Meet the team:

United with volunteers from around the world, Zaatar’s guiding purpose is to assist refugees who are searching for a safe haven – peace and respite from war.

We are an international and local team with various personal and professional backgrounds, speaking many languages and with a background in refugee-related work. Our co-founders are both Greek citizens.

With approximately twenty to thirty volunteers each week, contributing both remotely and on-the-ground, we work in conjunction with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), informal settlements, and an organisation operating a local warehouse of donated goods to deliver services in Athens and the Attica region.

Marina Liakis, Founder & Director

Marina is a French-Greek citizen and serves as Za'atar NGO's Director. After studying Law and Communications in Paris and New York City, Marina began a career in humanitarian work. During her professional career, she has worked at a variety of international organizations including the United Nations and The French Embassy. In 2016, after volunteering at the Port of Piraeus with refugees arriving in Athens, she decided to found Za'atar NGO. Marina now serves as the Director of Za'atar. She speaks Arabic, English, French, Greek, and Spanish.

Hasan Hmeydan, Co-Founder

Hasan was born in Edleb, Syria. He has spent most of his life in Athens, Greece, and now works in the HR department of a multinational company. After meeting Marina while volunteering to support refugees arriving at Athens’ port, Hasan assisted with the legal side of setting up Za'atar as an official NGO. He now handles finances for Za'atar and advises on strategic planning. He speaks Arabic, English, and Greek.

Léa Giorgi, Volunteer Recruitment Manager

Léa is from Paris, France. She studied HR and Communications in Paris and Montreal before dedicating herself to recruitment. She has more than 4 years of experience recruiting junior and senior positions across different industries on a global level. She has worked for top recruitment companies in Paris, London, and Barcelona. Léa now interviews volunteer candidates interested in contributing their time to Za'atar. She speaks French, Spanish, Italian and English.

Rinki Goswami, Communications Manager

Rinki is from the United States and is currently medical school student. She studied biomedical engineering and emerging infectious disease prior to medicine. After volunteering at Za'atar’s Orange House, She continues to assist with managing the Orange House on a remote basis. Rinki helps to organize the volunteer recruitment process, respond to general inquiries, and assist with special projects. She speaks English and Bengali and is learning French. 

Mathilde, Interviewer

Mathilde is a psychologist based in Paris, France. After studying at Institut Catholique de Paris, she decided to focus on psychology work in prisons. She has been
involved in Za'atar NGO since its inception providing support with a variety of tasks. She advises the team on how to handle particularly vulnerable cases and now focuses on assisting with interviewing volunteer applicants. She speaks French, English, and Spanish.

Tommaso Segantini, Special Projects

Tommaso, was born in Milan, Italy, and grew up in Brussels, Belgium. After completing a Bachelor in International Studies in The Hague, Holland, in 2017, he volunteered for a local NGO in the distressing context of Calais, France, for four months. In February 2018, he joined Za'atar’s team in Athens as a volunteer. Currently, he helps the organization on a remote basis with volunteer recruitment and other projects.  He is doing an online MA program in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies at the University of London whilst working as an intern at the UNHCR in Geneva, Switzerland. Tommaso speaks French, English, and Italian and is learning Arabic.

Aselia Ismailova, Educational Coordinator

Aselia is from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, studied International law in Russia and Kyrgyzstan. During her studies in Russia, she worked within a project "Risks of female labor migrants in Russia" to support migrants from Central Asia. She continued her studies with a Master's degree in Diplomacy and International Relations in Lithuania.
She moved to Greece in 2018 to volunteer in a refugee camp. In 2019 she joined the team of the Zaatar NGO where she teaches English and coordinates the educational system. She speaks English, Kyrgyz, Russian, Turkish, and learning Greek

Eleni Pantopoulou, Lawyer

Eleni Pantopoulou is a lawyer who attended the Aristotle University of Athens whilst spending a year in Belgium. She holds a Masters Degree in Public International Law and an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Lund University in Sweden. She has experience working protecting the legal rights of children in Ritsona Refugee Camp with UNICEF Greece as well as on asylum cases. She is a member of the Athens Bar Association and has published several articles on the issue of human rights and the law, particularly in the EU. She speaks Greek, English, French, Italian fluently as well as advanced Dutch, Swedish, Portuguese and Spanish.

Katerina Psachou, Psychologist

Katerina is a psychologist and a Psychology graduate with an undergraduate degree in "Psychoanalysis and Interdisciplinary Research" at the Université Paris-Diderot. She has worked in Paris and Athens in the field of individual psychotherapy and therapeutic groups for children and adolescents, as well as parent counseling. Her collaboration with Zaatar NGO’s team began in October 2019, where she works as the head of Psychosocial Services, which were launched during
October 2019 as well. As part of these services, she conducts individual psychotherapy and counseling for the beneficiaries. She also coordinates monthly group sessions with the female beneficiaries staying at the
Orange House’s Shelter, in order to foster community spirit and intercultural communication. She speaks Greek, English and French.

Elodie Doze, Women's Shelter Manager

Elodie is a 29 year old French citizen from Aix-en-Provence. After studying public law and obtaining her PhD in environmental law, she got involved in Mediterranean coastal zones preservation and worked several years for the French Coastal Conservatory and the United Nations Programme for Environment (UNEP MAP/PAP RAC). After twice volunteering at the Orange House in early 2018, she joined Za'atar's team full-time in fall 2018. She speaks French and English.

​Tessa Alevizopoulou, ​​Educational Coordinator

​Tessa is a German citizen but have been living in Athens for 20 years. She is a language teacher for German as a foreign language. She has been one of the first volunteers working at the Orange House and was teaching German to refugees who were aiming to go to Germany. Now she coordinates the teachers and their programs. She speaks German, Greek, English and French.

​Manuela Vlahaki Cepeda, ​Project Coordinator

​Manuela is Greek-Colombian, born in Bulgaria. With a background in Sociology-Anthropology, she continued her studies with a Master degree in International Relations & Humanitarian Action in Belgium. With professional experience in project coordination, administration, education and intercultural mediation, she loves volunteering and has collaborated with diverse organizations. She speaks Greek, Spanish, French, English and Bulgarian.

Join the Team:

Between teachers, management assistance, and generalists, our team is run almost entirely by volunteers. At any given time, we are working with 25 - 50 volunteers.

We need your help.

Za'atar relies on financial support from private donors.

Za'atar NGO is a registered non-profit under Greek law. In Greek, the organization is registered as "ΖΑΑΤΑΡ ΑΣΤΙΚΗ ΜΗ ΚΕΡΔΟΣΚΟΠΙΚΗ ΕΤΑΙΡΕΙΑ." Registration Number: 140646901000.