Meet the Team

Jean-Didier Mualaba
Chief Executive Officer

Jean-Didier has worked for the Community and Voluntary Sector in the UK for 15 years. He previously worked at Leicester North West Community Forum, where he supported new communities of asylum seekers and refugees settle in some of the most deprived neighborhoods in Leicester.

Jean-Didier has a degree in Economics from the Catholic University of Bukavu in the Democrat Republic of Congo and a BA (Hons) degree in Community Development and Youth Studies from Derby University. He is currently studying Public Health (Master in Public Health) at the University of Sheffield.

John Aghoghogbe
Employability Manager

John has over twenty years experience of providing careers information, advice and guidance to all types of people, from those with no formal qualifications to post-graduate students.

He is skilled at communication, needs assessment, planning with clients, negotiation and promotion. He is a specialist in working with BME communities to realise education and employment aspirations.

He is a qualified careers advisor, due to a post-graduate Diploma in Careers Guidance from Nottingham Trent University.

John is a volunteer community worker, and a member of the Urhobo Progress Union. He also has experience of running his own business enterprise.

Rosie Fisher
Learning Manager

Rosie originally trained as a Pediatric Nurse, before retraining as an ESOL teacher following a period of volunteering with Belong.

Rosie is skilled in language needs assessment, lesson planning, developing teaching material and adaptability. 

She achieved her BNurs (Hons) from the University of Birmingham in 1999, and her CELTA and PTLLS from New College Nottingham in 2011.

 Rosie is also involved with the local Church and is currently trying to learn Arabic.

Simon Ferrigno
Heritage Project Officer Co-ordinator

Simon has spent much of the past 20 years working on questions of sustainability in farming and trade, especially cotton and textiles. Much of this has been in Africa, South America, and Asia. Simon has worked with NGOs, brands and governments to support sustainability efforts. He has also worked directly with rural communities including promoting organic cotton, community development, access to markets and researching the impacts of pesticide and insecticide use on human health and the environment in Africa. Simon has written extensively on sustainability, including a book, numerous reports, and a regular magazine column.

Simon is skilled in writing, organising workshops, public speaking and research. He received his MSc in Education for Sustainability from Southbank University, London.

Simon is also a part time Co-op Member Pioneer, helping support local causes in Derby. He is a member of the RITE (Reducing the Impact of Textiles on the Environment) group steering committee as well as the Soil Association Textile and Trade group. He is also Chair of European Movement Derbyshire. Previously, Simon has worked in community development, and music in London after several years as a professional chef and part-time radio DJ in France. Simon’s working life began as a farm labourer, including on organic farms in the early 1980s.

Simon is a keen reader, cook, gardener, musician and full time parent.

Verna Prince
Office Coordinator

Verna is a trained accountant. She completed her training in both the Caribbean and the UK. She worked in finance industry. Following the birth of her son she changed direction, and volunteered with Sure Start where she gained childcare qualifications. She is passionate about supporting families and young people. She started working with Belong in 2019 and has developed her role as the Office Coordinator as well as working on the Young People project. Verna volunteers at her local church, she loves trying different food and is setting up a chess club in Radford.

Madiya Fikula
Senior Support Coordinator

Madiya trained as a nurse in her home country. When she arrived in the UK she used that experience to work as a carer. She has been involved with Belong since 2010 and has worked on various projects including raising awareness of refugee issues in local communities and working on the computer skills training.

She did her NVQ Level 3 in Information Advice and Guidance whilst working at Belong.

In 2014 Madiya set up the Senior Support Group for migrants over the age of 55 years. She has been working in partnership with Belong since that time.

Madiya is passionate about autism and the services provided for autistic children in DRC.

Zobia Parveen
Teaching and Employability Assistant

Zobia graduated with an Accountancy and Business Economics degree from Italy.

Zobia has 3 year’s experience of working as a technical consultant in the courts and some civil departments in Italy working to support people with immigration advice. She speaks Urdu, Punjabi, Italian and English.

Zobia is skilled in customer services and has been a great asset in the team with engaging learners for computer skills training. She joined the team in November working as a tutor for the Learn My Way and Make It Click programmes after a period of volunteering in the summer 2019 as an employability assistant.

Zobia is skilled in assessing computer skills and training clients at an appropriate level. She also supports clients with some areas of welfare and employability.

Zobia loves expressing her creative side through sewing clothes and cooking delicious Italian and Asian food.

Jephte Johnson Fikula
Employability Assistant

Jephte has been involved with Belong since 2011 when he was a member of the youth programme. After volunteering as an Admin Assistant for a short time he secured a position as an Employability Assistant.

Jephte is skilled in helping people with job searches and using the Universal Credit website. He can also support people with basic welfare enquiries.

Pretthi Sanjayakumar
Employability Assistant (Volunteer)

Preethi is an engineering graduate. She has been volunteering with Belong since summer of 2019 where she has been supporting our Employability Manager. She has also been tutoring clients with computer skills on the Learn My Way and Make It Click programmes.

Preethi is skilled at using the computer and maths. She is happy to help clients that are struggling with maths.

In her free time Preethi is busy being a mum and wife. She really enjoys cooking for her family.