Southern Voices is led by a Management Committee made up of people with a background and interest in education and the Global South; addressing issues of justice and equity; and working towards positive change.


Management Committee:

Ahmed ElHassan
Ahmed was born and educated in Sudan. He graduated from the College of Fine and Applied Arts, Khartoum, Sudan in 1972. He then worked for the Ministry of Education as an art teacher and also as an illustrator for children’s magazines. Ahmed became Head of the Educational Media department for the Council for Adult Education and Literacy.

In 1985 Ahmed came to England for postgraduate studies. He gained an Advanced Diploma in Adult Education and a Masters in Media of Education at the University of Manchester.

Ahmed is a founder member of Southern Voices and passionate about creating bridges between North and South globally. Ahmed is also involved in work with museums, schools, community groups and international organisations (including Oxfam, VSO and Save the Children) as an advisor, trainer and workshop facilitator.

Throughout this time, Ahmed has held a number of exhibitions in Britain and abroad. He has illustrated several books including for secondary schools. He is currently a freelance artist and development educator. He works from his studio in Manchester.

David Cooke
After being an undergraduate at Salford University, David trained as a secondary school teacher at the University of Zambia in Lusaka. He taught for three years at Kalabo Secondary School where he met his wife Merryn. They later taught for five years at Madiba School, Mahalapye, in Botswana.

David was an Advisory Teacher for Manchester Local Education Authority with responsibility for Peace Education and Citizenship Education initiatives. David co-ordinated the Development Education Project in Manchester as they developed global education work. Now retired, David is a school governor, teaches (very part-time) at the College for International Citizenship, and enjoys cats, cricket and communal living.

David has been with Southern Voices as a volunteer almost from the beginning in 1991.

Kirit Patel
Kirit co-ordinated the Out of the Shadows Project from October 2015 until end of February 2018.   Following the end of the project he joined the Management Committee.

Kirit is a manager and trainer with over 20 years’ experience working in the voluntary and community sector. For over ten years, Kirit managed Oxfam’s Race Equality Programme in England focusing on ethnic minority women and community cohesion. Before joining Oxfam, Kirit worked for Black Health Agency (now BHA), and at the Kath Locke Centre (part of Big Life Group).

Kirit is also trustee for Breakthrough UK; Chair of Can-Survive UK, a cancer support charity for ethnic minorities in Greater Manchester; and Chair of Commonword, a writers’ development organisation.

Kirit completed an MA in Creative Education from the University of Salford in 2018.

Mercy Lozi Chiwama Chikoti

Mercy was born in Zambia, and came to the UK in early 1980s to join family and has a Masters degree in Primary Health Care from the University of Manchester.  Mercy qualified as a registered general nurse and has additional qualifications in nursing education (tutor, community health, and education development).

Mercy joined the founder members of Southern Voices as she was passionate about equality, local and global politics and women’s rights, issues that she has fought for and continues to fight for within and outside of Southern Voices.

As part of the Management Group in the early 1990s, Mercy served as Chair and led the organisation with fellow members through a range of activities, workshops and creating a much needed space for international students.  Mercy was also employed as a worker for Southern Voices leading a number of school and museum projects for number of years.

Worked as Matron in a private nursing home, case worker for African-Caribbean Mental Health Services and worked for the Faculty of Education at Manchester University, and for the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Mercy other roles include being the Culture Consultant for Just Psychology; Culture Ambassador at One Manchester Housing Association; and volunteers for the Time Bank.

Rosalind Sandhu-Cartlich

Rosalind (also known as Simmi by the project team) is an Independent Art Curator, who graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2014 with a MA in Contemporary Curating and previously a BA in Visual Theories in Italian Renaissance.

Rosalind first became involved with Southern Voices to curate From the Shadows of War and Empire exhibition at the People’s History Museum in 2015.  Her interest to get involved stems from her Indian heritage and links to family members fighting in both World Wars for the British under colonial rule.

Rosalind joined the Management Committee of Southern Voices in February 2017; and sees Southern Voices as “a vital voluntary organisation is which perspectives that are often overlooked are discussed and explored with detail and authenticity.”

Susan Chieni Cookson

Susan joined Southern Voices in the year 2000 while pursuing her PhD in gender and education at the University of Manchester.  Her research project was on factors affecting educational and career aspirations among secondary school girls in Kenya.

Susan has been involved with several Southern Voices projects with schools, museums and community groups and is currently a volunteer member of the management committee.  Susan’s main role in the current project was researching East Africa and India.

Prior to coming to the UK from Kenya, Susan was a high school teacher and left to pursue an MPhil degree in Sociology of Education, and was subsequently employed as a lecturer from 1993 – 1999.

In the UK, Susan has worked in education (teaching), quality assurance (Audit Commission) and social housing and the new energy sector of British Gas. She has been a volunteer with several organisations including Arawak Walton Housing Association and Bondo Fund in Manchester, and Cancer Help in Preston.

Outside of work, Susan likes to spend time with family, gardening, and reading novels.