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KarmaBank is about

community collaboration diversity care

Meet The Team

KarmaBank CIC started as a WhatsApp group in 2020 to encourage cooperation amongst relief organizations to better allocate food surplus, volunteer, and logistics support.

“Our number one strategy is based on the old adage that it is better to give someone a fishing rod than just the fish, and we do that through being as creative as we can, and finding partners to help us.”

AndrewFounder of KarmaBank
CEO & Founder, Head of London Operations

Andrew Standen-Raz

After studies in Law, Anthropology, and Film at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Andrew created documentary films and art installations, and taught film and conflict management at Vienna University of Applied Sciences. Following his magazine articles on the Syrian refugee crisis, Andrew volunteered at a refugee camp and designed a T-shirt campaign to fund support for unaccompanied minor refugee children. Since returning to London, Andrew organised film premieres for Ai Wei Wei and Ifrah Ahmed, the international anti-FGM campaigner. He founded the Pod Refugee Welcome Space in 2021 and co-founded St. Luke's food bank, designed and administrated emergency relief services, foodbanks and community kitchens during the pandemic for Mutual Aid and Age UK.

Andrew grew up in Oxford and London, and began his career in Soho, working as a creative video editor. After studies in Anthropology at UCL, Film at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and Law at Loyola, Andrew worked for
Miramax Films, wrote for a Shanghai Art magazine, taught film studies, created art installations, and
curated a film festival. He made the documentary film “Vinyl: Tales from the Vienna Underground”,
which premiered at international film Festivals across the world. Following his articles on the Syrian
refugee crisis, Andrew volunteered at a refugee camp and designed a T-shirt campaign to fund
support for unaccompanied minor refugee children. Since returning to London, Andrew organised
film premieres for Ai Wei Wei and Ifrah Ahmed, the international anti-FGM campaigner. He founded
the Pod Refugee Welcome Space in 2021, and designed and administrated emergency relief
services, foodbanks and community kitchens during the pandemic. Andrew started Karmabank as a
cooperative WhatsApp group to connect London emergency services in 2021, and, following
establishment as a CIC, launched the first funded projects with co-founder Rima Sams in 2022.

COO & Founder, Head of Hastings Operations

Rima Sams

Rima began her charitable work in the first lockdown energising a team of volunteers to make over 7000 meals at her Theatre Kitchen for the vulnerable in her community who had slipped through the local authority's net. It was during this campaign that she met Andrew Standen-Raz and through helpful connecting and working together they created an incredible resource of helpers and volunteers. Rima's diverse career history includes marketing Europes first energy drink, promoting fashion labels, prop buying for film and private cheffing. Rima is now only interested in working on projects that create positive impact.

Rima’s creative background in sustainable fashion and organic food has driven several startups across Europe, from the world’s first energy drink Gusto to the House of Khadi fashion label. She produced over six thousand meals for COVID relief from her kitchen at the Playground Theatre, W10 and continued food support from her café at St. John’s Church, Notting Hill using surplus food collected from The Felix Project.

Rima began her charitable work in the first lockdown energising a team of volunteers to make over 7000 meals at her Theatre Kitchen for the vulnerable in her community who had slipped through the local authority’s net. It was during this campaign that she met Andrew Standen-Raz and through helpful connecting and working together they created an incredible resource of helpers and volunteers. Rima’s diverse career history includes marketing Europes first energy drink, promoting fashion labels, prop buying for film and private cheffing. Rima is now only interested in working on projects that create positive impact.

Co-Founder, Executive Director

Marilena De Vita

Marilena is an experienced accountant for the NHS and has coordinated food support and outreach for homeless and low-income Londoners for the Community Sant’Egidio for several years. In 2020, she created a foodbank from the back of her Fiat which served hundreds of vulnerable Londoners in Westminster and RBKC weekly throughout the pandemic.

Marilena is an experienced accountant for the NHS and has coordinated food support and outreach for homeless and low-income Londoners for the Community Sant’Egidio for several years. In 2020, she created a foodbank from the back of her Fiat which served hundreds of vulnerable Londoners in Westminster and RBKC weekly throughout the pandemic.

Non-Executive Director, Volunteer Coordination

Celia Wilson

Celia studied social policy at Sussex University, trained as a youth justice worker and managed integrated children and family services in local government. She joined the new Women's Equality Party's start-up team, and works for Girlguiding, leading innovation. She cares passionately about equality, and is a consistent champion of change for the better. abuse.

Celia studied social policy at Sussex University, trained as a youth justice worker and managed integrated children and family services in local government. She joined the new Women’s Equality Party’s start-up team, and works for Girlguiding, leading innovation. She cares passionately about equality, and is a consistent champion of change for the better.

Non-Executive Director, Head of Education

Rhonda Borrel-Chafin

Rhonda is a qualified and experienced ESOL tutor who has created and delivered adult education courses (in English, Maths and ICT) within West London based charities for more than 10 years.
She has been working with KarmaBank since August 2022 primarily focusing on community engagement and development of educational and digital skills for our members.

Rhonda is a qualified and experienced ESOL tutor who has created and delivered adult education courses (in English, Maths and ICT) within West London based charities for more than 10 years.
She has been working with KarmaBank since August 2022 primarily focusing on community engagement and development of educational and digital skills for our members.
Non-Executive Director, Lead for Partnerships

Mark Hjaltun

After graduating from KCL in History and a brief stint at the renamed University of Law, Mark worked in various banks and trading houses within the financial and commodity derivative markets. With a colleague he built up a soft commodity recruitment business, and more recently has consulted on fundraising strategies for charities such as Centrepoint and volunteered with a community kitchen during lockdown. Mark is a firm believer in building bridges through open dialogue.

After graduating from KCL in History and a brief stint at the renamed University of Law, Mark worked in various banks and trading houses within the financial and commodity derivative markets. With a colleague he built up a soft commodity recruitment business, and more recently has consulted on fundraising strategies for charities such as Centrepoint and volunteered with a community kitchen during lockdown. Mark is a firm believer in building bridges through open dialogue.

Non-Executive Director, Legal Advisor for Refugee Affairs

Gulsom Gohar

As a paralegal at Bevan Brittan LLP, Gulsom currently supports the employment team with employment matters.
Gulsom has been working as a Prosecutor and investigator of violence against women an child abuses at General Attorney of Afghanistan where she investigated and handled cases related to women murders, rape, forced marriage, child marriage, sexual harassment in a workplace, and child abuse.

As a paralegal at Bevan Brittan LLP, Gulsom supports the employment team with employment matters, drafting documents during tribunal proceedings of cases, and document management, as well as liaising with clients and other parties. Gulsom is passionate about pursuing justice and fairness for the people she represents.

Gulsom has a bachelor’s degree in criminal law from Balkh University of Afghanistan. There she gained a solid foundation of the legal system, human rights, and international law, as well as expertise in criminal legal systems of Afghanistan and procedure of criminal cases in the Court.

Gulsom has been working as a Prosecutor and investigator of violence against women an child abuses for over five years, at General Attorney of Afghanistan in the Northern part of Afghanistan, where she investigated and handled cases related to women murders, rape, forced marriage, child marriage, sexual harassment in a workplace, and child abuse.

Ambassador for Sports and Performance

Ayuna Berbidaeva

At 16, Ayuna suffered an inflammation of the spinal cord and lost sensation in half of her body. Since becoming a wheelchair user, Ayuna trained as a para thriathlete, and continues to develop herself in all possible directions - in 2021, Ayuna climbed Mount Munku-Sardyk, as part of a 12 day expedition in a modified wheelchair. In 2022, Ayuna worked as an assistant with Louise Katerega in Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, she joined Propel, the UK's first all-wheelchair contemporary dance company and is currently taking part in the Young Creatives programme by One Dance UK. In 2023, she added surfing to her resume, and is the spokesmodel for a new gyroscopic mobility scooter.

At 16, Ayuna suffered an inflammation of the spinal cord and lost sensation in half of her body. Since becoming a wheelchair user, Ayuna trained as a para thriathlete, and continues to develop herself in all possible directions – in 2021, Ayuna climbed Mount Munku-Sardyk, as part of a 12 day expedition in a modified wheelchair. In 2022, Ayuna worked as an assistant with Louise Katerega in Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, she joined Propel, the UK’s first all-wheelchair contemporary dance company and is currently taking part in the Young Creatives programme by One Dance UK. In 2023, she added surfing to her resume, and is the spokesmodel for a new gyroscopic mobility scooter.

Director for KarmaBank Arts Programs

Caroline Burraway

Multidisciplinary artist Caroline Burraway’s body of work confronts socio-political conflicts and cultural ruptures between and within communities, engaging the viewer in converation around these issues. Concerned with underlying social structures and the everyday lived experience of the displaced and disenfranchised, she explores the interplay between the banality of the everyday and the political conditions of their precarious existence.

Multidisciplinary artist Caroline Burraway’s body of work confronts socio-political conflicts and cultural ruptures between and within communities, engaging the viewer in converation around these issues. Concerned with underlying social structures and the everyday lived experience of the displaced and disenfranchised, she explores the interplay between the banality of the everyday and the political conditions of their precarious existence. Burraway has been responding to the refugee crisis since 2015, gathering research material from camps across Europe to produce mixed-media installations, large-scale drawings, sculptures, soundscapes and videos to provoke a humanistic response to the twin issues of displacement and dispossession in our compassion-fatigued world.

Advisor, Digital Strategy

Anastasia Lisitskaya

Anastasia is an unshakable optimist who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together.
She started her career in creative industries, working for international agencies like Ogilvy and McCann. She then gained solid experience as a consultant helping major brands build effective digital strategies across the world, facilitate innovation, implement new digital tools and advocate for agile digital cuclture. For over 15 years she's been focusing on building collaborative multicultural teams and communities to drive change and positive impact at scale.

Anastasia is an unshakable optimist who believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together.
She started her career in creative industries, working for international agencies like Ogilvy and McCann. She then gained solid experience as a consultant helping major brands build effective digital strategies across the world, facilitate innovation, implement new digital tools and advocate for agile digital cuclture. For over 15 years she’s been focusing on building collaborative multicultural teams and communities to drive change and positive impact at scale.

Web Design and Development

Markus Freise

As a creative entrepreneur, Markus has been involved with countless aspects of creativity, running a successful design agency, selling his illustrations, and publishing graphic novels.

As a creative entrepreneur, Markus has been involved with countless aspects of creativity, running a successful design agency, selling his illustrations, and publishing graphic novels.

Sustainable Change … One Human at a Time

A pivotal moment for KarmaBank was hearing something from an Iranian refugee doctor that made us realise the importance of making our work more sustainable.

Charity can be a lifesaver, especially in emergencies when someone comes to a foodbank literally without shoes, and we luckily have a pair of donated boots. Or a refugee arrives at our welcome space traumatised and in need of urgent counselling and we can either provide access to a volunteer therapist on the spot or refer them to another agency.

But then we spoke with the Iranian GP who had to flee her country, and spent over a year in camps, who told us that she truly appreciated the charity she had received, but the effects of a meal or donated clothes were short-lived.

At the end of every day the walls of my tiny room close in again, and I feel bad again.

It’s a cycle that so many of the people we support go through, and it can be tough to find a solution.

Many passionate community groups, charities and partners are dedicated to strategies that can lift people up and provide the basics of a good life: Hope and a sense of Purpose.

Hope drives people forward to wanting to achieve more for themselves and for others.

This is why we formed Karmabank – to be a tool for truly sustainable, meaningful change, driven by the people who are in the best place to do it: the people we support.

Thank you for kindness. Great today- the yoga was fantastic and left us feeling energised and spiritual. The company was brilliant and I spoke to people from all over the world over a wonderful meal.

Refugee

The app Calm its amazing. Last night my mood was very bad just I played the music and some sounds from Lebron James (professional NBA basketball player) positive sentences , and today morning I listened to relaxing music and story with minions 🤩🤌🏼
So yes was awesome. I just wanna tell you thank to gave me this app.

Refugee

My bicycle it’s amazing thank you very much for changing my life 😘❤️

Refugee

My best day was football day that Andrew Help us to join in a Football tournament.
Afghan National Youth Team player.

Refugee

So many incredible projects, personalities, and dynamic energy. We will find a way to collaborate-

Festival Director

How to share a message of hope in the face of such injustice and tragedy…

Faith Leader

The KarmaBank team have reminded me that humanity exists- it’s not all about dollar signs and politics.

Refugee

I really enjoyed yesterday’s event, thank you so much for arranging it. The drawing activity was joyful for everybody because everyone could draw their dream picture and it has a message.

Afghan Human Rights Activist for Women & Girls

I'd like to thank you for Saturday, it was really a brilliant event with such a nice atmosphere. So nice to see a very varied crowd all together from 2 to about 70 years old, all from different backgrounds. They produced beautiful drawings reflecting on personal experiences.

Curator, French Institute, London

Thank you for everything . I greatly appreciate . You are really nice and positive. Last time when I was in your group after long time I was feeling good . I hope I will be as member of your group for ever if you don’t mind . I think I can learn many thing as peace and happiness from you and these are everything I need.

Survivor of Domestic Violence

Our Key Milestones

In cooperation with our partners

20

Supported nationalities

2000

People supported with food & basics each month

100

Organisations we cooperate with each year

100

People engaging in our creative, wellbeing & sports acitivites each month

Our core strategy

Our core strategy is based on the old saying that it is better to give someone a fishing rod than just the fish, and we do that through treating each person we meet as unique individuals, with unique needs.

The Iranian GP helped us realise we need to think of those we help as unique individuals with unique issues to resolve, not a faceless group we can easily label.

Social Impact is All About Stories

All our projects are driven by the people that come to us, entirely “bottom-up”. We combine their lived experience with our creative skills,  humanitarian experience and wide network of volunteers, cooperating partner organisations, private companies, sponsors, and local government:

Afghan human rights lawyers including a winner of a humanitarian medal who escaped after hiding from the Taliban, came to us devastated that their life’s work to protect women and girls was now lost.  We connected the female lawyers with the Human Rights Law department at SOAS to continue their life’s work and teach SOAS students about their experiences.

A young Ukrainian girl who arrived traumatised from the ongoing Russian attack on her country found some relief by helping Ukrainian, Afghan & Iranian female artists to join our Nourish Makers’ Market Art stall project. We found her a tutor to help her train for the SATs so she can attend a top University to study psychology.

A young homeless autistic man who came to a food bank wanted to take photographs. So we gave him a camera and invited him to film the world from his perspective. We arranged for him to meet and learn from an artist, and encouraged him to share his photos in a gallery.

For residents who enjoy art, the French Institute connected with a local artist curated by KarmaBank to teach a free drawing class after a film screening.  The packed first session included 10 Afghan women supported by KarmaBank who had never had an art class.  The institute is continuing its project with quarterly film & art classes.

The Iranian GP has now become one of our key coordinators – finding her happiness through helping others find a route out of their traumas.

KarmaBank Co-Design Zone

”If the world was designed better we wouldn’t need support.” (Founder, Disability Action Network)

Creating music, cooperating on a new project, sharing the load:  Life is better when we design it together.

The best projects start from “bottom up”: listening to diverse lifestyles and different abilities, especially from those we aim to support. For an athlete in a wheelchair navigating a world without fully accessible transport or bathrooms, or a refugee mum with an autistic child who came across a rough sea in a small boat, or an elderly pensioner unable to afford life without access to a foodbank,, Necessity is the Mother of Invention: the people we support have “lived experience” of developing creative ways to survive, and often know best what they need. They just lack the resources & network to develop and implement sustainable solutions.

So how do we do it?

Design Thinking

    1. Listen. We don’t start with an idea, and try to make it fit. We start from scratch each time, crafting a fresh solution to a unique individual or requirement.
    2. Identify issues. What is the core issue out of everything presented? Is there an emergency or urgent need to triage first? What are the long term objectives? How can we ensure a person feels actualised and worthy?
    3. Ideate/brainstorm solutions that meet the core needs and objectives – even blue sky or way out of the box ideas can provide the creativity needed for crafting a practical plan to resolve seemingly impossible situations.
    4. Make a Prototype – the distillation of the process into a realistic and achievable plan of action. The simplest prototype is a sheet of A4 and a pen.
    5. Test the solution. Doesn’t work out as planned? Start again at step 1, rinse & repeat.

When we are asked for support, or to consult on a project or event, KarmaBank applies the 5-step Design Thinking Method:

Most projects are in a constant flow of adaptation, pivoting, improvement, learning by doing and trial by error. Sustainable change doesn’t happen at once, and it may take a few cycles before something sticks. Along with passion, we have lots of patience too 🙂

It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.

Mary Wollstonecraft

Our philosophy?

Participatory or Communal Justice: Bring everyone in on designing a better future for all – one that is truly “Just”, without leaving people out.

You, KarmaBank, our volunteers, local residents, local “stakeholders” (shop owners, nurses, gardeners, teachers, kids), councils, other organisations, private corporations, funders…we all have something to contribute to shaping constructive and positive spaces that sustain everyone equally.

Charity is a wonderful thing, but top down charity is a thing of the past – we help each other best together.

A just society is a society that if you knew everything about it, you’d be willing to enter it in a random place.

John Rawls

Our Services

KarmaBank is a consultant and developer of creative projects that produce positive and sustainable impact in various ways. Projects don’t always meet expectations, which wastes funding, time and resources. To tackle this:

• We facilitate cooperative networks between organisations to maximise local resources – funding, volunteers, donations, logistics, spaces, trainers – which help projects deliver what they hope to.
• We work in close collaboration with a diverse range of artists and cultural institutions. We conceptualise creative programmes that benefit marginalised and vulnerable voices and provide a platform for artworks on issues that matter.
• We design spaces and wellness programmes that respond to local needs, whether relief services for new refugees, or ongoing outreach and support services for local communities.

Above all, we believe in the beauty of Action taken with Care, Consideration, and Compassion.

Contact us for more information, or to schedule a consultancy here

Any action done with beauty and purity, and in complete harmony of body, mind and soul, is Art.”

(B.K.S. Iyengar)

Contact us for a copy of our Safeguarding Policy, Data Privacy Policy, and Terms & Conditions

Address

KarmaBank

Suite B, 18 Vicarage gate, London W8 4AA

Connect

+447955636101

community@karmabank.co