Who Are These People?

Jacqueline Hyde is a photographer who has lived in Paris, France for over 50 years. Jacqueline was the former first assistant to Man Ray. She has known Issa Nyaphaga for many years and she has advised him as he has pursued his personal vision. She encouraged him to speak before the French National Assembly, where he defended the Geneva Convention in collaboration with the U.N. High Commission on Refugees. Hyde is also known for her work with Botero, Zao Wou Ki (Nobel Prize in Literature) and Nicolas de Stael. Riopelle and Joan Mitchell are two iconic North American painters who have collaborated with Hyde for many years. Hyde and Issa have developed a very lasting and deep friendship over the years. Issa always says, "Hyde is my spiritual mother. " They collaborated on several art projects while Issa was living in Paris. The bond between painting and photography could never be as strong as the one between Issa Nyaphaga and Jacqueline Hyde. The first time Issa packed recycled items for indigenous Tikar and Pygmy people in the rainforest in Cameroon, Hyde took the trip with him to ship these much-needed supplies. When Issa decided to create HITIP, Jacqueline said to him "You have my blessing." Art is really not that far away from Social Justice. This community-based organization could never have a better godmother.

Issa Nyaphaga is an exiled artist, activist, and the founder of HITIP. As a way of remaining in contact with his native country, Mr. Nyaphaga founded HITIP. In 1996, Mr. Nyaphaga left Cameroon to seek asylum in France, where he engaged in innovative social work projects with a wide variety of at-risk groups, including child soldiers from Africa. Because of his devotion to refugee and immigrant issues, Mr. Nyaphaga was invited to speak before the French National Assembly on the 50th anniversary of the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees for the U.N. High Commission on Refugees in 2001. Mr. Nyaphaga also co-founded the organization JAFE (African Journalists in Exile), which defends and protects journalists in danger. Mr. Nyaphaga currently divides his time between France and the United States, where he shares his work and advice with students and young artists. Mr. Nyaphaga also has been working on the development of a philosophical concept called “Urban Way,” in which he paints his body and stages live performances that include live music. It is an act of protest against not being able to return home freely. Mr. Nyaphaga has collaborated with organizations, schools, and institutions around the globe and has more than 10 years of teaching experience. Since early 2008, Issa has been co-directing "Return to the Belly of the Beast", a documentary project with Nicoletta Fagiolo. Mr. Nyaphaga speaks seven languages and holds an MFA in French Literature.

Marcie Davis, M.S., Executive Director of SP, has more than 20 years of experience working with local, state, tribal, and federal nonprofit and governmental entities in program development, management, training, research, grant writing, and evaluation, specializing in disability advocacy and other human services programs. Ms. Davis has been a leader in developing programs that respond to individuals with disabilities programs including sexual assault and domestic violence. She is currently working with the National Center for Victims of Crime to develop and conduct the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) 2009 National Training Conference: Responding to Victims with Disabilities. She has created many innovative programs and tools including a series of DVDs and informational guides designed to assist Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) to conduct a forensic examination on individuals with mobility and developmental disabilities. Ms. Davis has been recognized by numerous entities for her achievements and contributions. She speaks nationally on a variety of victim service and disability related issues. She has been a paraplegic for over 35 years and has been partnered with a service dog for over sixteen years. Ms. Davis recently published the award-winning Working Like Dogs: The Service Dog Guidebook.

Oumarou Mebouack is a visual artist, photographer and videographer. He is the Treasurer of HITIP and he has been the most active Board Member since HITIP was created in 2002. Oumarou is the vital link between the Tikar and Pygmy region in Cameroon (where HITIP is based) and the rest of the world. Oumarou has collaborated on several publications, magazines and documentary films, most notably the latest film "Return to the Belly of the Beast," co-produced and directed by Nicoletta Fagiolo and Issa Nyaphaga. He is well-known for his artistic work, and his works have been shown in several countries around the world. In 2008, one of his videos was shown at Prospect 1, the premiere Biennale in New Orleans in the United States. The aim of this video project was to compare the trauma experienced by the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina with the daily life of the inhabitants of certain regions of Africa during the rainy season. Because of his deep knowledge of the traditional, rural world and the urban world, Ourmarou's valuable research has allowed HITIP to establish a solid base in the Tikar region of Cameroon. Oumarou Mebouack works and lives in Cameroon. He has been a volunteer since the creation of HITIP.

Jenny Sanborn has 15 years of experience working in sustainable community development in Latin America and the United States. She has worked and traveled extensively throughout Mexico and Central America. As the International Program Director for Coffee Kids, Ms. Sanborn implemented participant-driven projects, facilitated international exchanges, and developed collaborative working relationships with local women’s organizations. She also provides bilingual violence prevention and personal safety trainings to at-risk populations as an instructor for IMPACT Personal Safety. Ms. Sanborn has been engaged in public speaking, teaching, group facilitation, and professional trainings for more than ten years. She holds an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology.

Lou Kosak is a web developer and yoga instructor, and holds a BA in International Development. He has been involved in progressive food initiatives, working a McGill University soup kitchen, and has raised funds for Médecins Sans Frontières by bicycling across Canada. He is currently living in New York, where he works and consults in web technology, teaches yoga at several Manhattan studios, and occasionally volunteers with the Time's Up bicycle coop.

Anita Shontel Woodley is an award-winning journalist/producer for North Carolina Public Radio. In 2006, she moved from her hometown Oakland, California to Chapel Hill, NC. In 2008, she earned the Harry Chapin Radio Media Award for Hunger and Poverty. She holds a B.A. in Radio & Television Broadcasting from SFSU. Under her artistic name, Rie Shontel, she's an actor, mixed-media artist, and inspirational speaker. In 2009, she wrote, directed and performed the one-woman show, "Mama Juggs: Three Generations Healing Fractured Body Images." Anita is an active member of HITIP in North Carolina and she is committed to supporting the Tikar community's access to healthcare and education. Her family's maternal roots trace back to the Tikar people of Cameroon and she feels deeply compelled to connect with the souls of her ancestors from the "land of red soil." View the trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU_WQndEReM. Learn more about her art at http://rieshontel.blogspot.com/

Mr. Christian Messina holds a Masters in Public Law and Political Science. He is a native of Cameroon and is a world citizen in the true sense of the word. Previously, he was engaged in major work for the rights of the handicapped and street children. Mr. Messina has invaluable knowledge of conditions and challenges in the urban areas of Africa and he has implemented community-based projects several sub-regions of Central Africa. Mr. Messina has known Issa for almost ten years and his advice is always sought and helpful. Despite a busy family life and work schedule, Mr. Messina has managed to make his presence felt at HITIP and is quite involved in the daily operations.