Leadership:

Together we bring a diverse skill set from varied backgrounds including Economics, Education, and Nutrition to ensure Access. 

  AARON FRIEDLAND | FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR   Aaron developed his passion for economic development and education while working and researching abroad. He recognized that students in places such as Uganda, South Africa, and India who struggled academically would often fall into the poverty trap. His personal experiences opened his eyes to myriad barriers to education including distance to school and lack of nutrition. These experiences in conjunction with his work at UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-profit taught him a great deal about education in developing countries and gave him the foundation to create an organization called The Walking School Bus, which aims to help students worldwide access education. In addition to founding the organization, he serves as the Executive Director.  Aaron currently works as an Economics Lecturer. He brings enthusiasm and a research-based approach to his teaching. He is passionate about motivating his students through experiential learning, a model that he has applied in the classroom as well as at TWSB through a global reading program and various nutrition initiatives.

AARON FRIEDLAND | FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Aaron developed his passion for economic development and education while working and researching abroad. He recognized that students in places such as Uganda, South Africa, and India who struggled academically would often fall into the poverty trap. His personal experiences opened his eyes to myriad barriers to education including distance to school and lack of nutrition. These experiences in conjunction with his work at UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-profit taught him a great deal about education in developing countries and gave him the foundation to create an organization called The Walking School Bus, which aims to help students worldwide access education. In addition to founding the organization, he serves as the Executive Director.

Aaron currently works as an Economics Lecturer. He brings enthusiasm and a research-based approach to his teaching. He is passionate about motivating his students through experiential learning, a model that he has applied in the classroom as well as at TWSB through a global reading program and various nutrition initiatives.

  RUCHI SHAH | STORYTELLER AND ART DIRECTOR   Ruchi Shah is an award-winning illustrator and muralist from India, who has published titles in 10 languages. Over a decade, she has been a travelling artist and illustrator, working with tribal schools in different parts of India spanning from Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. She facilitates art workshops for children, encouraging them to create indigenous literature. In 2016, she was invited by TEDx to speak about her work and the power of art to create social impact.  As a Storyteller and Art Director for TWSB, Ruchi works with children from inter-faith schools and communities, enabling them to take their stories to global publishers. She is passionate about taking the vision of TWSB ahead through art and crafted story-telling.

RUCHI SHAH | STORYTELLER AND ART DIRECTOR

Ruchi Shah is an award-winning illustrator and muralist from India, who has published titles in 10 languages. Over a decade, she has been a travelling artist and illustrator, working with tribal schools in different parts of India spanning from Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. She facilitates art workshops for children, encouraging them to create indigenous literature. In 2016, she was invited by TEDx to speak about her work and the power of art to create social impact.

As a Storyteller and Art Director for TWSB, Ruchi works with children from inter-faith schools and communities, enabling them to take their stories to global publishers. She is passionate about taking the vision of TWSB ahead through art and crafted story-telling.

  DANIELLE SACHAR | MEDIA RELATIONS COORDINATOR   Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Danielle is a true west coast girl at heart. She is currently in the Public Relations program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Previously, Danielle studied fine arts at Emily Carr University and it was there that she got to explore her passion for painting, drawing, ceramics and graphic design. As she shifts focus to Public Relations, Danielle believes it is imperative to partner with organizations that are looking to make a positive social and environmental impact. She believes that public and media relations are about storytelling and when you work with organizations that are making a positive change in the world, the stories speak for themselves. This is one of the many reasons why she is so excited to work with The Walking School Bus.  Danielle is the Media Relations Coordinator for The Walking School Bus, which means she is the liaison between the organization and the media. Danielle is delighted to assist TWSB gain additional media exposure for a truly worthy cause, as well as support them in sharing their story with the world.

DANIELLE SACHAR | MEDIA RELATIONS COORDINATOR

Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Danielle is a true west coast girl at heart. She is currently in the Public Relations program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Previously, Danielle studied fine arts at Emily Carr University and it was there that she got to explore her passion for painting, drawing, ceramics and graphic design. As she shifts focus to Public Relations, Danielle believes it is imperative to partner with organizations that are looking to make a positive social and environmental impact. She believes that public and media relations are about storytelling and when you work with organizations that are making a positive change in the world, the stories speak for themselves. This is one of the many reasons why she is so excited to work with The Walking School Bus.

Danielle is the Media Relations Coordinator for The Walking School Bus, which means she is the liaison between the organization and the media. Danielle is delighted to assist TWSB gain additional media exposure for a truly worthy cause, as well as support them in sharing their story with the world.

  ONAMI RAHMAN | SCHOOL & COMMUNITY OUTREACH   A Vancouver native and recent UBC graduate in Human Geography, Onami’s passion for community development stems from a range of personal and academic experiences both locally and globally. With extensive volunteer experience in Vancouver’s non-profit sector under her belt (Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, Dr. Peter’s Centre, CNIB, etc.,), as well as years of holding various positions in student engagement at UBC, Onami has paved the path for a career in the development field, with particular interests in working in public engagement It wasn’t until after Onami’s undergraduate experiences, however, when she lived and worked in Ethiopia in the non-profit communications sector, that she fully realized the true local and global challenges facing Ethiopians everyday, as well as many Africans alike, to achieving optimal health and education. Her solutions lies in the belief that to reduce inequalities created by global systems of injustice, we must continually develop grassroots initiatives that aim to empower and educate individuals in the arenas of literacy, health and sustainability locally. It is this belief combined with her wealth of experiences that excites Onami to join TWSB in the fight for global equality and change.

ONAMI RAHMAN | SCHOOL & COMMUNITY OUTREACH

A Vancouver native and recent UBC graduate in Human Geography, Onami’s passion for community development stems from a range of personal and academic experiences both locally and globally. With extensive volunteer experience in Vancouver’s non-profit sector under her belt (Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada, Dr. Peter’s Centre, CNIB, etc.,), as well as years of holding various positions in student engagement at UBC, Onami has paved the path for a career in the development field, with particular interests in working in public engagement It wasn’t until after Onami’s undergraduate experiences, however, when she lived and worked in Ethiopia in the non-profit communications sector, that she fully realized the true local and global challenges facing Ethiopians everyday, as well as many Africans alike, to achieving optimal health and education. Her solutions lies in the belief that to reduce inequalities created by global systems of injustice, we must continually develop grassroots initiatives that aim to empower and educate individuals in the arenas of literacy, health and sustainability locally. It is this belief combined with her wealth of experiences that excites Onami to join TWSB in the fight for global equality and change.

  SUKRITI SACHAR | DIRECTOR OF INDIA OPERATIONS   Sukriti is a founder, entrepreneur, and is passionate about social impact. After working in corporate events for 7 years, Sukriti founded Powerlabs, a content design studio.  Her journey with The Walking School Bus (TWSB) began in 2016 which started with a Ugandan Expedition and resulted in Sukriti founding the India Chapter of TWSB. Working with communities content with the limited resources available to them and appreciative of TWSB's impact moved Sukriti. She became more interested in adapting the model that worked in the Ugandan context to fit similar issues pervasive across India.  As director of India Operations, Sukriti works to further her remarkable team of believers and achievers to bring the life and vision of The Walking School Bus to India.

SUKRITI SACHAR | DIRECTOR OF INDIA OPERATIONS

Sukriti is a founder, entrepreneur, and is passionate about social impact. After working in corporate events for 7 years, Sukriti founded Powerlabs, a content design studio.

Her journey with The Walking School Bus (TWSB) began in 2016 which started with a Ugandan Expedition and resulted in Sukriti founding the India Chapter of TWSB. Working with communities content with the limited resources available to them and appreciative of TWSB's impact moved Sukriti. She became more interested in adapting the model that worked in the Ugandan context to fit similar issues pervasive across India.

As director of India Operations, Sukriti works to further her remarkable team of believers and achievers to bring the life and vision of The Walking School Bus to India.

  STEPHANIE MRAKOVICH | SIMBI OPERATIONS   Stephanie has a passion for people and a knack for problem solving. You'll find her deeply questioning every step, whether it is to create a more efficient process or to strategize ways to improve it. While completing her Bachelor of Science and Minor in Psychology at UBC, she sat as the two term president of the Jewish Students Association, restructuring the board members and inspiring a synergy of skills and backgrounds. Today, Stephanie leverages her understanding of people in a product role where she works with customers to create a positive experience and improve the softwares they use.  As the Director of SiMBi Operations, Stephanie helps improve the functionality and flexibility of the platform. With the goal of eliminating barriers to accessing education, she works with various users to understand how SiMBi can benefit different types of learners from all around the world!

STEPHANIE MRAKOVICH | SIMBI OPERATIONS

Stephanie has a passion for people and a knack for problem solving. You'll find her deeply questioning every step, whether it is to create a more efficient process or to strategize ways to improve it. While completing her Bachelor of Science and Minor in Psychology at UBC, she sat as the two term president of the Jewish Students Association, restructuring the board members and inspiring a synergy of skills and backgrounds. Today, Stephanie leverages her understanding of people in a product role where she works with customers to create a positive experience and improve the softwares they use.

As the Director of SiMBi Operations, Stephanie helps improve the functionality and flexibility of the platform. With the goal of eliminating barriers to accessing education, she works with various users to understand how SiMBi can benefit different types of learners from all around the world!

  HANS ZHANG | SOLAR PROJECT COORDINATOR    As a professional member of the Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, Hans is passionate about using his background in Power Systems and Energy to create impactful change through The Walking School Bus. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia as well working as an engineer at BC Hydro. By tapping into resources from both his professional and academic backgrounds, Hans hopes to continue advancing TWSB’s mission by means of technologic innovation.  In collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency and CRADLE, TWSB’s solar-powered classrooms will soon be deployed in two refugee camps in Uganda and will play an integral part in improving the quality of medical care in these camps. Hans will be spearheading the design and procurement of the solar-technologies that will be deployed in the classrooms.

HANS ZHANG | SOLAR PROJECT COORDINATOR

As a professional member of the Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, Hans is passionate about using his background in Power Systems and Energy to create impactful change through The Walking School Bus. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia as well working as an engineer at BC Hydro. By tapping into resources from both his professional and academic backgrounds, Hans hopes to continue advancing TWSB’s mission by means of technologic innovation.

In collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency and CRADLE, TWSB’s solar-powered classrooms will soon be deployed in two refugee camps in Uganda and will play an integral part in improving the quality of medical care in these camps. Hans will be spearheading the design and procurement of the solar-technologies that will be deployed in the classrooms.

  ALEX GILLIS | CURRICULUM COORDINATOR    (CANADA & FRANCE)   Alex Gillis is a 19-year-old, Loran Scholar at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business. Holding the title of Startup Canada’s 2015 "Young Entrepreneur of the Year”, Alex is heavily involved in the Canadian startup ecosystem and has advised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the future of entrepreneurship and education for youth in Canada. Alex is involved in numerous entrepreneurial initiatives on campus at the University of British Columbia and works with a passionate community of volunteers, local initiatives, and corporate partners who are shaping the future of Canada, today. Alex believes that The Walking School Bus's holistic community-centric approach is the best way to develop communities world-wide.

ALEX GILLIS | CURRICULUM COORDINATOR

(CANADA & FRANCE)

Alex Gillis is a 19-year-old, Loran Scholar at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business. Holding the title of Startup Canada’s 2015 "Young Entrepreneur of the Year”, Alex is heavily involved in the Canadian startup ecosystem and has advised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the future of entrepreneurship and education for youth in Canada. Alex is involved in numerous entrepreneurial initiatives on campus at the University of British Columbia and works with a passionate community of volunteers, local initiatives, and corporate partners who are shaping the future of Canada, today. Alex believes that The Walking School Bus's holistic community-centric approach is the best way to develop communities world-wide.

  ENOSH KEKI | DIRECTOR OF UGANDA OPERATIONS   Enosh Keki has been working with TWSB since it's inception. In fact, Enosh and TWSB's founder Aaron have been wroking together on Education and Economic Development related projects for the last 5 years. Over time, the projects have grown in size and impact and Enosh has enjoyed the journey!   With a background in business management and experience in education, from an administrative as well as an educational viewpoint, Enosh joins TWSB with a great deal of experience.   Enosh and his team monitor TWSBprojects and identify additional communities to receive assistance and support.  Aside from his work with TWSB, Enosh and his wife Shira have adopted 7 orphans in addition to their own 5 children.

ENOSH KEKI | DIRECTOR OF UGANDA OPERATIONS

Enosh Keki has been working with TWSB since it's inception. In fact, Enosh and TWSB's founder Aaron have been wroking together on Education and Economic Development related projects for the last 5 years. Over time, the projects have grown in size and impact and Enosh has enjoyed the journey!

With a background in business management and experience in education, from an administrative as well as an educational viewpoint, Enosh joins TWSB with a great deal of experience.

Enosh and his team monitor TWSBprojects and identify additional communities to receive assistance and support.
Aside from his work with TWSB, Enosh and his wife Shira have adopted 7 orphans in addition to their own 5 children.

  RAN SOMMER| DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATION   Ran moved back home to Vancouver after completing his Master’s in Communication Studies and Environmental Policy at Wilfrid Laurier University. Passionate about social issues and solutions, and a long-time supporter of TWSB, joining the team was both a privilege and a natural fit. Ran has experience working with social enterprises and NGOs in achieving their communication and messaging objectives.  His belief in the power of communication to tackle any problem and to achieve any goal keeps him motivated and excited to be part of the TWSB team. As the Director of Communication, Ran is supporting our expansion efforts through communication and engagement with our growing audience.

RAN SOMMER| DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATION

Ran moved back home to Vancouver after completing his Master’s in Communication Studies and Environmental Policy at Wilfrid Laurier University. Passionate about social issues and solutions, and a long-time supporter of TWSB, joining the team was both a privilege and a natural fit. Ran has experience working with social enterprises and NGOs in achieving their communication and messaging objectives.

His belief in the power of communication to tackle any problem and to achieve any goal keeps him motivated and excited to be part of the TWSB team. As the Director of Communication, Ran is supporting our expansion efforts through communication and engagement with our growing audience.

  MIDO DESANTI | EXECUTIVE ADVISOR   Mido is a social entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the social change app,  Pixhug . He is also the principal of the early stage technology investment fund Rubiq Ventures. Prior to his current roles he launched several companies in the luxury goods and services sector. He has studied at the American University of Rome and the International University of Monaco. Mido has spoken on the importance of social entrepreneurship at McGill University and Columbia Business School alongside Deepak Chopra. He sits on the board of Julian Lennon's White Feather Foundation and is fluent in English, French, Italian and Croatian.

MIDO DESANTI | EXECUTIVE ADVISOR

Mido is a social entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the social change app, Pixhug. He is also the principal of the early stage technology investment fund Rubiq Ventures. Prior to his current roles he launched several companies in the luxury goods and services sector. He has studied at the American University of Rome and the International University of Monaco. Mido has spoken on the importance of social entrepreneurship at McGill University and Columbia Business School alongside Deepak Chopra. He sits on the board of Julian Lennon's White Feather Foundation and is fluent in English, French, Italian and Croatian.

  ANDY CHEN | VIDEOGRAPHER   As a film scholar from St. George’s School, Andy joined TWSB and implemented his skills in the production of many videos for TWSB. With a desire to help students in Uganda attain an education and live a better life, Andy went on the March 2017 Uganda expedition as a Videographer. Aside from informing people of TWSB’s mission, he loves spending time with kids and showing them his photos, gadgets, and gizmos.

ANDY CHEN | VIDEOGRAPHER

As a film scholar from St. George’s School, Andy
joined TWSB and implemented his skills in the production of many videos for TWSB. With a desire to help students in Uganda attain an education and live a better life, Andy went on the March 2017 Uganda expedition as a Videographer. Aside from informing people of TWSB’s mission, he loves spending time with kids and showing them his photos, gadgets, and gizmos.