Staff and founder
“The strength of Room to Heal comes from the enthusiasm and dedication of the people involved.” Amy Saunders, Comic Relief
Elli Free is the Director of Room to Heal. She has 20 years’ experience in the refugee and asylum sector, managing refugee projects and teams, and working as a legal immigration adviser. Elli has worked at Bail for Immigration Detainees, Save the Children, Refugee Legal Centre, Refugee Council and, most recently, The Children’s Society. She has an MSc in Development Studies from LSE and is a qualified yoga teacher.
Jilna Shah is Programme Lead at Room to Heal and has 13 years’ experience working in the migrants’ rights, anti-racism and anti-discrimination sector – in the UK and in India. Jilna is also a community meditation and movement facilitator where her work centres migrants and refugees, particularly women and youth. She is currently training to become a craniosacral therapist. Jilna has an MA in Human Rights from the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Mark Fish is Room to Heal’s Founder. He is now focusing on sharing Room to Heal’s community-based learning internationally through training and capacity building. Mark has 20 years’ therapeutic experience in group therapy, mediation, clinical supervision and professional development. He has post-graduate qualifications in refugee healthcare.
Hannaa El-Sayed is a Group Therapist at Room to Heal, currently co-facilitating a mixed group with Bert-Jan. Hannaa has worked at a number of refugee organisations including British Red Cross, Helen Bamber, Salvation Army and Refugee Action and has a range of experience of running therapeutic groups, including with members of the Grenfell Community. Hannaa has completed a MSc in Transcultural Mental Health Care and is currently in her final year of a MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy.
Bert-Jan Zuiderduin is a Group Therapist at Room to Heal, currently co-facilitating a mixed group with Hannaa El-Sayed. He has an MSc Psychodynamic Counselling & Psychotherapy from Birkbeck, University of London and has 7 years experience of community-based counselling. Bert-Jan previously worked at Sutton Counselling where he gained valuable experience of working with refugees and asylum seekers.
Emily White is a Group Therapist at Room to Heal. She has a diverse background within the refugee sector and previously worked at Refugee Council, Refugee Action, Bail for Immigration Detainees and the Helen Bamber Foundation. Emily holds an MSc/Clinical Diploma in Transactional Analysis (TA) Psychotherapy and a Post-Graduate Diploma in TA Psychotherapeutic Counselling.
Suzie is a Group Counsellor at Room to Heal. Suzie currently co-facilitates one of the mixed therapy groups with Emily. Prior to this, Suzie had also been working as a caseworker at Room to Heal. In addition to this experience, Suzie has worked at Freedom from Torture and the Dost Centre for Young Refugees.
Anna Giulia Perego
Anna Giulia Perego is a Caseworker and Clinical Administrator. Alongside her casework role she is also responsible for processing referrals. Anna has volunteered with several organisations that support and act in solidarity with asylum seekers and refugees, and has been involved with various initiatives promoting the rights of those being held in immigration detention.
Jane has 18 years’ experience in the charity sector, successfully raising funds and managing teams to raise income from charitable trusts, foundations and businesses. Jane is a Member of the Institute of Fundraising and long-time personal supporter of human rights.
Imogen Butler is our Finance Manager. She has worked with a number of small businesses in organising and structuring their finances. She also has a degree in Swahili and Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Group Therapist (maternity leave)
Roro Ratih Ambarwati (Rae) is a Group Therapist, and has co-facilitated the support groups since 2009. Rae has qualifications in psychology and therapeutic group-work, and has worked at Room to Heal since its beginning.
Cat has been working in the human rights sector for over 6 years primarily in policy and campaigning roles, including with ECPAT UK (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking), The Quaker United Nations Office and the Parliamentary Human Rights Group. Cat also has extensive experience of volunteering to support asylum seekers in the UK including at Detention Action and Room to Heal.
Camilla has a MSc in Psychology and has worked with refugees in Italy before coming to the UK where she has been volunteering at Room to Heal for the last year as a volunteer caseworker. Camilla joins the team as Clinical Administrator for 1 day a week.