UK TEAM


Yasmene Shah

Yasmene is the other co-founder of Tea Leaf Trust. With a background in nothing particularly relevant to education (well, she was a mentor to 2 post-graduates in her previous life of science academia, does that count?) or NGOs, it was her overriding outrage at the treatment of plantation workers that made her chuck in her spin classes and move to Sri Lanka. When things are boiling over and Yasmene is about to 'do one' a milky builder's tea is the only drink to bring her back to normal.

Yasmene Shah

Favourite tea: Builder's, lots of milk, one heaped spoonful of sugar

After completing her PhD in Neuropharmacology and Magnetic Resonance Imaging at the University of Nottingham in 2001, and authoring/co-authoring nine-peer reviewed scientific articles, Dr. Yas thought 'bugger this for a game of soldiers', turned down a lectureship in 2005 and moved back into her mum's spare room to start a new (and successful) career in medical educational and promotional writing.

Sonia Allen

Sonia is one of our fantastic volunteers who we asked to be on the Board of Trustees after she came out to work with us. Her educational background means that we can ensure our students get educational programmes of the highest quality. Sonia works with the Sri Lankan staff team on the ground to make sure that our educational programmes remain current and relevant to the needs of our students and the surrounding community.

Sonia Allen

Favourite tea: Doesn't like tea (mic drop)

Sonia became a Trustee of Tea Leaf Vision after her first visit as a volunteer in 2011 when the teachers and students stole her heart with their real desire to learn. Sonia is from an educational background and holds a MA in Educational Management. She currently works at senior level in secondary education. Her experience of teaching teachers is her strength and she carries out the professional development annually at the school.

Tim Pare

Tim Pare is one of the co-founders of Tea Leaf Trust and currently oversees the programme from the UK in between his day job of managing another UK based charity. A visit to a tea plantation, a bust-up with a hotel manager and the warmth of a tea picker's smile (in that order) convinced him to up sticks from Blighty and move to rural Sri Lanka to start educational programmes for the youth of the tea plantations and their communities. Tim is a proud Earl Grey man.

Tim Pare

Favourite Tea: Earl Grey

After graduating with a degree in Women’s and Cultural Studies, Tim moved from Cheltenham to Sheffield to form a band and become famous. He formed a band, released an album nationally, but is still waiting for the fame!

In 2007, having moved to London to get married, Tim and his wife Yasmene went on honeymoon to Sri Lanka, a trip that changed their lives. Having been affected by the lack of life chances for the young people of the tea plantations, the couple set-up Tea Leaf Trust and moved to rural Sri Lanka to establish a school.

Shawn Basheer

Shawn is our Social Media/Marketing Intern (he's our guru) with close ties to South Asia - a perfect match for Tea Leaf Trust. Creating engaging stories on film is his specialty and can make the most mundane of subjects seem vibrant and alive. What Shawn doesn't capture on film isn't worth watching! He has an exotic taste in tea, with a preference for Masala Chai. An explosion on the palate to match the man himself!

Shawn Basheer

An award winning Avid Media Composer Editor, Content Creator and Marketing whiz kid, Shawn joined Tea Leaf Trust in 2016 to help out with the Media and Marketing operations of the Organisation. With his own close personal ties to South Asia, through his ancestral roots, Shawn loves helping out a charity that reflects both the culture and the issues that plague the region.

Natasha Piette-Basheer

Natasha is clued up young woman who uses her skills at social media to raise awareness on hard-hitting social issues. She is passionate about advocating for women's rights in tea picking communities and is using her skills to help Tea Leaf Trust promote this. Finding 'Natasha' time is difficult, but when she does she loves nothing better than putting her feet up with a soothing cup of Jasmine Green tea - and so she should!

Natasha Piette-Basheer

Favourite tea: Jasmine Green Tea

Natasha is currently studying a master's degree in anthropology focusing on gender inequalities and development at Goldsmiths, University of London. Natasha’s experience working in the third sector is as a donor relations executive and administrator with organisations such as Plan International USA, Women's Environmental Network, and Endometriosis UK.

Carol Workun

Carol is our amazing Volunteer Co-ordinator who will help organise your visit and ensure that you get the best out of your experience. Carol uses her extensive experience in non-profit organisations to ensure that our volunteer programme maximises your skills. Carol always find a good cup of Earl Grey helps her start the day!

Carol Workun

Favourite tea: Ginger

I live in Canada where I am the Executive Director of a non-profit organization. I fell in love with Sri Lanka in summer of 2014 when I made my first visit with my daughter and come home determined to find a charity in Sri Lanka where my love for the country and my non-profit experience could come together with good purpose. It was by good fortune and extensive web research that I found Tim and Yas and Tea Leaf Vision.

Jenny Kim

Jenny is our bright young sparky Communications and Fundraising Intern. She is currently doing a Masters in NGO and Development Management - we're hoping to utilise some of those newly found skills. Jenny recently visited our projects and did a sponsored tea-pick on the local ethical tea plantation. She experienced some of the difficulties of picking tea first hand - her ankles becoming dinner for a large number of leeches! However, a nice cup of Genmaicha green tea eases the pain.

Jenny Kim

Favourite tea: Genmaicha Green tea (it has roasted rice in it!)

Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Jenny has spent the past few years working for various nonprofits throughout Southeast Asia and is now spending the year in London doing her Masters in NGO and Development Management at the University of East London.

Caoimhe Ni Eochagain

Our gem from the Emerald Isle is our development supremo! What this woman doesn't know about development, youth advocacy and empowerment programmes and process driven monitoring and evaluation isn't worth knowing. Caoimhe came out to Tea Leaf Vision for a year to support the staff team, and made such a great impression that we begged her to be a trustee, and we are so happy that she did! As for tea - has to be a strong builder's. Fantashhhtic!

Caoimhe Ni Eochagain

Favourite tea: Builder's

Caoimhe is currently between Dublin and Geneva where she is persistently spelling her name phonetically and trying to figure out her new role as an Associate Youth Officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She believes the creativity, energy and openness to change intrinsic in youth means young people, when supported, can be the best advocates for and drivers of societal wellbeing. This is the carrot on the stick when it comes to her career.