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About us

Our people

Our team is made up of passionate and experienced staff - first and second generation migrants with lived experience of the UK's immigration system - all of whom are are guided in their work by our dedicated trustees.

MRN is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. It is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association which clearly set out the organisation’s objectives, management rules and procedures.

Staff

Fizza Qureshi

CEO

Fizza is the CEO of the Migrants’ Rights Network.

Fizza joined MRN as the Director Designate in August 2016. She previously worked at the Terrence Higgins Trust for just over 3 years covering the London and East of England sexual health and HIV services. Before this, she worked as a Programme Manager for an international medical humanitarian organisation where she was responsible for its UK independent health clinic, and health advocacy programme supporting migrants to access healthcare.

Fizza has a degree in Human Rights and Social Change and Biotechnology. She has previously served as Board Member of MRN, the Institute of Race Relations and Healthwatch Newham.

Her interests include; immigration, race, music and travelling

Contact Fizza at: [email protected] (please note she works part-time: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday)

Eliyes Omar

Finance Administrator

Eliyes joined MRN in September 2017. He is in charge of MRN’s financial management. Eliyes has enjoyed maths since his childhood. He is a mathematics graduate and has a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Mathematics. He also holds a Level 3 Advanced Diploma in IT, and a Level 3 Diploma in Accounting (AAT). 

Shashi Ioannides

Fundraising & Comms Manager

Shashi joined MRN as the Fundraising & Communications Manager in May 2020. 

Shashi has worked in digital media and marketing for over 18 years. With a background in arts & publishing, she started her career as a production assistant in media and fashion before continuing onto the voluntary sector. At the Empty Homes Agency, as their Marketing & Communications Manager and Events Manager, she co-ordinated many national campaigns to challenge discriminatory housing policy and to help and support local communities be their own agents for change.

After 12 years in the voluntary sector, working with everyone from community groups to senior parliamentarians, she changed direction completely and spent the next ten years establishing her own very successful international ethical-vegan skincare brand. She used this as a springboard to develop a meaningful CSR programme to help platform marginalised communities and causes.

This continued work of community organising and development, which stems from her own personal activism, has led her to now utilise her skills as a social media manager and content creator to help Environmental & food justice causes, as well as race & inequality campaigns including Patrick Vernon’s 100 Great Black Britons. She is passionate about creating space, resources and platforms for minoritised communities.

Contact Shashi at: [email protected]

Katia Widlak

Interim London Project Coordinator

Katia joined MRN in November 2021 as the Interim London Project Coordinator.

Contact Katia at [email protected]

Alex McMillan

Policy Manager

Alex joined MRN in November 2021 as the Policy Manager.

Alex joined with over 15 years experience in political and policy roles, in both a Westminster and a devolved context, including working for a politician, in various public affairs roles for charities and public bodies, and as a Clerk to a number of committees in the UK Parliament. They have a particular interest in supporting seldom heard communities and voices to engage in political and parliamentary processes, having previously both established and grown campaign networks for people with lived experience and led on measures aimed at improving the diversity of witnesses engaging with committees in the House of Lords.


Contact Alex at [email protected]

Yuka Matsushima

MAP Programme Coordinator

Yuka joined MRN in December 2021 as the MAP Programme Coordinator.


Yuka joined with about 10 years experience in coordinating leadership programmes in Japan. She previously worked at Cross Fields, which aims to bridge charity organisations and corporates to create new social impacts as Co-founder and COO. Before this, she worked as a business consultant in Boston Consulting Group. She has a particular interest in contributing to a society where migrants are better integrated and can take a more active leadership role in the society.


Yuka has a degree in International Migration and Public Policy at London School of Economics and Political Science.


Contact Yuka at [email protected]

(please note she works part-time: Monday morning, Tuesday and Thursday)

Ana Gavalas

Digital Marketing Assistant

Ana joined the MRN team in December 2021.

Contact Ana at [email protected]

Board of Trustees

MRN has an active Board of Directors responsible for the overall management of the organisation.

Nick Sigler

Chair

Nick Sigler worked for the labour movement for nearly forty years, firstly for the Labour Party in a range of positions and latterly as the head of the International Department of UNISON, Britain’s largest trade union.

In addition Nick has worked overseas in a number of positions including in the European Parliament and for the OSCE in Serbia. Throughout his career Nick has been responsible for managing a range of projects in different parts of the world working with emerging political parties, trade unionists and other activists. 

Following his ‘retirement’ in 2013 Nick has been a trustee of a number of charities including the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and RefugeeYouth. The son of refugees from Nazi Germany, Nick has always felt a commitment to protecting and enhancing the rights of migrants and refugees and to ensure that the enormous benefits they bring to the country and their communities are better understood and valued.

Sainga Tony

Vice-chair

Sainga studied accountancy before working in a large Local Authority in a London Borough followed by a role in a small BAME Housing association and a Directorship at a Race Equality Charity and brings over 14 years’ Housing, Local Government and Charity experience with her. Sainga spent many years training and developing strategies to combat the effects of various Government changes that disproportionately affect BAME communities including Welfare Reform and successfully implemented strategies to reduce evictions in Temporary housing for 18-24 year olds. 

Sainga has been key in working collaboratively with Local Authorities and BME London Housing providers to empower residents through access to employment and skills training and has successfully set up a number of small business ventures. Sainga’s specialisms include: Housing, Welfare Benefits, Business Development, Stakeholder Management, Strategic Leadership, Influencing and motivational skills.

Sainga is passionate about creating an equal, fairer and inclusive society where everyone is given the opportunity to prosper particularly, BAME communities, the youth and disadvantaged groups.

Leticia Ishibashi

Secretary to the Board

Letícia joined the MRN board in April 2020 as the Secretary to the Board.

She works at the Greater London Authority working to increase access to immigration advice across the capital and advising on policy issues impacting Londoners with insecure status.

Previously, she led research and policy responses to prevent and address labour exploitation in the UK, coordinating two cross-sector civil society  coalitions. Before that, Letícia worked supporting the engagement of grassroots and community organisations in international human rights mechanisms, supported casework of migrants and people seeking asylum in the UK and conducted research on rights-based approaches to migration.

Letícia is a first generation migrant in the UK and third generation in Brazil, where she was born. She’s passionate about ensuring migrants are entitled to and can exercise comprehensive socioeconomic rights, irrespective of immigration status. Letícia moved to the UK in 2015 to pursue a MSc in Social Policy and Development at the London School of Economics.

Aurora Todisco

Treasurer

Aurora Todisco has 15 years’ experience of driving financial management through passion for Accounting, Banking and HR.

Her career started in the private sector coordinating legal, tax and contributory management aspects related to the remuneration of the personnel for an Italian firm.

Since she moved to London, in 2014, she developed an interest to health related living habits, and how individuals use their finances trying to make informed choices on aspects like nutrition, transport, etc.

She knew she could make a positive contribution to the charitable sector linking her background skills to a new Public Health inquisitiveness attitude.

This reason leaded Aurora to join a different role as the Finance and Information Officer at Healthwatch Tower Hamlets, HWTH gathers experiences of health and social care users with the aim to shape quality of services.

Being the first generation of EU migrant in her family, when starting to place the bases to rebuild her new career in a different setting, she made a deep work, reconsidering herself as an individual. The main reason is that she acknowledged that her past choices went smoothly, without ever been preoccupied about the future.

The transition has been the reason why she developed strong ambitions, coining also her motto: “I overcame huge challenge to achieve something truly remarkable”.

She now has a clearer picture and try to support ethnic minority women through the journey post migration.

Aurora also is a Patient Participation Group Member at her local GP practice, member of East London Citizens’ Panel – East London Health and Care Partnership, BARTS Health NHS Trust, East London NHS Foundation Trust.

She is an active component of Healthcare Financial Management Association and a Value Marker (London Network) – NHS Future-Focused Finance.

She has been recently awarded for the Leadership Foundations Edward Jenner programme – NHS Leadership Academy and hold a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Primary Care Management – The National Association of Primary Care and Healthcare Financial Management Association.

She has another role at volunteer level as Treasurer (East London Support Group Finance Contact) – Parkinson’s UK.

Alan Anstead

Board Member

Alan coordinate’s UKREN, a network of local and national organisations across the UK that work to combat race discrimination within a European context.

Alan is also the Founder and Chief Executive of Equality, a charity that works to uphold and secure the rights of the Roma ethnic minority group who migrated to Great Britain and Northern Ireland from Eastern European countries.

Dr Rakhi Rashmi

Board Member

Rakhi joined the board in April 2020. She is a Barrister in England and Wales who holds a PhD in International Law. She is specialised in Immigration, Human Rights, Migrants Rights, detention, deportation and Family related matters.

She has advised several international organizations and represented individual clients in different Courts. She has previously worked with CNRS GREDEG in France and different High Commissions such as Brazil, Peru and Cuba as adviser. Dr Rashmi has been trained at the World Health Organisation (South East Asia Office) and the United Nations University (Maastricht). She has lectured at Oxford University Innovation Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Oxford). She was visiting fellow at Kings College Dept of Political Economy 2012-14. She has been widely published internationally in newspapers and magazines and has spoken on biopharma innovation, human rights and access to medicines (health policy) in around 22 countries. Dr Rashmi is also Vice Chairperson of Commonwealth in England Barrister’s Association (CEBA) since April 2019.

Dr Dagmar Rita Myslinska

Board Member

Dagmar is a Lecturer in law at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she convenes Immigration Law module and supervises Immigration Law & Policy Clinic. She is also a contributor to ‘Britain in Europe’ thinktank, and a member of the Goldsmiths College Academic Board. She had previously taught law at several institutions in the US and Japan, including at Columbia Law School and Fordham University School of Law. Her research interests include migration, equality, ethnicity and race. In addition to her academic publications, she has authored numerous open-access reference articles on asylum law, and she has contributed to blogs and various domestic and international media outlets regarding migration issues.

Earlier in her career, Dagmar had practiced commercial and pro bono immigration law, specialising in representing asylum applicants (including those in detention) in the US. She had also clerked for two federal judges in the US. Throughout her career, she has been collaborating with and volunteering for immigrant charities and human rights organisations, including Human Rights First in New York. She studied at Yale University (BA), Columbia University School of Law (Juris Doctor), and the LSE (PhD, Law).


As a child, Dagmar had moved with her parents to the US, as asylees from communist Poland. She came to the UK in 2014 as a free mover, and is now a settled EU national here. She is passionate about ensuring all migrants’ access to rights and creating a more inclusive and just society.

Michael Ahanchian

Board Member

Michael has over 20 years of experience driving organisational change on communications and digital strategy through insight, analytics and transformation projects.


He is a thought leader and senior director in insight and digital implementation with extensive specialist experience across these fields. As Chief Digital Officer at the Prince of Wales charity Business in the Community, he led digital transformation and was a data, digital and communications ambassador across their equality and diversity campaigns.


As a former refugee and first-generation migrant himself, he has personal experience of the challenges migrants face, and fully understands the reality of society for these communities. He is passionate about fighting for rights and justice for these communities but also to change perceptions, highlighting the
positive impact of migration to modern Britain.


Michael is also active in the Labour movement and is Vice Chair of Labour Business’s Future of Work Policy Group.

Michael Raff

Board Member

Michael Raff is a trainee solicitor in the City of London. Before this, he gained significant experience on the island of Lesvos in Greece, considered to be the epicentre of the refugee crisis in Europe. In 2018 he volunteered as a Team Leader for an emergency response NGO, helping to coordinate rescue efforts for asylum seekers crossing from Turkey. In 2020, he returned to the island with an NGO providing legal aid to asylum seekers. Michael assisted people with preparation for their asylum interviews, as well as submitting a number of family reunification applications under the Dublin III Regulation.

Through this experience Michael has developed a passion for helping and standing in solidarity with those forced to flee from their homes, and looks forward to starting with Migrants’ Rights Network and continuing this.