Meet the board
Cathy was born in Surrey, the third of four children, but moved to Bristol at age 9. Cathy studied Social Administration and Social Work at the University of Birmingham. In 1984, she qualified as a social worker...still very wet behind the ears!
Cathy worked for Birmingham Social Services until 2014, in a variety of roles. Most of her experience is from working with adults, but she has also done work with children and families.
Steve and Cathy were married in Birmingham in 1992, welcoming their sons Christopher and Cameron in 1993 and 1995. They have lived in Birmingham ever since, getting to know Amani after the boys visited the centre in 2013.
Cathy left social work to become a full time foster carer for two years. She is now a course tutor at Birmingham City University and is involved in a project that places social work students in schools to gain experience.
In her free time, Cathy enjoys reading, walking, learning the harp, singing in a choir, coffees with friends and visiting family, including her elderly parents.
Anne grew up in the Midlands, and went to secondary school in Stratford upon Avon. After a first degree in music, she worked as an arts administrator for various orchestras, festivals and concert halls and became the founding Education Officer for Wigmore Hall in London.
Anne later retrained as an Educational Psychologist, and after working for Warwickshire, spent two years working in a chain of schools and children's homes which specialised in meeting the needs of children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Anne visited Amani as a tourist in 2016 when she read about it in her guide book, and was immediately blown away by the children, the staff and how well good psychology was taken for granted throughout the organisation. It wasn't long before she was back - Anne worked as a volunteer at Amani for two 6/7 month periods in 2017-18 and 2019, experiences she describes as 'life-changing'.
Anne currently works as an Educational Psychologist in Devon. In her free time, she enjoys singing, playing the piano, reading and walking, especially along the South West coastal path.
Steve first heard of Amani when Cathie spoke about Amani at their church in Birmingham and his two sons visited Amani in 2013. Steve's career has been developing affordable housing in the UK in the public, private and housing association sectors, where he specialised in initiating new development projects, winning bids and project managing them to completion.
In 2015, he followed his passion and took a risk, negotiating a redundancy from his role as Regeneration Director at Bovis to study for a Masters in International Development at Birmingham University. He's since worked with a number of UK-based NGOs, including with partners in Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe, and now works for Care International as Programme Funding Coordinator for Africa.
Along with his wife Cathy, Steve has been a short term foster carer, with over 15 children passing through their home. They have two sons in their 20's, attend a local Anglican Church and enjoy walking.
In July 2003, Martin was taken to the old Amani home for the first time. He was astounded at the conditions there, including a room in which around 50 kids slept 3 to a bed, with bunk beds standing 4 deep. A fire pit acted as a kitchen, and a dusty courtyard as the playground. Yet it was clear that this home was so much better than the environment these children had come from. The physical features ignored the way that this little home was so special - the sense of community and togetherness, the respect they clearly showed for each other and simply the kindness that flowed. This little house was their castle and in it were the seeds of the new lives they needed to nurture. That experience was enough for Martin to get stuck in, and he can be proud of the part he has played in ensuring Amani is where it is today.
Before joining Amani, Martin spent years heading a travel company specialising in overland trips through Africa and Asia - this photo was taken on one such trip in 1979! He has since retired, and is in charge of the accounts for Friends of Amani UK.
Janika grew up in Moshi, so has known Amani for as long as she can remember. She has always been aware of the amazing work that they do in providing a nurturing, supportive and fun environment for children and young adults who have had a very tough start in life.
Having since grown out of simply playing on the Amani playground, Janika became a board member of Friends of Amani UK in 2015 after starting her own career in the international development sector, where she works predominantly on public health issues. Janika remains as convinced of Amani’s approach as ever, and is enjoying getting stuck into being a UK board member.
In her free time, Janika loves walking her giant dogs, bouts of intensive reading, and spending days pottering in the kitchen.