Brave work is grounded in helping children understand the brains they come into this world with, to self regulate their emotions, and to build empathy and a growth mindset so our values are totally aligned with ThoughtBox.  I look forward to the positive impact our relationship will have on the world and particularly how we can help reverse the current alarming trends in mental health and help children not just survive but thrive in the world they live in!


"I am the author of the ‘Feel Brave' series of books (little stories about big feelings for 4-7 year olds) and founder of  I am passionate about giving all children access to tools to help them manage tough emotions and reach their potential.

When I had my first panic attack at eight years old, no one really spoke about anxiety disorders (or mental health for that matter!)  It wasn’t until years later when my sister (who was training to be a nurse), brought home some photocopied material she had come across which explained everything I had experienced that I felt so relieved that I wasn’t alone.

This new information gave me insatiable curiosity about the mind/body connection and I found techniques such as Neuro Lingusitc Programming (NLP), and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which really helped.  I also found the world famous coach Tony Robbins (whose work uses many similar sorts of techniques), and was astounded by the impact that his books and exercises had on not only my ability to manage my anxiety, but in helping me to reach my own creative potential.   I wondered why a lot of the techniques that I’d learnt were not being taught to children.  I also felt curious about how we might be able to create something that really speaks to children and gives them strategies to help them cope in life just as Tony Robbins has managed to do (and still does) for so many adults.

When my daughter had her first nightmare, managing it came very easily to me from all the techniques that I had learnt herself in managing my own anxiety.  I realised then that I might be able to help other children by sharing these sorts of techniques and others using characters, poems and stories.  We have such big problems with children’s mental health and wellbeing right now so I decided to try and bring simple strategies and techniques into the mainstream using stories and characters (think ‘Peppa Pig meets Tony Robbins’) and Feel Brave was born!"



Etienne Salborn - Founder of SINA (Social Innovation Academy)


Learning through experience and encouraging a plurality of outcomes amongst students is something that both SINA and ThoughtBox have in common, empowering students to think for themselves. The need to find new solutions rather than learning information is behind our students’ focus and unlearning is a focus that unites the work that we are doing and the ethos embedded in ThoughtBox’s practice. 

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German by blood and Ugandan by heart, Etienne Salborn is a changemaker. After founding Jangu e.V. in 2007 focusing on an educational support of orphans, he went a step further and started the Social Innovation Academy (SINA) in 2013 - a self-organized eco-system transforming disadvantaged youth into social entrepreneurs.

The Social Innovation Academy (SINA) educates disadvantaged youth in Uganda to become job creators and social entrepreneurs with the ability to turn challenges into solutions.

A self-organized and “freesponsible” approach lets the scholars learn the skills needed for their own enterprises by taking up responsibilities within SINA. Scholars start to understand and value their past as a strength, rather than a subject of shame, and unleash their potentials to create social enterprises with positive impact on the environment and society.

Many independent social enterprises have emerged since the foundation of SINA, and the model of learning and creation has spread into the nearby Nakivale Refugee Settlement.

Through a process of self-organization and with very little running costs, refugees within this camp are creating their own jobs and dignified futures by themselves. More teams are currently bringing the SINA model into their refugee communities, amongst them the world's largest refugee camp “Bidi Bidi”, currently home to over 300,000 people.


Mervyn Benford - National Association of Small Schools


Through the work that I have been engaged with for much of my career, and the work that ThoughtBox is doing with schools, there is a strong agreement on the need to prepare our children for a radically different life in which work, career, profession will just not be as we have known them. Both myself and ThoughtBox have come together to share ideas, learnings, research and purpose to support young people in becoming self-sufficient, self-supporting, innovative, creative, resourceful and resilient in an uncertain future.

Mervyn Benford

"My education work is focused around advising and championing the need for small schools to support a more localised, resilience-based education, focusing on the impact of technology. 

I have been a primary teacher, Head and deputy Head in large and small schools, rural schools co-ordinator for two local authorities (plus NQT adviser in one and cross-phase inspector in the other.)

We believe the model of effective education now reflected in best village school practice displays more the qualities of small, human-scale education close to home and family, and within identifiable local communities, that all our children need, in town and country alike. Within such a model children feel safe and secure, know everyone and are known by everyone, behave well, feel that effort is worthwhile and achievement possible.

Our data confirms the better overall results that small schools achieve collectively. We believe this is as obtainable in the inner city as in remote Scottish communities where currently some of the best evidence arises not only of academic achievement in small schools but also achievement by pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. "



Luke Addison - PeaceJam UK


Through PeaceJam UK, I work with young people on international peace education programmes to support them in becoming active citizens and advocates for peace, justice and human rights.  Many of the themes of ThoughtBox support the work that is happening with PeaceJam and I support wholeheartedly all approaches to allow young people to become more compassionate and connected.

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"PeaceJam was initially launched in the USA in 1996. Ivan Suvanjieff, an artist and musician, had been talking with some gang members in North Denver, when he discovered that these young men with guns greatly admired Archbishop Desmond Tutu for his non-violent efforts toward social change.

He then realized that Nobel Peace Laureates could act as alternative role models for disaffected youngsters. His colleague, Dawn Engle, helped him contact the Dalai Lama, whom she had met during her years of work for the U.S. Congress. His Holiness loved their idea and helped them set up PeaceJam as a vehicle to enable his fellow Laureates to teach young people the art of peace.

The UK has been part of this global network since 2006. The PeaceJam annual Youth conference was hosted for 7 years by the University of Bradford and its Peace Studies Department, and is now hosted by the University of Winchester. PeaceJam UK works with schools and youth groups all around the UK. 

More than one million young people worldwide have participated in PeaceJam educational activities and community projects through the One Billion Acts of Peace (nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015).

PeaceJam has created thousands of new leadership and volunteer opportunities for young people.

Evaluations have shown that young people who participate in PeaceJam programmes show statistically significant gains in academic skills and knowledge, as well as increased school and community engagement.

Incidents of violence also decrease in schools and community-based organisations where PeaceJam programmes are implemented."



Célia Demoor  - Director of DEEP France


There are great synergies between the work we are doing within some of the DEEP France projects and  theideas that ThoughtBox is exploring, especially within the ‘Immigration & Refugees’ curriculum. Both projects are focusing on unlearning stereotypes about the refugee status and promoting the importance of seeing the whole of the person living the experience of displacement.

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"DEEP France is committed to building an intercultural, peaceful, conscientious and sustainable society, anchored in a culture of peace, where all the people who make up the society have a voice.

We are a community of persons - professional or otherwise - who work for the construction of peace,  dialogue and the transformation of the conflicts. Our actions are mainly based around the creation of dialogue, awareness and empathy development through projects, events or awareness-raising actions.

Anyone who recognizes our values s welcome to become an active member, to support us in activities, to propose ideas or a project that implements our vision of a society focused on the understanding of the 'other' and social and ecological sustainability.

Our “Voices of migrants” film project emerged from an urge to voice out the need for hosting, for understanding, and for solidarity. It was also created to defend fundamental rights for all, in the current context of the European fortress that observes rising extremism and isolationism, to the point that its borders have become graveyards.

There is humanitarian help, undeniably necessary, and there is the political debate. In the latter, voices are many, noisy, yet too often external, abstract, paternalistic, or even empty, lacking reality and responsibility. “Migrants”, “refugees”, “migration flood”, “migration crisis”… These words imprison identity, reduce existence. Invisible lives, but visible and deviant bodies. Undesirable and undesired.

By choosing to talk with them, these films give them the floor.



Anna Thomson - Founder of Nourishing Families


Anna Thomson started her organisation Nourishing Families after an extended period of time living in Japan and realising just how connected children and families were to the ingredients, cooking and nutrition of the food they were eating. Her programmes aim to transform how young people and families experience food and mealtimes, which can have a positive ripple-effect on many so many areas of life and wellbeing.


Anna Thomson is a registered nutritionist who practices nutritional therapy from clinics in Exeter and Totnes. 

Through her work, she noticed how parents were experiencing increasing difficulties around feeding their children and how young people weren’t being taught enough about food and nutrition.

Diet is now recognised as the number one factor for poor health causing more illness than even smoking. There are plenty of healthy eating messages out there but are they the right ones? 

More importantly, there is very little on our food habits and culture and how these might be contributing to the current situation.


Find out more here:


Adele Bates - Creative Educator


I am thrilled to be a part of ThoughtBox Education’s NGT network. The alignment in our approaches and beliefs surrounding education is exciting for our next generation and I look forward to coming together on a range of ideas with ThoughtBox as well as sharing my own work and practices with the school network. 

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I am a teacher, a facilitator, an educator.

I use my creativity to make education work for students who believe themselves to be hopeless, disengaged and, at worst, "not clever enough". I adapt the learning to support the students' journey, I do not expect my students to fit into a fixed system - unless they have contributed to it in the first place.

I currently lead workshops, training, programmes and participate in education conferences around topics including Equality and Diversity, Relationship and Sexual Health Education, Human Rights, LGBT+ awareness, Public Speaking, and Menstrual Cycle Awareness in Education.

I have been teaching for 16 years; as a mainstream secondary school English Teacher and lead coordinator of Equality and Diversity, in Pupil Referral Units and SEND schools, as the Founder of Brighton Drama School, as a University Visiting Lecturer, as a Conference Speaker, as a Mentor for teachers and as a one-to-one Voice Coach. 

My ultimate goal now is to create an alternative education organisation for teenage pupils who have been excluded from mainstream schools. I am currently researching, collaborating and learning how to achieve this.



Sometimes learning looks like quiet students focusing hard; reading, writing and typing.
Sometimes learning looks like arguments, debates and frustration (something may even get broken).
Sometimes learning looks like hilarity, spilt paint and gravy in a pupil’s hair.
Sometimes learning looks like a daydream, a doodle,                                      an absence.
— Adele Bates

Justin Robbins - Fit2Communicate


We can all communicate. It’s the nature of what we do as human beings from birth. But the quality of communication is what is important. It’s the difference between a good relationship and bad one. The work that ThoughtBox engages with - supporting healthy connections within schools - aligns wonderfully with the approach that we take at Fit2Communicate, supporting schools and educators to find easy ways to communicate more effectively for a healty school environment.

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"Myself and colleague Karen Dempster see ourselves as thought leaders in every aspect of communication.  Our mission is to raise the standard of communication in schools through a whole school approach that starts with the vision and better engages teachers and parents. Our ultimate outcome is to enable students to be at their best. Great communication is at the heart of our success, whether we are individuals or an organisation.  

Fit2Communicate works directly with a number of schools, coaching leadership teams to be great communicators and removing barriers to improve teacher and parental engagement. The critical aspect of our approach is to have a school vision that becomes the North Star for all a school does.  

We are happy to offer training, consultancy and talks to schools about our work in communication.



Alberto Gomes - Global DEEP Network


ThoughtBox is delighted to be a member of the DEEP network, collaborating on educational projects with schools and young change makers, working together to foster peaceful, active and critical engagement with societal issues of today. The ethos and focus of the work of DEEP aligns well with those of ThoughtBox, and the two organisations are working together to develop supportive educational models and opportunities for positive change.

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The Dialogue, Empathic Engagement & Peacebuilding (DEEP) Network is a global community of peace workers and researchers from diverse cultural backgrounds dedicated and committed to building a peaceful world and fostering social and ecological regeneration. Working collaboratively with local communities, our projects and activities focus on promoting diversity and intercultural understanding, bridging divides, fostering empathy, empowering marginalized voices and communities, transforming conflict before it escalates into protracted violence, and facilitating policy innovation.

Through established nodes (local action groups) operating in a wide range of countries and regions around the world, we organize intercultural dialogue, elicitive conflict transformation, and peace building projects in partnership with marginalized communities, undertake research that enhances understanding of conflict and peace practices and leads to innovative policies and programs, conduct training and education geared towards capacity building for individuals, organizations and communities in dialogue, conflict transformation, and peace work, network with other organizations to continually add depth and breadth to our understanding and activism, and build global initiatives for peace and sustainability.


Ed Kirwan - Educator


Ed’s focus on challenging perceptions and encouraging more empathetic engagement aligns beautifully with the ethos of ThoughtBox and Ed is a natural changemaker to welcome to our network. Through his talks and videography, his work allows the listener to experience and practice honest empathy building- a truly vital life skill for both our personal and working relationships.

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Previously working as a teacher in North London, Ed recognised the need for challenging perspective amongst students and teachers alike, especially with mental health issues on the rise amongst young adults and teenagers, and he left the profession to focus on doing just that, with his current focus exploring the stereotypes surrounding the homeless.

Through his film projects, he works to not only challenge perceptions but change the behaviours of people towards those who are homeless. He uses the power of stories to educate people, in conjunction with videos through projects such as Motivation of the Invisible - a project which highlights the personalities of rough sleepers from various cities across the UK such as London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Bath, Bristol and Oxford.

The stories Ed tells depict some extraordinary people, with powerful and uplifting mindsets, despite some truly awful circumstances. It is the pairing of empathy and empowerment that allows people to realise the power they have to change someone else's day and in turn become more positive and healthy themselves.

Ed also co-founded the We Make Change Homelessness network, a platform for collaboration which brings together not only charities but organisations, not-for-profits, volunteer groups, social enterprises, individuals and private sector companies; anyone who is focused on ending homelessness. Ed is happy to run workshops, lead assemblies and teach lessons based on a variety of topics.


Al Tempest - Founder of The Woodland Presents


We’re here to make small British woodlands thrive, by connecting people with trees and timber in new and meaningful ways. We run a maker-space, courses, events and a community woodland group in Dartington, South Devon. 

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"Along with my team at The Woodland Presents, we are working to make small British woodlands thrive, by connecting people with trees and timber in new and meaningful ways. We run a maker-space, courses, events and a community woodland group in South Devon, with the aim to innovate the type of activities that happen in woods, and bring a wide range of people into contact with trees.

We also arrange bespoke events for a variety of occasions from music gigs, to week-long camps, lectures, pop-up restaurants, film viewings, silent discos and many more, all encouraging people to spend time in the woods and connect more fully with the beauty of British woodland.

Both myself and my partner Faze would be happy to come into schools and offer a talk on the need to connect with the woods, to support schools in using the venue created in The Nest and share information on courses and trainings in our WoodLab.


Ben Yeger - Founder of Moving Conflicts


The motivation behind the work that Ben is doing with ‘Moving Conflicts’ aligns strongly with the purpose of ThoughtBox – to support people in eliciting positive change, learning to develop empathy and to think critically about environments and contexts that they are surrounded by. Ben and ThoughtBox plan to work together on a number of projects through the NGT network.

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"I am the Founder and Director of Moving Conflicts and UK representative of  Combatants for Peace (CfP). I have 25 years experience of group facilitation and training, a Movement Medicine Facilitator and Teacher, a creative therapist, Theatre Director, and Change Agent. 

Through my work, I create and facilitate innovative, non-violent and collaborative interventions, which transform conflict from barriers to relationship into opportunities for change.

After serving in the Israeli Army (83-86), I left Israel making a promise to myself that he would never carry a weapon again. It took me 20 years of personal process and a meeting with “Combatants For Peace” co-founder, Chen Alon, to find the gateway for my personal expression and action towards contributing to ending the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through non-violent means.

Over the last 25 years I have worked with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages offering them tailored, creative and therapeutic interventions.  I work with people for whom the notion of change is vitally needed and yet seems impossible in their eyes.


Anne Thwaites - Founder of Food Pioneers


In the complex, busy and often unpredictable world of today children need to be given the opportunities to experience changing landscapes and realities. With an appropriate set of tools and gentle guidance they will soon find themselves empowered to navigate through, negotiate and find solutions to obstacles as much as feel inspired by the unexpected. ThoughtBox provides exactly these tools and the guidance to enable children to develop those skills, which are essential to the work we do in our communities.

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"My story starts with me moving to England from Germany about ten years ago. I have a background in international economics and marketing working for publishing groups in both countries, and have managed media campaigns across Europe and the US launching a wide variety of board games, arts & craft kits, children’s books and – yes – jigsaw  puzzles.

My greatest love, however, is the sea. In 2012 I set up “Catchbox” in my hometown Worthing, a fish box scheme in support of small scale fishing fleets which gives members the opportunity to try out local seasonal catch on a weekly basis. This volunteer run scheme distributed over a ton of fresh fish to more than a hundred members over the course of four years.

After also running the first “Farmdrop” food hub in the UK to support small scale producers and starting to cook food for people in need, I set up my own social enterprise We Are FoodPioneers CIC in 2015. Together with my co-directors and a team of volunteers, FoodPioneers have run a number of pop-up cookery events on the beach and in the town. The enterprise also works with people with additional needs, intergenerational groups and sheltered housing residents cooking and sharing meals with ingredients grown by its partner Breathing Spaces CIC and their care home service users.

In 2016 FoodPioneers were successful in securing nearly £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to run “The Last Fisherman Standing”, a two-year project which celebrates and protects Worthing’s rich fishing heritage. With monthly fish cookery classes, beach fish BBQs, a pop-up fish market and more, I can now mostly be found by the sea introducing the latest seasonal catch to my guests and catching up with the last fisherman on Worthing beach… When I’m not near water I am is busy working for Sussex Wildlife Trust as a corporate & community fundraiser.

This year FoodPioneers is embarking on an EU funded innovation accelerator programme to grow its activities in Worthing and beyond, with more exciting seaside and foodie projects on the horizon.


Richard & Nicola Eckersley – Britain's First Zero Waste Shop. 


“We want to live in a world where consuming doesn’t have to cost the earth!” This perfectly aligns with the vision of ThoughtBox, which is to support people in creating a world that is sustainable, clean and thriving for our future generations to enjoy. ThoughtBox and The Zero Waste Shop plan to work together to implement a range of activities to support young people in moving a few steps closer to a zero-waste future.


"At Earth.Food.Love. we are trying to create a world we wish existed - we sell organic food, packaging free! We encourage people to reuse over recycle, allowing them to bring any container for their food. Shopping this way eliminates single-use plastic and also cuts food waste, as you buy how much you actually need.

Along with dried food, we also sell a range of liquid food such as vinegar, maple syrup and tamari. We sell all these liquids on weight, not volume, allowing you to again get how much you actually need. In our non-food section we have organic cleaning products and zero waste lifestyle items such as bamboo toothbrushes and stainless steel razors.

The disposable culture we are currently living in must stop; we hope to use our shop as a talking point for people to evaluate their own plastic use. The key to change lies in education and we are optimistic that shopping this way will return, after all it isn’t a new concept, just an old tradition that got left behind."


Lelo Munis - Chile to Kili


Lelo Munis and Rachel Musson (Founder of ThoughtBox) are working together to develop a cross-cultural learning platform called Cycle School to enable young people from across Tanzania to engage with environmental issues in their local area and to support a more holistic overview of inspiring change…all from the seat of a bicycle! Working alongside Lelo’s organisation – El Mundo – ThoughtBox and Lelo continue to support each other’s ventures, nurturing a shared belief in the need to empower young people to be the change they wish to see in the world. 

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Just as Africa is a continent of contrast, my world consists of point and counter-point. I am inquisitive by nature and ask hard questions. How can we Africans best counter backwardness with personal development? How can we foster self-empowerment to combat poverty and dependence?

Africa and Tanzania is home to a vast variety of bio and cultural diversity. They play home to a large variety of wildlife, rare ecosystems full of endemic species; is a harbor of pristine nature areas and natural resources. These are World Heritage sights. Sadly, many of its people lack the financial resources as well as inspiration and motivation to receive the education necessary to successfully manage, develop and preserve these resources and their respective areas. In a country stricken with challenges, education is a luxury for most citizens.

From a history of immersion in the local environment, I have spent time guiding wildlife safaris; leading treks up Kilimanjaro;  working as a volunteer in several civil societies; solo cycling in 16 African countries, leading long distance biking tours (including Tour d Afriques– Cairo to Cape Town trip in 2011), and teaching Ecology to international high school and college students.

A few years ago, I put together a round-the-world cycle tour – Chile to Kili- with the aim of raising awareness about conservation issues in countries across the world and raising funds to support 10 young Tanzanians to study Conservation and Resource Management.

The trip took me to many different countries and I met with many leaders, ecologists, environmentalists and every day people working to support positive change.

Out of my work on Chile to Kili, a new venture was born – El Mundo – which is rooted in Tanzania and allows me to combine my love of travel and adventure (mainly on the bicycle!) with cross-cultural engagement and environmental sustainability. I am also working on an initiative – Cycle School – (currently in its infancy) which aims to support young people to become active conservationists and entrepreneurs in their local communities."


Tonny Wamboga - Co-Founder of 'Tusafishe'


Tonny is a true changemaker, working to elicit positive change in his country of Uganda through creative thinking and sustainable innovation. His work with Tusafishe will form part of the upcoming ThoughtBox curriculum on water, where you can learn more about the changes already happening and what you can do to support his initiative.    

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Tonny Wamboga is the co-founder of Tusafishe and is completely passionate about water. He grew up in rural Uganda fetching water from a contaminated wells, having to walk 1.5kms to take the water home. He regularly fell sick and decided to do something about this problem, which many Ugandans face.

As a scholar of the Social Innovation Academy (SINA), Tonny started the production of affordable water filters, using locally available resources. Tusafishe was born.

Our planet has only 2.5% fresh waters and the wars of the future will probably be about access to drinking water. Already today, one-third of the African population has no access to safe drinking water and in Uganda it is almost half of the population. As a result of contaminated waters, 75% of all diseases in Uganda are waterborne.

Tusafishe builds low-cost bio-sand water filter systems for safe and clean drinking water. With Tusafishe water is filtered through a natural process using granite sand. Bacteria and viruses are removed and safe water with nutritious minerals produced. The process emulates nature’s way of filtering water through its soils and springs.

Water filters are provided to rural public secondary schools in Uganda, who need them the most. One filter can supply up to 2000 students on a daily basis. Tusafishe also conducts trainings and sensitizations for communities to eradicate waterborne diseases and equip students with the skills to build and maintain filters using available resources, so as to replicate the solution in their homes.

The goal is to eradicate waterborne diseases in Uganda by 2050.


Chukumeka Maxwell - Founder of Action to Prevent Suicide


Chukumeka is a hugely inspiring changemaker, with a strong awareness of identity and a clear vision for positive social change. His own journey into social work has taken him through a range of challenges and experiences and allowed a strong sense of engagement with the social and the spiritual to emerge. He is a tremendously dynamic and enthralling speaker and practitioner, and his vision aligns closely with that of ThoughtBox - to encourage conversation and connection.

Chukumeka Maxwell

Chukumeka Maxwell (Aka Chukes) is the founder of Action To Prevent Suicide CIC -a Devon based non-profit dedicated to raising funds for community-based programs focused on suicide prevention.  

Born in London, to African and Caribbean parents, Chukumeka’s family emigrated back to Nigeria in 1965 but Chukumeka was then evacuated to the UK in 1967 as a refugee from the Biafran civil war. He has have also lived in Jamaica and Belize.

Chukumeka has had a very eclectic working life, from training in the hotel industry after school to opening an award-winning delicatessen and later his own catering company; then re-training as a holistic Deep Tissue massage therapist and later as a registered Social worker. (He also studied esoteric philosophy, was a volunteer probationary Christian-Buddhist Monk, worked as an assistant paramedic for the ambulance service, and has been a Criminal Drugs support worker and a Quaker prison Chaplain. Phew!)

A part-time lecturer at the University of Plymouth, Chukumeka is a suicide prevention trainer specialising in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Trainer (ASIST) and SafeTalk as developed by LivingWorks. He is a trainer, consultant and wellbeing practitioner of Orchid community &Associates underpinned by the teachings of Christian and Buddhist psychology.

Action To Prevent Suicide CIC is committed to making Devon a suicide-safer community by helping to increase knowledge, debate and action on preventing suicide – whether that be within the South West, nationally or even globally. The idea is inspired by LivingWorks – an international organisation based in Canada.


Dinah Gibbons - Founder of Bodykind


Dinah Gibbons is an exciting and inspiring changemaker, working to empower change within her local community. Building on her years of experience as a midwife, she held the UK's first ever festival of body acceptance, held in Totnes, Devon in 2017. This innovative weekend was a chance to explore ways of feeling more comfortable in the skin we're in and was the first of what will hopefully become regular events within this area.

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Dinah Gibbons is the founder of Bodykind festival, the first of what will become regular events focused on body acceptance. It’s a non-profit, grassroots event which looks at how we can become more comfortable in our skin. Connecting with others around the world, she hopes to encourage more communities to hold their own celebration of bodies and the ripple effects of this first event are already being felt far and wide. 

As a midwife during her earlier career, she was struck by how women related to their bodies post-birth. This led to her on-going work with renowned psychotherapist Susie Orbach to devise workshops on disordered eating and body image issues. 

Bodykind Festival's core principles are:
- Promoting inclusivity
- Celebrating diversity
- Illuminating and challenging non-acceptance
- Meeting fear and shame with sensitivity and kindness.

Endeavouring to encourage a sense of wonder and curiosity, Dinah offers workshops within schools, colleges and universities and the plans for the next Bodykind festival are well underway.

Find out more here:


Abhijit Sinha - Founder of Project DEFY


When I first spoke with Rachel (ThoughtBox Founder) and learned about ThoughtBox, it was clear just how similar our views were on education (and its current flaws) and how much overlap there was in our understanding of what needs to change. Both ThoughtBox and Project DEFY are working to support a learner-centred approach to education, empowering the individual to explore and enhance their own creative abilities and are very much in support of each other’s ventures. 

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"We believe that people have the capacity to understand what they want to learn, and generally they understand it better than anyone else. And this is such a variable quantity that in most classrooms we find that almost every student wants different things from education or life – then how could we have one system of learning or generic education? How could we make 40-60 children sit in the same room and teach them the same things in the same manner? The answer is we can’t”

Individuals form their own interests and their own methods of learning and no matter how much one is force-fed learning will not happen unless these personal criteria are fulfilled.

Nooks are spaces where individuals can completely customise what they learn, when they learn and also how they learn. At Nooks, ideas are shared. All information consumed and developed by the community is open-sourced. This exchange brings all people onto the same stage. Everyone is able to learn and contribute, and therefore the concept of ‘teacher’ (who is supposed to only teach) is redundant, and consequently that of ‘student’ (who is supposed to only learn). Each participant has a role in being both student and teacher.

Internet is introduced as a reference book, full of creative open-source ideas and projects that the participants take up, based on their interest and motivation. Every piece of learning happens through building projects. These projects can be artistic, technical, social, etc. and each participant customizes his/her own learning experience. 

This process helps people to understand their own interests and needs. They learn how to manage ‘confusion’ and work hard to find their passion. This teaches them to make decisions based on interests and principals, and not out of mob behaviour"


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