Our Members

Our vision and mission is explicit in responding to the occupational needs of displaced people, consequently the profession of occupational therapy is reflected in our membership and sphere of activity. However, membership is open to any person working in accordance with our vision and mission regarding the occupational needs and rights of displaced people. 

Our work is independent from a particular political agenda, religion, nationality, or culture and we embrace diversity and anyone keen to support our work!

OOFRAS, by adding vibrance and strength to civil society, is an independent watchdog and counter-weight to the power of the state. 

All members are volunteers, all funds are donated, all work if guided by our Global Compact framework for human rights, labour standards, environment, and anti-corruption.

One of our Global Compact goals is to celebrate and increase the cultural and linguistic diversity of our network. So recently we've been asking people to volunteer what culture/s and language/s they identify with.

Some members have provided email contacts and an introduction to foster networking. Enjoy meeting our members below :)

Cultures our members identify with

Australia Flag Greek Flag  United Kingdom Flag Kenyan Flags

United States of America Flag Zimbabwe FlagCanadian Flag Mexican Flag

South African Flag Singapore Flag Lativan Flag

Thanks to NordicFactory for the flag icons :)

Languages our members speak

English, Spanish, German, Aafrikaans, Greek, Cantonese, Italian, French, Dutch, Auslan, Alcholi, Kiswahili, Auslan, Norwegian, Taisanese, Mandarin.



Kevin Kao, Brisbane. I'm currently a community-based Occupational Therapist. I personally believe in the value of a strong and maintained cultural identity, and I hope to be able to learn more about how I might be able to support asylum seekers and refugees in retaining theirs through meaningful occupational engagement 

Laura Desha, Brisbane. I am an occupational therapist and academic with a research interest in the ways that people engage in routines that promote health and wellbeing. I'm conscious of the overwhelming disruption to routines faced by refugees and asylum seekers. I would like to be involved in a movement to advocate for, and support, this group as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of a new phase of life in Australia. Laura.N.Desha@gmail.com

Hollie Fisher, Cairns. I'm a third year OT student at JCU Townsville. Day we (my class) had a Skype chat with Clarissa Adriel. WOW what and inspiration! hollie.fisher@my.jcu.edu.au

Catherine Moyes, Buderim. I am a fourth year occupational therapy student at the University of the Sunshine coast. katie_moyes@hotmail.com

Teresa Guteridge, Boondall. Hi, my name is Teresa and I really admire your organisation.  I am currently in my final year of my bachelor's degree of Occupational Therapy studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast. My dream is to be able to use my clinical skills to improve the everyday living situations of people in developing countries.  Next year I will be looking for clinical work in conjunction with post graduate honours. I believe occupational therapists are beautifully positioned to support refugee's to overcome some of the barriers created as a result of being displaced. I couldn't imagine how difficult it would be, having to escape oppression and then navigate a new culture. I really would like to get involved and offer assistance and support. tmguteridge@gmail.com

Emily Coleman, Coolum Beach. I'm an Occupational Therapy Student, I'll be finishing my uni degree in November of this year. I support the notion of equal rights and opportunities for refugees and those seeking asylum. I believe occupational therapy could have a vital role to play in increasing well being of refugees and asylum seekers as well as facilitating their integration in the Australian community. emc008@student.usc.edu.au

Katie Beal, North Albury. katie.beal93@gmail.com

Matthew Burgess, Australia. "I am a new Graduate OT, I recently gained a job with CONNECT. I work as a refugee casemanager/community development worker in Nauru. I have a long standing interest in working with refugees and asylum seekers and wish to contribute to addressing the many occupational injustices that asylum seekers and refugees experience in Nauru." matthew.burgess@uqconnect.edu.au

Emma Campbell, Australia. "Hi I'm Emma. I first came across OOFRAS in 2007 when I started a research project with refugees in Brisbane. Since then I've worked at an asylum seeker community service (Lifeline), volunteered at a detention centre, done a PhD with asylum seekers at the centre of it, and been a mentor for the OT KiDS program at BITA (detention centre in Brisbane). I now work at UQ. My other area of interest in OT is Indigenous health. Outside the OT world, I love traveling, cooking, gardening, art and photography. A favorite weekend pass time is going out for breaky." emjcampbell@gmail.com

Kerry  Thomas, Australia “In my general work or study role I understand, agree, and want to be a member interPART (International Partners in Action, Research and Training) is an Australian-based organisation that I manage. Through this and affiliated groups such as Partners in Disability and Development (soon to merge with Motivation Australia), we have been engaged in supporting especially vulnerable people in development, disaster and conflict contexts (mostly Asia and Africa) for more than 30 years. With a background in OT, I am a strong advocate for OT in development, including refugees and asylum seekers, and am excited to see/support the ongoing growth and development of OOFRAS - the need for which, unfortunately, continues to grow.” kerry.thomas@interpart.org.au

Jess Leggatt, Australia. "Hello! I am Jess, an Occupational Therapist passionate about harnessing the power of occupation to restore wellbeing and reconnect individual's to their inner essence and love of life. At its core, Occupational Therapy is about reconnecting people to the stuff that matters most to them (their meaningful occupations) so that they may live a life that is purposeful, joyful and enriched. This should be accessible to EVERYONE! As an evolving OT I am constantly inspired to pioneer new and meaningful ways to bring the beuaitful holistic nature of Occupational Therapy to unexpected domains of health care. I have a deep interest in social justice and support the need for ethical access to good health and optimal living, no matter what walk of life or background. I believe 'meaningful occupational engagement' forms the crux to our overall health & wellbeing. I also believe that enabling access to 'meaningful occupational engagement' is everybody's business, and every-body has the right to enjoy this inherent humanistic need to belong, connect and engage and remain in touch with the tasks, activities, and occupations that give purpose and meaning to everyday life. How lucky am I in my profession, to be able to help people do this! In 2005, alongside a team of four other young, dynamic Occuaptional Therapists (including an amazing leader and mentor, Clarissa Adriel), I helped forge the beginnings of this inspiring volunteer organisation: OOFRAS. This is still one of my most proudest professional achievements to date. Clarissa, you were my inspiration then, and my inspiration now. Thank  you for planting a seed in my heart. OOFRAS is an amazing organisation built on heart, connectedness and an inner drive for social justice and ethical access to help improve the lives of those who's "Occupational Opportunities" have been forcibly, traumatically and unethically lost, displaced or disconnected. I am extremely honoured to be a part of this movement." jess@mindbodyliving.com.au

Kelly Mitchelson, Australia. "I am a Masters of Occupational Therapy student, with undergrad in Public Health with an interest of working with the refugee community within Australia." kelly.mitchelson@gmail.com

Donnamarie Krause, Australia. "I live in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.  I work with refugees both personally and professionally since 1985.  In the 80's it was with the Southeast Asian population, the 90's Afrikan's, 2000's it has been with Somali and Arab people's and most recently Nepali refugees being relocated here.  Advancing my OT education in recent years has brought my involvement to a scholarly endeavor.  Thank you for being online as a resource and a support. I look forward to working together." donnamarie@mnkrause.net

Timothy Barlett, Australia. I recently moved to Australia from Canada, working as an Associate Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at the University of Queensland. I am humbled by my own privilege and how easy it was for my wife and I to start a new life in Australia. My background is in community healthcare, clinical instruction and community-based participatory research in Canada and internationally. Most of my research has focussed on the use of low cost technology (primarily mobile phones) in community development. I am interested, both personally and professionally, in efforts that support marginalized communities. t.barlott@uq.edu.au

Jumi Adegbola, Australia. has joined us too - Welcome!

Tamara Eames, Australia. "I am a mother of 4 and working as an OT in the Education Department in the Brisbane Logan area. I am passionate about working with refugees and would love to find out more about what OOFRAS is doing. benandtamara@gmail.com

Shelley Hume, Australia. "I am in my final semester of the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) at the University of the Sunshine Coast. I am looking forward to my transition into professional practise." shume@live.com.au

Mary Jackson, Australia. "I am an OT with over 25 years experience" martens.jackson@gmail.com

Jacinta Mayne, Australia. Currently working with refugees in Townsville, Australia.  Have previously lived in Thailand (1.5 years) and am working towards seeing further development of occupational therapy programs for people from war-affected backgrounds. jacinta.mayne@my.jcu.edu.au

Jieying, Xie, Australia. I am a 2nd year OT student in Melbourne. I am interested in knowing more about the role of OTs in refugee settlement and how they help asylum seekers. rebejxie@hotmail.com

Sophie Wiglesworth, Australia. I am a 4th year Monash OT student looking forward to graduating this year! I have always felt so ashamed that we lock up innocent people seeking asylum in this country! One of our close family friends is a man who fled Iran and was detained for four years in various detention centers (he is now a free man and an Australian citizen :) My Honours project is in a forensic psychiatric hospital and this has shown me the incredible impact that a restricted environment and the subsequent occupational deprivation have on an individual.  I would like to get involved in helping people that have endured these awful detention centres to re-engage in meaningful occupations and the everyday lives they want to live. swig3@student.monash.edu

Larisa Asimus, Australia. I'm a postgraduate Occupational Therapy student at University of Canberra and I am really interested in the effects of conflict on people's occupations and how this affects their health and well being. I also currently work with asylum seeker minors, and I really love work with them as I find them really inspiring. Hopefully I can continue to do so. lasimus@hotmail.com

Sheryl Leong, Australia. I am a Melbourne-based OT student and have been keen on the topic of asylum seekers and Occupational Therapy. I am very interested to know how can OT play a role in this 'cultural' group. claymorehime@gmail.com

Erin Coote, Australia. I am currently completing my final year of OT at Southern Cross University. I'd love to contribute to the cause of raising awareness and taking a stand in regards to the occupational deprivation and unjust treatment of many refugees and asylum seekers in detention. etoocnire@hotmail.com   

Heather Lewski, Australia. heatherlewski@gmail.com

Natasha Hollis, Australia. natasha.marie07@gmail.com

Inegbagha Dambo, Australia. "I am currently in my third year of studying Occupational Therapy at the University of the Sunshine Coast. I have always been interested and passionate about refugee, asylum seeker, and multicultural issues. Through university this interest has grown and I've become aware and familiar with OOFRAS, and all the wonderful programs and work they do. I am a strong believer and advocator of occupational justice, and how Occupational Therapy is relevant in helping refugees and asylum seekers. I would love to work in this area one day." IND001@student.usc.edu.au

Lorraine Coutts, Australia. "Hi there, I am an undergraduate student going into my fourth year at Southern Cross University.  I am very interested in working with refugees and/or asylum seekers as i have a strong belief in human rights and providing occupational opportunities to these people.  I have attended a couple of OOFRAS meetings and met some amazing people which has only increased my interest and convinced me that i need to be involved.  I would love to meet other interested people and begin to deepen my knowledge on the issues that are current." veritatem.semper@gmail.com

Frankie Worster, Australia. "I am passionate advocate for individuals who experience occupational injustice, who are relegated to the sidelines, ignored, discounted, taken advantage of. Whilst I try to incorporate my values into my professional role, I hope to work with OOFRAS to be able to take more direct action." frances.worster@gmail.com

Tenneal Bignell, Australia. I currently work in Paediatric Disability and in my spare time volunteer with newly arrived refugee families. I see many similarities in the occupational injustices experienced by the two population groups I am passionate about. I have always wanted to work with refugees and asylum seekers but never quite known where to start in my capacity as an OT. tenneal_bignell@hotmail.com

Kathryn Girvan, Australia. I have and have had many friendships with asylum seekers and refugees over the years and am passionate about Australia providing them a welcome refuge with full access to their human rights. Currently I am involved in helping promote the documentary 'Mary Meets Mohammad' which I believe can be an invaluable educational tool both to the Australian public in general but also to OT students in their University degrees. schmirvs@fastmail.fm

Anna Booth, Australia. Currently in my final semester at UQ studying Occupational Therapy. I have taken particularly interest this semester learning about occupational injustice issues locally, and globally. As a new graduate, I hope to visit countries where occupational injustice occurs, and use the knowledge and skills i've gained, to assist those who do not have the opportunity to participate in meaningful everyday occupations. anna.booth@uqconnect.edu.au

Brendan King, Australia. Currently working in a community rehabilitation setting in suburban Melbourne, primarily providing OT services to frail, elderly people. Have become increasingly interested in the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, and am hoping to use my OT skills to serve this most marginalised section of our society. brendan.king.ot@gmail.com

Sue Hutchinson, Australia. I advocate for asylum seekers and refugees, through my roles as Research Officer for the Uniting Church in Queensland, member of the Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network (BRASS), member of the North East Welcome Hub (NEW Hub - Brisbane) and supporter of former refugees in my local community.

Aimee York, Australia. I am currently a 4th year OT student, graduating at the end of 2013. Planning to do Masters next year in Mental Health, I am interesting in Mental Health issues of refugees. I am very passionate about refugee and asylum seeker-related issues. aimee.york91@gmail.com

Daniel Lowrie, Australia. I am an Occupational Therapist who, like many, finds the exploitation and demonisation of asylum seekers whether for political means, to sell newspapers or due to the general ignorance of our citizens abhorrent. As an OT and a citizen of Australia I would like to be more politically active on this issue by assisting in ensuring issues of occupational deprivation and injustice are addressed nationally and locally. I am joining OOFRAS as my first step in this journey. I hope that by becoming more politically astute on the subject of asylum I will be better placed to contribute meaningfully to discussion and debate and contribute to the broader movement for change. daniellowrie@hotmail.com

Lauren Greig, Australia. I am a few months away from graduating from the Masters of OT practice in Melbourne. I've always been passionate about everybody's right to equality and had a keen interest in working with occupational deprived populations. I currently volunteer at the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and am blown away by the remarkable stories, and resilience of these amazing people. But I'm also continually dishearten at the difficulty they have accessing, participating and engaging in the fully community. I am a strong believer that asylum seekers and refugees settling in Australia have a lot to contribute to our society, if given the chance. OOFRAS is an inspiring organisation (that I have been keeping an eye on for a while). I would like to get involved in enabling refugees and asylum seekers to receive the better, more engaging life they dreamed of and deserve. lagreig@hotmail.com

Merinda Gower, Australia. I've always taken an interest in occupational justice and refugee and asylum seeker populations - but it took attending the 2013 National OT Conference in Adelaide and hearing the speakers in the Occupational Justice strand (Thanks Emma, Anna and Amanda!) to kick start me into finally joining OOFRAS! I'm currently in an adult acute inpatient role at Flinders Medical Centre and a volunteer with Baptist Care FUSE Mentoring Program (which connects those with a refugee background with volunteer mentors). Looking forward to getting more involved and learning from others! merinda.gower@uqconnect.edu.au

Julie Dowse, Australia. "I am a fourth year OT Student from Sydney interested in refugee settlement and human rights." juliedowse@yahoo.com.au

Clare Barrett, Australia. "I'm a passionate OT working in community mental health and also very interested in positive outcomes, support & human rights for refugees. I have engaged in volunteer work in East Timor & Bolivia, and homeless outreach in brisbane. I'd very much like to continue this with oofras in my working, volunteering & personal life." clare.barrett@uqconnect.edu.au

Nicole Anderson, Australia. nicanders15@gmail.com

Jenessa Brown, Australia. "The world is a wondrous place and I believe our lives are a gift from God - we're all equal in His sight. At the moment, I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with newly-arrived refugees, asylum seekers and migrants at a settlement school in Brisbane. Last year, I spent some time living and working with Karen refugees on the Thai/Burma border." refugeestickinsect@gmail.com

Jeanette Isaacs-Young, Australia. "I feel so much 'part' of OOFRAS that it hadn't occurred to me that I was not an actual member until I checked the website again today while sharing with a friend. I was there on the day it was conceived, so feel a bit fondly sentimental and grandmotherly towards the flourishing global entity and action." jeanette@lifestreamassociates.com.au

Michelle Gaymer, Australia. "I am passionate about working with members of the international community on issues of social justice and equity. Part of my undergraduate studies was in international development and I have volunteered both in Thailand and Nepal in social development projects. I am interested in exploring more the occupational therapist's role in working with refugees and asylum seekers in Australia and internationally. I am completing my major community project this year in my final year of OT study working with community integration of Tamil refugee women in Sydney, Australia. I look forward to being involved with and learning more about OOFRAS." shellgaymer@hotmail.com

Jo McGregor, Australia. "I am an OT/Community Development officer working for STARTTS (Service for the treatment and rehabilitation of torture and trauma survivors). I recently begun my role here in February 2013. My experience is OT community integration. I am keen to connect with other OT's within this field. My base office is in Newcastle, NSW and am the only OT in STARTTS beside another OT who is a music therapist. I look forward to chatting with you all." jo.mcgregor@sswahs.nsw.gov.au

Moses Otto, Australia. "My parents are from South Sudan. I was born in Kenya where my parents escaped the civil war in my country. I am naturialised Australian. I completed a graduate entry Masters of occupational therapy and I am now working for CRS Australia." moses.otto@crsaustralia.gov.au

Laura Irvine-Brown, Australia. "I'm an Occupational Therapist currently working in a hospital system and undertaking a Certificate IV in Primary Health Care: Multicultural to qualify me as a Multicultural Health Worker. While I value the experience working in a hospital has provided me, I am passionate about promoting community and social engagement and health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management and am eager to move my career in this direction. I also do volunteer work with an Afghan refugee family once a week to tutor in English and promote community integration." laura.irvinebrown@uqconnect.edu.au

Shannon Chan, Australia.  "My name is Shannon Chan and I am currently working in aged services in a community setting. My passion for working with asylum seekers and refugees came when I spent approximately 12-18 months volunteering as caseworker for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre based in Melbourne. I was truly touched by the organisation and amazed by the resilience of the people I met. However, I was constantly disappointed by the lack of services available and public awareness of the issues faced for people who have been displaced. I have applied for postgraduate studies - Master of Public Health and International Development to understand this area further, gain practical skills in project development and possibly contribute to research. I am very interested in exploring how occupational therapists and the role of "occupation" can improve the quality of life of people seeking asylum and displaced communities." shannon.shihwen@gmail.com

Brock Cook, Australia. "Occupational Therapist working in an Acute Mental Health Unit in Townsville, QLD. Developing a very keen interest in Occupational Science and how these principles are coming to affect an displaced population." brock.cook@me.com

Bradley Williams, Australia. "I am a new graduate OT living in South Australia who is passionate about human rights, occupational justice and cultural diversity. I see OOFRAS as such a great opportunity to, engage in and contribute to, an area I have developed a keen interest in. I am very excited to get involved and learn from others within OOFRAS!" bradley.williams89@gmail.com

Sameera Suleman, Australia has joined us too! Welcome! sameera.suleman@gmail.com

Rachel Hawkins, Australia "I am an OT based on Queensland. I am a mum of two children and feel blessed every day for the fact that we have food and shelter and my children can easily attain an education. If I can help one other person by supporting OOFRAS then I will feel happy." rachel.hawkins@qcomp.com.au

Anna Cai, Australia "I attended one of Clarissa's lectures and she has motivated me to connect with OOFRAS and see where it'll lead me!" annacai@hotmail.com

Lara Moes, Australia. "I have been an OT for 11 years and am so grateful to work in a profession that values enabling persons to live to their full capacity - acknowledging and working with the many things that influence that. I believe that occupational therapy has much to offer practically and politically to the refugee and asylum seeker population in the world, and OOFRAS is doing great work towards this. Thanks!" lara@growonot.com.au

Julia Cham, Australia has joined us as well, "welcome"! jaffa.the.isf@gmail.com

Sarah Jamison, Australia "Hello! I am an occupational therapist currently working for Melbourne city mission early childhood intervention program - here my caseload consists of many refugee/migrants families who are facing not only the impact of re settling in a new country, but also having to care for their child with a disability. My passion is in settlement and how OT's as a profession can really nurture this population." sjamison@mcm.org.au

Diane Reynoldson, Australia. "When the Pontville detention centre opened in Tasmania, I was fortunate enough to be able to run an OT Art group with the Afgan and Iranian men - an experience that on many levels reinforced views and enlarged my thinking. My church has een the spiritual home for many African refugees who have settled in Hobart and just recently I spent some time in Northern Uganda and South Sudan in a voluntary capacity working to assist with the rehabilitation of "war brides" and child soldiers. My eyes are open now and I see that OT has such a role to play in assisting people to settle in their new homes and to provide culturally sensitive rehabilitation." direynoldson@gmail.com

Marian Myers-Braun, Australia. "I'm an OT currently working in paediatrics, with a strong interest in the impact of the refugee and migrant experience on children. I have some contact with refugee groups through my work, and hope to develop my knowledge and skills in this area into the future." mmyersbraun@gmail.com

Philomena van Rijswijk, Australia. "Hi! I've been an OT for 34 years, but five children, many moves, and various other contingencies have provided me with a strange work history.  I've always lived in regional Australia, until the past few years, and I must say, the nice man who puts water in the taps, fixes the roads and takes the garbage away is very much appreciated.  As well as my checkered career as an OT, horticultural therapist, adult literacy tutor, migrant English tutor, Aboriginal student tutor, manager in an aged care facility, and various other health/education "hats", I am also an author, and have had my work published and translated in Australia, Ireland and India (actually, it didn't need translation in Ireland or Australia !!!!!).  I also was co-editor of an Indonesian/Australian literary magazine for a while, and was writer-in-residence at Risdon Maximum Security Prison for 9 months.

I am passionate about refugees and asylum seekers getting the "fair go" that many Australians, apparently, delude themselves about.  In my role as a manager in the aged care facility, I work with the Migrant Resource Centre's PICAC Officer (Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care) and I'm part of their CCP steering committee (Community Partners Programme).  I recently attended a training day at UTAS about linking refugee students with opportunities to volunteer in community services, and I will be attending an open day to meet potential refugee students in the next few weeks.  I have just finished a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Rehabilitation with Flinders Uni.  I studied Spanish for three years, and tried learning Arabic in my car, so I can ask you for your phone number, if you are Arabic... :) romanmartyr@yahoo.com

Dayle Pasztor, Australia "I am passionate about equal human rights and opportunities to engage in meaningful occupations. Throughout my travels across South East Asia I have witnessed poverty and the impact of war on individuals and communities and can only imagine the horrible conditions some people are living in. For a person to be unable to live in their own home or country, flee elsewhere in hope of a better life, only to be kept in detention and experience occupational deprivation, is heartbreaking. I would like to get involved in enabling refugees and asylum seekers to receive the better life they hope for, and I believe OOFRAS is as good a place as any to start." daylepasztor@gmail.com

Robert Pereira, Australia says "Hi all. My name is Rob and I am a passionate occupational therapist and researcher interested in all matters of inclusion, enabling participation and advocacy. I believe that OOFRAS offers voice to the voiceless and brings to light real occupational issues affecting real people which is quite rare. I applaud OOFRAS's mission and the dedication of its 'Trailblazers' who have been instrumental in inspiring people to become interested in the occupational rights, needs, opportunities and possibilities of refugees, asylum seekers and other oppressed and marginalised groups." rbpereira_ot@hotmail.com

Nicole Preston, Australia has been working as an OT for the past 8 years in Australia, Asia and the UK in a variety of fields including aged care, paediatrics and disability. It was whilst spending a year living and working in Bangladesh, that I learnt first hand the challenges associated with adapting to new and different cultures. This experience also gave me a broader perspective of ‘environment’ and showed me the role that a society has in influencing our ability to participate in activities, occupations, and engage in communities. Currently I am completing my Masters in Human Rights. In the future I hope to combine my OT and Human Rights knowledge to support people to actively engage in their communities. I am looking forward to taking an active role within OOFRAS over the next few months. :)nicole_preston80@hotmail.com

Sally Datson, Australia has been working as an OT in mental health for 6 years.  "I became interested in occupational issues for refugees after doing a project in my final year of university.  This involved liaising with refugees from various communities in Brisbane and assessing their occupational needs and how the OT role could be utilised in their settlement in a new country.  Since this time, I have been a member of OOFRAS and involved in various projects also aimed at building the capacity of our profession to respond to the occupational needs of refugees.  I have also had the opportunity to be involved in a community development project with the Congolese community in Brisbane to reduce poverty in their community by looking at alternatives to remittance."  sally@oofras.com

Sarah Perkes, Australia "I would like to work with Indigenous Australians, refugees, or possibly overseas in a developing country. I would also love to get involved in research at some stage. Naturally OOFRAS appealed to me. I first heard about OOFRAS when I attended the OT mental health conference earlier this year and thought the concept was brilliant. I think OTs are well placed to support refugees and asylum seekers in establishing their lives here in Australia. As a profession, we have a unique platform to advocate for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers including speedy processing in a community based setting. OOFRAS is a great concept and a much needed initiative, well done :) I hope to get more involved the future." sarah_perkes@yahoo.com.au

Bronwyn Tanner, Australia is keen to improve the quality of OT practice with refugees as a lecturer at James Cook University, Qld AUSTRALIA. She has also used her fieldwork co-ordinator role to link placements into a settlement service so more refugees can access OT- watch this space! Thank you Bronwyn for sharing senario based learning info to guide our case studies! (anyone keen to be a part of this type of project - talk to us!) Bronwyn.Tanner@jcu.edu.au

Susan Cloete, Australia has a long standing interest with refugee practice and often travels to Zimbabwe. She participated in a refugee settlement project whilst at University of Queensland and graduated to work in mental health. Today she has an active role with local OOFRAS initiatives like the workshop with Kerry Thomas and is the first Vice Africa LINK representing OOFRAS Inc. suziecloete@hotmail.com   

Linda Rylands, Australia is an occupational therapist with over 5 years experience in mental health and 4 years experience exploring the OT role in facilitating occupational transitions for migrants and refugees. After travelling extensively and having first hand experience of the ‘fish out of water’ experience of being an ‘outsider’ in a new country, Linda returned home in 2006 curious about the occupational experience of migrants and refugees settling in Australia.

Linda joined the OOFRAS dialogue, which progressed to gaining a role working at a lead settlement service for refugees in Brisbane. As well as effectively implementing the OT perspective in a case management role, she also supervised several occupational therapy student projects and committed to build the profile of OT role within this specialty area. Linda has been humbled by the stories and journeys that she has been privileged to share with individuals and families settling in Australia. She has served as OOFRAS secretary and is currently passionate to explore the fusion of anthropology and OT frameworks in study and practice. linda@oofras.com

Belinda Locklier, Australia has recently graduated from occupational therapy but developed a keen interest in working with occupationally deprived populations during her studies.  Travels through Africa and South East Asia consolidated this interest and when she discovered OOFRAS' existence, quickly joined the team.  Belinda has also completed a degree in Human Movement Science and has spent the last 15 years working in the health and fitness industry. Currently she works in mental health with homeless populations and is keen to complete further study in international development and research into the use of exercise and sport as occupational interventions post natural disaster.  "The resources provided by OOFRAS assist me in maintaining focused on my long term goals and provide motivation and inspiration to achieve these." b_locklier@hotmail.com

Aakifah Suleman, Australia graduated from University of Queensland in 2009. Following an innovative and successful student project which explored the OT role teaching public transport skills to newly arrived refugee families, Aakifah's new graduate role was to coordinate a brand new Settlement Life Skills program in a Brisbane refugee settlement service. Aakifah has been responsible for designing and establishing the program by incorporating both the unique occupational perspective of settlement life skills and drawing on the extensive expertise in ‘refugee settlement’ of her culturally and professionally diverse team. In 2010 she joined the board of directors of Occupational Opportunities for Refugees and Asylum Seekers Inc. (OOFRAS Inc.) and is actively working to uphold the occupational rights of individuals and families along the refugee journey. a.suleman01@gmail.com

Lluisa Murray, Australia. "While I believe this country already holds an unsustainable population, I'm unhappy with the government's handling of people seeking asylum in Australia. OOFRAS Inc offers the opportunity to link up with communities that would otherwise be inaccessible to most residents of Australia. I'd like to offer my time, meet new people and help to build a stronger Australian community. Lluisa stepped up the the board till the 2011 AGM to represent students & early career OTs. On top of this she raised awareness, funds, and a bit of activist confidence running a university cake stall!" lluisa.murray@gmail.com

Gerald Onsando, Australia. "I am currently working on my PhD project short-titled ‘Perspective transformation for Australia’s adult Humanitarian Program immigrants’ at Griffith University, Brisbane. For over 9 years, I have been engaging with individuals, families, and communities from refugee backgrounds in different capacities through my personal life, study and work. I believe, as OOFRAS does, that individuals and communities from refugee backgrounds can fully participate and contribute to the Australian society, if provided appropriate opportunities. One of my key objectives is to explore ways which these new Australians can attain better educational, occupational, and social resettlement outcomes. Please, feel free to contact me for any comments, suggestions, or discussion." gcaon@hotmail.com

Lucy Ledger, Australia. "I'm an OT currently working in the remote Northern Territory, Australia in Indigenous communities. I've seen the damage that occupational deprivation does in these communities and so am passionate about providing meaningful occupational opportunities for occupationally deprived populations - this has led to my support of OOFRAS and its objectives." lucy_ledger@hotmail.com

Leah Clarke, Australia. "I am an OT who has a strong interest in this area and wish to be part of such a positive organisation." We're delighted to have you on board, what an example joining and buying a Tshirt to wear it with pride!!!  clarke.leah@gmail.com

Amanda Tuckerman, Australia. "I have a strong interest in the formation of Australia as a migrant country. I see refugees and those seeking aslyum as an opportunity for Australia to grow and prosper as we have with our migrants. I feel strongly about the impact of occupational deprivation and the impact this has on health and wellbeing. I want to work towards providing a more diverse, inclusive society that values and recongises those that come to our shore seeking protection. This is the best place to start. Great work OOFRAS!"  a_tuckerman@hotmail.com


Jane Francis Gaffa, Cambridge. I am an Occupational Therapist with experience and a passion for working with Refugees and Asylum seekers. I completed my MA in Migration and Mental Health Care in 2009, carried out fieldwork in refugee camps in Malta. I have worked as a Community Development Worker for refugees and asylum seekers in London. I am currently working to develop the role of Occupational Therapy in a detention centre; combined with an understanding medical anthropology I am therefore keen on the provision culturally appropriate therapy. I would like network with others involved with detention or reception centres in Europe, Australia and USA  janefrancisg@gmail.com

Charlotte Tyler, England. I am a soon to be qualified student Occupational Therapist from Derby, UK. In my spare time I work with asylum seekers and refugees in my local area as a caseworker for the British red cross. I feel a welcoming community is at the heart of successful integration. tylercakes@live.com

Marianne Henderson, England, I'm an occupational therapist and counsellor keen to network with others in this field of work - I currently work in the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Community Mental Health Team in Plymouth. mariannehenderson@live.co.uk

Lisette Rodenburg, Netherlands. "I worked in different areas of OT like rehabilitation centre, working environment. Now I am teaching and I am interested in community based OT and OT with refugees." lisette_rodenburg@hotmail.com

Julia Wenger, Germany. "My name is Julia. I'm from Germany and I'm becoming an Occupational Therapist. Before that I finished my BA in Anthropology and I started a MA as well. My interests are Africa, Tanzania, Medical Anthropology and Migration studies. In my freetime I work at an refugee camp giving German classess for refugees. I would be interested in doing research on OCcupational Therapy in Africa and maybe work there as an Occupational Therapist after finishing school." juliawenger@gmx.de

Ben Rogers, London. "I am an Australian Occupational Therapist working in London for the previous 12 months. I've been working in paediatrics however have a strong interest working with refugees. This was started when, as part of my masters,  I worked closely with Afghanistan refugees in Adelaids, South Australia. Since arriving in London I have contacted several organisations trying to locate an Occupational Therapist working with refugees in the UK. My search has been unsuccessful and eventually led to me volunteering at an organisation called London Welcome Project (LWP). LWP is an organisation that works as a social platform for refugees and supports them with learning skills to fix bicycles. I've been volunteering here for the previous 4 months, however, have a strong desire to advance my involvement and work from an OT framework. I'm looking forward to networking and further developing my skills in this area through support of OOFRAS. rogersben07@gmail.com

Heather Lorraine Hammond. Italy."Hello, my name is Heather and I am a Canadian Occupational Therapist living in Bologna, Italy. I am interested in exploring the unique role the Occupational Therapists can have on the lives of refugees and migrants, in a European context. Parlo anche italiano e mi piacerebbe approfondire la mia conoscenza su questo problema grave, inoltre Lampedusa."h_hammond@hotmail.com

Isobel Griffiths, U.K.  I am an Occupational Therapy student on the MSc pre-registration course at the University of Derby, UK. I have recently completed a poster assignment considering the occupational deprivation of asylum seekers living in the UK. i.griffiths1@unimail.derby.ac.uk                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nadine Blankvoort, Netherlands"Hi! My name is Nadine Blankvoort and I am an Occupational Therapist originally from Canada, now living in the Netherlands where I recently completed a Masters in Global Health degree. The opportunities for participating in the area of occupational engagement and advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers is something that I have a great interest in and also combines the aspects of OT that I value with my Global Health background. I look forward to connecting with other practitioners in this area and being a part of this international network." nblankvoort@gmail.com

TAPAS Association, Belgium. TAPAS association is doing projects in the asylum center in Brussels - Belgium "Het kleien kasteeltje". We send volunteers with OT qualification and students in OT to this center and are very inspired by the ideas and mission of OOFRAS. luc@therapy-tapas.org

Connie Trimboli, Germany. Hi! I am an OT from Australia originally but now living in Germany and doing a Masters of Advanced OT. I am very interested in the area of refugees and I look forward to collaborating! trimboli.concettina@gmail.com

Sharon Rae, Ireland. I am currently employed as a senior occupational therapist in Glasgow's Compass Mental Health and Liaison Team - part of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's trauma service. The Compass Team works with people seeking asylum and refugees who have a history of complex trauma. Sharon.Rae@ggc.scot.nhs.uk

Theo Bogeas, Greece. I currently work in the day centre for the mental health for immigrants "Babel", located in a poor neighbourhood in the centre of Athens, Greece. The programme that I'm involved has as target population children and adolescents 10-16 yrs. My wish is to explore the role of OT and implement the values of our profession with respect to people. theobogeas@yahoo.gr

Gemma Mccallum has recently attended the UK Refugee Council conference "Working Together to Protect Refugees" and has a knack for discovering wonderful info to share with other UK OTs on the UK page or via Skype connections. Gemma recently sent in an encouraging quote "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty' (Winston Churchill) and remarked this vein ran through the conference and all the networking. She's about to graduate and potentially do volunteer work in Fiji and meet OOFRAS Inc members in Australia!i7863160@bournemouth.ac.uk

Naomi Jemmett I'm based in the UK and have worked with refugees for 7 years in both volunteer and paid roles. Love to explore more OT roles, and have done a lot of befriending, mentoring, teaching English, teaching citizenship.naomi.jemmett@ntlworld.com

Helen Claire Smith is doing a PhD on the Meaning of Occupation for People Seeking Asylum in the UK, and is keen to network in Middlesbrough H.C.Smith@tees.ac.uk


You've contacted us, why not be our first member in the region?



Christin Quinn, Washington. My name is Christin Quinn and I am a occupational therapy graduate student. I am also married to an Iraqi refugee from Baghdad, and a refugee sponsor for his family to come to the United States. I am an ongoing local homeless shelter volunteer. I believe OT can play an important factor with asylum settlement, through multiple opportunities to reduce stigma, local refugee integration and ways to help manage culture shock, PTSD, coping with loss and depression. cquinn54y388@yahoo.com

Suzanne Hout,Canada. I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy, and Chair of the Occupational Science field in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences graduate program at the University of Western Ontario. My research critically explores the experiences of immigrants (voluntary and forced) and how governmental policies shape those experiences. shuot2@uwo.ca


Tara Clemons, United States. I recently just graduated from Eastern Washington University, in Spokane, WA, with a Master's in Occupational THerapy. I have been working with children in a variety of contexts and ages for about 17 years. I have always had an interest in working with children who experience environmental, physical, and mental/emotional challenges, and lookking at developing strategies and programs to help improve their circumstances and well being. My masters research project was focust on pediatric oncology  patients and the healing benefits of art within a hospital setting. As an OT I would like to become more involved in researching and developing similiar programs for children and young adults who are experiencing obstacles and providing them with a means of expression. As OT practitioners, there is so much to offer this population in receiving holistic and a fair chance at life. I was thrilled to see that this organization existed and hope that I can become more involved. tkclemons@hotmail.com

Tina Daly, United States. I am an Occupational Therapist currently working in paediatric practice at a childrens hospital in Pennsylvania. Our hospital currently has an existing refugee clinic and my goal this year is to volunteer and define the role of OT within this clinic.

Mary Black, United States.  Thank you to OOFRAS for this forum! I work in Chicago at a treatment centre for survivors of torture, most are political asylum seekers who represent over 60+ countries . We are a community based organization with relatively small staff and large numbers of volunteers. I have worked here for almost 20 years as an Occupational Therapist and feel fortunate that collaborative community based interventions are supported. I welcome the opportunity to connect with other like minded OT's. mblack@heartlandalliance.org

Ikechukwu Igbo, United States. I attended NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL were I received my MOT degree in 2009 and now currently pursing a DrOT degree. I am interested in promoting our profession as well as advocating for occupational justice for all. ikeigbo@hotmail.com

Lisa Borcheller After several career changes, I chose to become an OT so I could learn how to empower people to live more meaningful lives. I like to approach healthcare from a holistic, community-oriented perspective, taking into account a country’s history, culture, and current societal issues. I am particularly interested in a movement within our profession called “OT without Borders” (OTwB) that calls on OT practitioners to expand its scope of practice to working with historically marginalized populations- survivors of war, refugees, prisoners, women, minorities, people with all types of physical and mental disabilities- any group of people whose environmental conditions violates their basic human rights and prevents them from participating more fully and healthfully in their lives. I am so thankful that my friend Ashley Gerber introduced me to this group, as the goals of OOFRAS and OTwB seem to align very closely!

I spent a month this past summer working with students and professors from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa. Along with five other VCU students, we taught Photo Voice as a documentary tactic to 13 youth in Kenneth Gardens, a large and under resourced public housing community in Durban. We worked with the youth to help them take pictures about the assets and barriers in their community, particularly as it relates to health outcomes. We also conducted key informant interviews with community elders and users of the Kenneth Gardens homeopathic clinic to determine how we could work alongside the community to better service their health needs. 

Upon completing my Masters degree, I plan to continue my studies in a Community Health Ph.D. program in South Africa. I’d like to build an international career using community-engaged research and outreach to explore issues of human rights as outlined by OOFRAS and OTwB. Whatever path I end up taking, I want to be an advocate for marginalized populations in need of a voice and meaningful occupations. For all of these reasons and more, I’m so excited to join this group and get more involved! lisa.borcheller@gmail.com

Ashley Gerber is a second year OT student. I spent this past summer in Guatemala doing the NAPA-OT Field school which helped me see that there are other OTs interested in social justice issues, and which is how I was lead to this organization. I'm hoping to get involved in social justice issues as an OT, just not sure how yet:) akgerber@gmail.com

Erick Leon, United States. "My name is Erick Leon. I am a first year OT practioner from NYC currently working in a school district in Houston, Texas serving a minority population. One of my goals is to eventually teach and do research at the university level with the Latino population, especially Mexican-Americans, in order to guide policy making and improve their overall well being through an occupational justice lens. In the end, all of society benefits. In regards to OOFRAS, I intend to explore, expand and apply the knowledge learned to refugee and non-refugee populations because everyone deserves to lead occupationally meaningful and purposeful lives filled with occupational opportunities. I am really excited to be a part of OOFRAS because I have been yearning for an organization that truly wants to make a change through networking and actions. I am pretty excited for this!" erick.leon.otr@gmail.com

Sherry Watson, United States. "I have worked as an OT since 1980. The first 18 years were primarily in US private sector mental health services and the last 14 in physical rehabilitation with the US Veterans Affairs.  I have travelled to 22 countries (some more than once), providing aid in renovating buildings for community gathering places and teaching skills for occupations to children and women in 3 of the countries.  I have wanted to respond to catastrophic natural disasters in the past but was not sure how to participate as an OT.  I discovered this organization through a class for my post-professional master's degree in OT and I am excited that there is this organization specifically for OTs to guide me in that goal." sherry.watson@juno.com

Caryn Brandel, Canada. I am a first year OT student at Towson University. She says, "I love that occupational therapy is a medical profession based on helping people live meaningful lives rather than just fixing injured limbs. My interest in working with refugees began when I took a genocide and holocaust course in high school, which introduced me to the plight of refugees leaving a hostile homeland to start over in a strange new country.  I would love to help to create a balance between preserving refugees' cultures while incorporating them into the culture of their new country.  I hope to work alongside the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore to address the occupational needs of local refugees."cbrand6@students.towson.edu

Samantha Lowe, Canada. I have an honors undergraduate degree in International Development, and wrote my thesis on the cyclical nature of Palestinian nationalism and gender. I wish to combine my OT degree with this passion and undergraduate degree and continue on to a PhD in global health. samantha.paton@gmail.com

Nadine Kwebetchou, USA. I discovered OOFRAS Inc while conducting a needs assessment during an internship at a local International Rescue Committee officein USA, exploring the role of occupational therapy (OT) in refugee resettlement. With the helpful resources afforded from the OOFRAS Inc website, she continues to stay intrigued with international OT opportunities and networking opportunities with OTs who think outside of the box. nadine.kwebetchou@gmail.com

Kathy Niece, USA. Kathy says in my personal and professional lives, I have always been involved with people at the margins of society. As an occupational therapist for more than 20 years, I have worked in acute mental health and skilled nursing facilities while also living among and working with the homeless and immigrants out in the community. I currently teach and coordinate fieldwork at Nebraska's only occupational therapy assistant program. One of my deepest passions is helping move the OT profession in the United States beyond hospitals and clinics, out into the community to address occupational disruptions and barriers faced by a variety of individuals and populations, particularly the marginalized. kniece@cccneb.edu

Natasha Smet, USA. "I am an Occupational Therapy Doctorate Student at The University of Toledo - in Toledo Ohio. I am an American but I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa during the Apartheid era. My doctoral scholarly project is titled: Occupational Therapy's Role with Immigrant's and Refugees. I hope to publish my work in May of 2014 - after my graduation." nsmet2@rockets.utoledo.edu


Fatima Hendricks, Cape Town. Education: BOT, MBA, MSc Applied Info Mangement. Doctoral candidate in DOT Work: Part-time lecturer, co-founder Girls Leadership Lab www.girlsleadership.co.za, Co-founder www.otandptforgaza.org, Regional Ambassador Girl Rising. Owner of private OT practice. fatimahendricks@yahoo.com

Our Directors

Clarissa Adriel (President)

I want to see our profession engage people where they are at, which means meeting them wherever their occupational needs are, to offer occupational opportunities that make sense.

"The first refugee stories I encountered were told by a couple of homeless Sri Lankan men I met whilst travelling to a practice placement in India. One had been a welder and the other a chemistry teacher. They had both sold their wives jewelry to get out, hoping to find work in India to bring their family out of the the camp too. I had no concept of "refugee issues" and yet it didn't matter. They were not talking about being refugees. Or experiencing occupational injustice. That just "was". They were talking about their lives. And their distress as fathers, husbands, employees, non-citizens. They are my reminder to start with the basics. People. Stories. Knowing less. Listening more. Responding to what you already do know."clarissa@oofras.com

Jenna Cera (Secretary) 

I am an Occupational Therapist who's passionate about occupational justice and the occupational rights of asylum seekers and refugees. I believe that as a profession, Occupational Therapy has the potential to make a significant impact in the lives of asylum seekers and refugees; harnessing their unique and valuable skills and abilities, raising awareness, advocating, providing a tangible example of an inclusive community and decreasing the negative impacts caused by current policy and systems.  jennacera@gmail.com

Yolande Hall (Treasurer)

I have been studying OT for 2 years at the University of Queensland, and particularly took interest in a lot of work being done by OTs in the refugee and asylum seeker field. I remember a research article that described mental health of immigrants in Australia with those from collective cultures describing depression as not being connected to the community rather than an internal experience. This began for me the thought of enhancing strengths. Focusing on this strengths based approach with refugees helps as we welcome them into our communities, by appreciating and using the unique skills they bring to Australia's diverse community. I do think occupation is vital for everyone and finding the keys to help people give back and participate in their community is what I am passionate about. I am really excited to be involved in OOFRAS and occupational opportunities for all. yolande.halls@uqconnect.edu.au

Tara Watts (Director)

"I am passionate about refugee rights and social inclusion. I have been involved with a refugee tutoring program working with a Sudanese family for the past three years and in an OT role assisted with a Karen family play group. I look forward to being a part of OOFRAS as they encourage and raise awareness about the role occupational therapists can play working with refugees and asylum seekers. Together we can work towards a more inclusive society." tara.watts@hotmail.com

Amanda Tuckerman (Director)

I have a strong interest in the formation of Australia as a migrant country and I am passionate about human rights. I feel that the occupational therapist perspective of health and wellbeing could be invaluable in assisting displaced persons during pre and post settlement processes. I see a huge gap in this area as a final year graduate entry masters student and I want to do something about it. The impact of occupational deprivation on those within detention centres and those refugees within our community are vast. We need to work together as a profession and continue to build evidence of practice within this emerging area. amanda@oofras.com


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