We are a non-profit organization and all members of Right2Education are volunteers. Together, we are working towards building a community and bridging the gap between outsiders and insiders.

Meet the team of 2017-2018

Tamara Happé: Chair

When I started teaching in January 2016, I fell in love with the project. The students were so engaged and motivated, and they taught me so much about their culture, friendship, and the value of education. I have been involved with the academic and teaching side of Right2Education from the start of the project, and enjoyed every single moment. At times it was hard, but together with my board members we have overcome many challenges. I have seen Right2Education grow from a somewhat chaotic student initiative, to a professional organization that provides many students with free language courses and fun events.

As the chair of Right2Education I am lucky to be part of the many different aspects, from events, to classes, to external partners; I enjoy seeing the dynamics of our team. To see how everyone’s contribution creates this bigger organization is amazing, and gives me energy to work even harder for Right2Education. I am looking forward to this year, and hope to see R2E grow even more, but moreover I am excited to keep learning from the board members and students.

Angie Wehrli: Student Coordinator

“I decided to join Right to Education after seeing all of the wonderful things that this group of students, my peers, were accomplishing. We not only get to contribute to refugee integration into the Netherlands, we are also welcoming them into our AUC community and experiencing a rewarding cultural exchange. So far, it has been an absolute pleasure! The motivation and abilities of the team, students and all those involved in Right to Education have completely surpassed my expectations. So much has been achieved since its creation in January, and I’m very excited to contribute to the growth and evolvement of this program.

My role is the Student Coordinator, which means that I am in contact with the students and teachers frequently. I am responsible for keeping updated on personal matters, making sure that the students are integrating well into their classes, that they feel that they are able to succeed in Dutch and are equipped with the tools to do so.”

Laura van der Wal: Academic Coordinator

“I knew I wanted to be a part of Right2Education when I first came in contact with a few of the guest students. I connected with them immediately and we actually just laughed a lot. Their motivation to start over in a completely new environment inspired me so much.
For me, it is important to keep in mind that education is a two way street. Without a doubt, we learn as much from the guest students, as they do from us. Additionally, the whole experience of being part of such an organisation and having these kind of responsibilities is teaching me so much.

In the board of Right2Education I am the Academic and Teacher Coordinator. As the Academic Coordinator, I organise our Dutch and English classes and keep an overview of this. Additionally, I recruit teachers and I am the connection between them and our board. I also hope to evaluate the courses and improve them where necessary.

I have already enjoyed every minute of being a part of the Right2Education team and I believe it to become even more enriching in the future.”

Didi Altena: Treasurer

In February 2017 I got first involved with Right 2 Education as a buddy. What struck me most during my first few months was the positivity and the thankfulness I experienced every single time I was surrounded by our guest students. Subsequently, I got more and more motivated to contribute to the valuable and important organization Right 2 Education is.

I am currently in charge of the financial administration and acquisitions. Right 2 Education runs on the generosity of our sponsors and donators whom determine our possibilities. Therefore, I make sure we are very careful with spending the money we have in order to give as many students as possible the opportunity to study with us. As my tasks are mostly behind the scenes, I try to go to as many events as possible. It is amazing to get to know the students we are all making this work for! I am looking forward to spending more time with our students, enjoying more Middle-Eastern food, and helping many more people towards their deserved education and integration.

Aujke Terpstra: External Communication

I grew up in a village in the countryside, somewhere in the north of the Netherlands. When the conflict in Syria peaked a couple of years ago, and a group of Syrian refugees had to reside in our gym for ten days because they really had nowhere else to go, a lot of people protested. It showed me how close-minded people can be when it comes to new people, foreign cultures and religions other than their own. It was at that moment when I decided I wanted to be different, and do something.

As Right2Education’s External Communication Manager I am in charge of all external partner relations. This also means I get to meet up with many other amazing initiatives like ours, in Amsterdam and surroundings. Through Right2Education I hope to show refugees that they are welcome here, and I hope I can be able to help them start a new life, whether that is by learning Dutch or English, or by making new friends in the Netherlands.

My favourite events are the cooking events (because did you know that Syrian food is absolutely amazing?). I look forward to even more dinners and other fun activities together, and I think 2017/2018 is going to be a wonderful year!

Ellen Ackroyd: Public Relations

“I have to admit, when joining Right2Education, I had no idea what to expect. What could a group of students possibly do to help? Five months later and I never regret that day I first joined and met our first guest students. I keep learning from them and truly cherish the friendships that this project has enabled me to create. What I love most is trying out new things, such as Ramadan or cooking a Syrian dish, it’s so enriching.

And everyday, they surprise me with some new knowledge and new wisdom and never fail to make me laugh. And everyday, this makes me even more determined to fight off this prejudiced image society has of refugees because it could not be further away from reality. Reality is in the conversation, it’s in the dinners we share together, in the events we organize together, in the jokes we exchange. And honestly, it’s beautiful.”

Jessica Khalil: Buddy sytem and Events coordinator

When I fist joined Right2Education in january 2016, I had been in the Netherlands for a couple of months. I wanted to learn Dutch, so I joined the classes. I thought that it was  an amazing thing to see students of my age teaching us, spending time with us, and also having fun with us . When I started to know R2E more, I was very amazed at how this big organization could be organized by young people, even though it was new. But everything was perfect, and very well planned.

When I started to go to the events, I engaged more in R2E and I started to know the board more. I felt that I had new friends, but also a family. Especially after I left everything behind in my motherland, Right2Education opened a new chance for a new life. This small organization made a big effect on me. I tried my best, to do also something for them. I organized food events,and arabic classes.
After one year I became part of the board, when the old members were leaving. At fist I didin’t know a lot about it and I thought it was a big responsibility. But I want to say that I am learning every day something new, and I am very thankful to be now one of Right2Education board members, and to help refugees students to study and also engage in the community.

Chiara Loriaux: Buddy system and events coordinator

When I first learned about Right2Education, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this organisation.The energy that was put forward with R2E as well as its kindness and openness is what first appealed to me the most. In fact, being a buddy was the first thing I signed up for in Amsterdam. From there on my enthusiasm, involvement, and commitment for R2E has only grown.

Today I am very happy to be able to give more to this organisation and the people involved in it as a Buddy System and Event Co-coordinator. R2E’s buddy system is unique in its way or bringing together people to learn about each other. The program is one that binds sharing and friendship in a safe space.

Meet the founders of R2E

Ellen Ackroyd

PR/Buddy System Coordinator

Nini Pieters

Student Coordinator/ Events

Merel Kuijs


Tamara Happé

Academic Coordinator

Andrea Haefner

External Communications

Tanushree Kaushal

Internal Communications

Lena Reim


Els van Dam

Academic Coordinator

The Advisory Board of R2E

Dr. Sennay Ghebreab – AUC Management Representative

Dr. Anne de Graaf – Chief Diversity Officer at the UvA

Michael Vermeer – AUC Alumni

Loes Leatemia – Gastrvij Oost Representative

Prof. Dr. Halleh Ghorashi – VU Representative

Dr. Diederik van Werven – AUC Faculty Representative