Our Directors & Volunteers
Hana left Singapore and came to New Zealand as a non-European student in 2012 to start her PhD in Education at the University of Canterbury. Although a New Zealand resident now, Hana is still painfully aware of how she does not quite “fit in”. Having been in Aotearoa for a decade as an “outside insider” or an ‘”inside outsider”, she has observed and experienced suspicions, both towards herself and of others in similar situations to mine – be it due to their sexual orientations, ethnicities, religious beliefs or social status. These, along with prior experiences, have led her to seek opportunities where she can make a difference.
Hana has a wide background in non-profit organisations. In 2015, Hana left New Zealand and returned to Singapore where she founded, set-up, and ran a non-profit volunteer organisation, Literacy Initiative for Equity (LIFE SG) for tamariki from low-income and at-risk backgrounds. She has also worked and volunteered for many community and social organisations in New Zealand such as IDEA Services and Youthtown, as well as tertiary organisations such as the University of Canterbury and CCEL. In 2020, Hana utilised the skills she gained in Singapore and helped MiWorld with the set-up of their new start up organisation in Christchurch which focuses on providing various learning tools and opportunities for students with different learning abilities, particularly pushing for recognition of non-European world views.
Hana holds an Honours Degree in English from Goldsmiths University of London, a Masters in Organisational Leadership from Monash University and is currently finishing her PhD in Education at the University of Canterbury. She also holds a Diploma in TESOL as well as other professional certifications. She has been teaching, tutoring, and facilitating at various institutions around the world including Russia, China, Singapore, and New Zealand.
In addition to academic, community and social sector roles, Hana is also an active sportsperson. A certified Archery New Zealand foundation coach, Hana coaches archery on at the Christchurch Archery Club. She has also recently set up Aotearoa Adaptive Archery, an archery coaching organisation specifically for neurodiversed youths and individuals.
Becky was born in Gifford, Scotland, but immigrated to New Zealand as a child. Since then, she’s lived between both countries and recently graduated with a BA Honours in Social Science from Durham University in the UK. Her thesis was written in Amman, Jordan and was a qualitative study of the perception of European women’s rights organisations amongst Jordanian women. This research showed her the clear split between women who were proficient in English and felt comfortable accessing help from these organisations and those who didn’t speak English and therefore couldn’t or wouldn’t approach them.
After graduating, Becky trained to be a TEFL teacher in 2019. She had previously spent time teaching English informally in China and Jordan and wanted to solidify her knowledge of teaching. On her return to New Zealand she spent a year tutoring recent immigrants in conversational English. The majority of her students were, and continue to be, the family members of international students, who wanted to get a job and settle into the community while their partner/child/parent studied.
Previously, she has worked in several support organisations such as Nightline, a telephone helpline service which provides non-judgemental listening services for people struggling with mental health problems and the Aidan’s Welfare organisation, her college’s student support system, in which she specialised in LGBT+ support. When she left university, she received the Aidan’s JCR Lifetime Award and the Irene Hindesmarsh award for her commitment to these activities.
Outside of teaching English, she’s currently training for her blackbelt in kung fu, which is a lot of work. She also enjoys covering her tiny balcony in as many plants as it’s possible to fit!
Narayani Tiwari was born in Dandathoke Chiti Lamjung, Nepal. She began her journey with women’s rights early on. Upon obtaining her School Leaving Certificate she begain to work in her old school as a primary school teacher where she endeavoured to motivate to parents to send their daughters to school. Following this she began higher studies and obtained a bachelors degree in Education and Social Science and later a Masters degree in Population Studies from the Central Department of Population Studies (CDPS) Tribhuvan University Kathmandu.
Narayani has worked in several NGOs in Nepal such as Population Women and Environment Development Organisation (PWEDO) and Women’s Agency Research Centre Nepal (WARN) and has published a number of articles on women’s issues. In 1996, Narayani was granted an Asian Development Bank scholarship to study at the Australian National University where she broadened her knowledge in the areas of Demography and Environment Management. Shortly after this, she migrated to with her family to New Zealand and studied a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in development studies at Massey University. She then completed her PhD at Wageningen University, Netherlands and since then has been actively creating and promoting opportunities for women. This has taken her across the world and included collaborations with UN, UNICEF, GIZ, UNESCO, Save the Children, World Education, ADRA Australia and the Peace Fund.
In 2016, she moved back to New Zealand to live permanently. She was keen to a have a job relevant to her academic qualifications but she faced a lot of discrimination while job-seeking in New Zealand, based on her identity as a female Asian migrant who didn’t speak ‘Kiwi.’ However, she has since managed to set up her organisation Support for New Zealand which aims to build leadership and life skills in migrant women. It’s through this organisation that AMMA found its feet.
Harpinder comes from the small village of Punjab (India). She received a PhD scholarship from the University of Canterbury (UC) and her research there has motivated her to work for the empowerment of women. She has joined the Shakti Ethnic Women Group in Christchurch as a volunteer and worked with domestic violence victims through this organisation. Later, she joined Shakti as a staff member and became the leader for South Asian countries (the India Sub-Continent). As part of this, she has worked very closely with the police, Oranga Tamariki, and the Integrated Safety Response. She has realized that most women using their services have communication difficulties and that the language barrier is one of the most significant reasons for the difficulties of their situation. She began to organise classes to teach English and for personal development. She left her job and started working as a volunteer with the Christchurch Victim Support and English Language Partners. Working for migrant women is her passion, and she has been with AMMA since Day 1.
Dipika studied computing and MYOB software at ARA institute, graduating in 2018. Now, she works as a caregiver for people with dementia and her aim is to help people keep smiling and being kind to one another. She also volunteers her time with the Christchurch Cat Rescue.
As a migrant woman from Fiji, Dipika understands the need for migrant women to learn English in order to be able to confidently express themselves out in the community and at workplaces. As well as English, she speaks Fijian, Urdu and Hindi fluently and therefore can connect with many of the students. Since joining Aotearoa Migrants 4 Migrants Academy (AMMA) Dipika has consistently brought passion and dedication every single day.
She is a keen believer in treating the earth well and loves to contribute and promote as much as she can do to help our mother earth. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family and friends and being able to help them whenever she can. Dipika also loves to travel around our beautiful country, New Zealand.
Devika is loved by students and staff alike. Devika brings knowledge, enthusiasm and joy to Aotearoa Migrants 4 Migrants Academy (AMMA). As our teaching assistant, she has been an invaluable member of the team. Devika as a women from a brown background understands the value, importance of women empowerment and is all about supporting other women move forward. She also volunteers at Rangiora Promotions whenever she can. Devika enjoys dancing and travelling.
Energetic and driven, we were thrilled when Cathy Solomon joined as a volunteer Teacher. Cathy is always excited to take on the next challenge and push our team forward. - To be added