Bernard Dipo Toyambi (Director) is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was born in 1975 in DRC and obtained his LLB degree in Law from the Free University of Kinshasa (Universite Libre de Kinshasa) in 2001. Bernard worked as a human rights activist and lawyer in Kinshasa before the political crisis forced him to move to South Africa in 2005. Additionally, Bernard has completed numerous human rights trainings (Africa University: Public Policy and Leadership; International Human Rights clinic: Clinic Pedagogy on Human Rights; Lawyer for Human Rights: Identifying and assisting Stateless Persons in South Africa; ICC in Africa; Public Interest Law Gathering: Public Interest Litigation and Advocacy Within A Democratic Dispensation; Human Rights Defender and Regional Solidarity.) In 2009 he was admitted as an LLM Masters student in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the University of the Western Cape. He graduated with an LLM Degree in September 2011. Bernard joined PASSOP in June 2011 and works as a full-time paralegal officer. He believes there is an acute need for more integration and communication between the refugee communities from different countries that presently live in South Africa, because the struggle for the full realization of our rights will only be achieved if we speak with one unified voice.
Sylva Ntumba Batshi (Legal Advisor) obtained his LLB degree in Law from the University of Lubumbashi (UNILU) located in the DRC in 2003. In 2012, Sylva received an LLM degree in International Law from the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town with a specialization in International environment, human rights and trade law.
Before coming to PASSOP, Sylva worked as a Policy, Advocacy and Research Assistant at Sonke Gender Justice.; and was also a resource person to the conflict intervention and peacebuilding support (CIPS) project at the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR). Sylva has also worked and volunteered in many other organizations, including but not limited to: IPACC (Indigenous People of Africa Coordinating Committee) as a Personal Assistant; and at Natural Justice as Administration Officer. Sylva is also an environmental human rights activist/volunteer for Greenpeace Africa. Currently, Sylva is working as a Paralegal Officer here at PASSOP.
Tendai Bhiza (Office Administrator) is a Zimbabwean refugee who fled the political instability in Zimbabwe in 2004. She then proceeded to find a way to support her family in South Africa. She is a single mother of a 18-year-old son. Before joining PASSOP she worked as a self-employed African curios salesperson at Greenmarket square. She joined PASSOP as an activist after being introduced to the organisation at several protest actions at Parliament and the Home Affairs Office. Finally, after years of attending dozens of workshops and meeting with PASSOP, she joined the staff and has now established herself as the “mother of PASSOP staff”.
Victor Pilirani Chikalogwe serves as the LGBTI assistant at PASSOP, and is a Malawian native. Victor holds a diploma in Project Management from Staff Development Institute, a diploma in Business Administration from University of Malawi Polytechnic, a certificate in Information Processing from the University of Malawi Chancellor College, a certificate in Project Management from Staff Development Institute, and is currently studying BA Project Management with Exploit University. Previously, Victor served as a youth coordinator for the Student Christian Organization of Malawi, Assistant Coordinator for Transform Africa, Malawi Chapter, LGBTI Coordinator for CEDEP Malawi, and the Project Coordinator for Home of Hope Mchinij—where is co-signed for an adoption by the singer Madonna. Victor is also skilled and trained in gender based violence with Women’s Voice, sexual reproductive health and rights with United for Body Rights, and sexual reproductive health and rights for men who have sex with men with Fens Institute, USA. Victor has a passion for education and sharing his knowledge with other, and intends to continue being a LGBTI advocate through social work.
Willson Mushava Tarusarira (Disability Project Coordinator) is from the Republic of Zimbabwe. Willson earned a diploma in Education from the University of Zimbabwe in 2000. Upon compelton of his diploma, Willson worked as a primary and high school teacher in Zimbabwe. In 2004, Willson obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Zimbabwe. After, he served as the program manager for one of the leading venture capital organisation in Zimbabwe called Zimbabwe Progress Fund. He has over five years of development and organisational skills as he worked as the operations manager for Secura-tech in Zimbabwe. In 2014, Willson obtained his Postgraduate Diploma in Disability Studies, and then enrolled for a Master Degree in Disability Studies at the University of Cape Town, where he will graduate in June 2016. Willson joined the PASSOP Team as the Disability Project Coordinator in 2016. Willson believes that “When you have a disability, knowing that you are not defined by it is the sweetest feeling.”- Anne Strike
Volunteers and Interns are relied on heavily at PASSOP due to a lack of resources. At any given time there are between 5 and 20 volunteers and interns working for PASSOP. They come from a wide range of different backgrounds and bring a variety of different expertises. Some are immigrants from different parts of Africa who want to join the mission that PASSOP has in defending the rights of marginalized immigrants; many others are students from some of the top Universities in the United States and Europe. If you are interested in volunteering at PASSOP, please contact Kristin Brandt and Eleanor Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org