Bridget Koha: Co-founder & Executive Director
Bridget founded the WaWa Project out of a desire to live out Proverbs 31: 8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”Her heart for Ghana began in 2006, when she visited the beautiful and hospitable country. She worked as a chiropractic assistant (C.A.) at a busy practice in Newton, MA from 2009 until 2012. She managed the Boston Benevolent Chiropractic Clinic, a clinic bringing free chiropractic care to those in need at three sites in Boston. Prior to working as a C.A., she traveled abroad with her husband in Germany and Ghana. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Boston University. At the moment, Bridget and her husband can be found chasing their one-year-old daughter, Emily – a daily blessing in their lives.
Marisa Galeota: Co-founder & Director of Marketing
Born in Boston to her Ghanaian mother, Marisa has been traveling between Accra, Ghana and the U.S. her whole life. Currently she is a public relations specialist working as a Senior Account Supervisor at Rpr Marketing Communications. She worked previously as an Account Supervisor at MSL New York from 2006-2012. Prior to joining MSL New York, Marisa interned in the Office of Child Advocacy at Children’s Hospital Boston. She holds a B.A. in psychology with a minor concentration in public relations from Boston University. When not working on the WaWa Project, in her free time, Marisa enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading magazines, and bargain shopping.
Oby lives in Boston and has over ten years experience in the field of education. She is currently the Senior Manager, Online Learning at Harvard Catalyst | The Clinical and Translational Science Center, within the Harvard Medical School, and received her MBA from the Simmons School of Management. Previously, Oby worked at the Perkins School for the Blind & Lindamood Bell Learning Institute. She studied at Boston College, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology. Originally from Georgia, Oby moved to Boston, for college and stayed, braving each winter like a seasoned pro.
Nii Ayite Coleman
Nii Ayite Coleman is a public health physician specializing in health systems and policy. He is currently the Coordinator of Health Policy and Leadership Program at the Faculty of Public Health of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has over 25 years of experience working as a physician, public health manager, policy maker, and public health regulator in Ghana. He worked as a physician at Agogo Hospital in 1985 and later as a pediatric resident at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi. He was a District Medical Officer of Health from 1988 to 1990 and served as Regional Director of Health Services from 1992 to 1995. He was Director of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of Ghana Ministry of Health from 1998 to 2001. From 2002 to 2004 he was Metropolitan Medical Officer of Health for the Accra metropolitan area. He served as a consultant and State Team Leader with the Partnerships for Transforming Health Project in Nigeria, a DFID-funded project, during 2005 and 2006.
Nii is the founder and Chief Volunteer of Volunteers Workshop, a non-profit organization providing technical assistance to community-based organizations. He studied medicine at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and public health at Harvard University School of Public Health. He was a Takemi Fellow in International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health from 1996 – 1997. He is married to Nana Adwoa and they have three daughters, Naa Okaile, Mami Adorkor, and Naa Shika.
Erica Lawlor is the Education Senior Program Manager with Harvard Catalyst | Harvard Clinical & Translational Science Center. Her current work focuses on developing new curricula, identifying underrepresented members of Harvard Catalyst’s target population, and collaborating with other schools/institutions within Harvard as well as groups external to the Harvard Catalyst community. Erica has been with Harvard Catalyst for three years. She has worked with organizations such as Heifer International to craft educational message and build appropriate programming. She received her MPS (Masters in Public Service) from the Clinton School of Public Service, University of Arkansas, during which time she worked at the Loreto Day School in Kolkata, India creating a model of service learning based on the school’s innovative practices.
Kathryn Parry is the Human Resource Operations Manager at Graphic Communications Group (GCGL), the leading and largest newspaper publishing and printing company in Ghana. She joined GCGL in 1993. As the HR Operations Manager, Kathryn’s job involves dealing with issues on equal opportunities, disciplinary procedures and employee welfare issues in addition to other core HR functions. She is involved with HIV/AIDS counseling as a volunteer for HOPE Worldwide Ghana, which delivers community-based services to the poor and needy. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Cape-Coast, Ghana and an Executive MBA from the Paris Graduate School of Management, Paris. She is married to Jimmy and has two children, Kevin and Daphne.
Rick is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who practices throughout eastern Massachusetts. He studied Health and Counseling Psychology at Emmanuel College and obtained his graduate training at Boston College’s School of Nursing, where he became a Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. He uses a holistic approach to mental health which incorporates an understanding of the biological, environmental, psychological, and social influences on health to address a broad spectrum of challenges. Rick is working with the WaWa Project to address the obstacles beyond physical access that prevent individuals with disabilities from thriving in the existing schools throughout Ghana.
Samuel Shaw is a Bank Examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and has worked in the financial supervision and banking industry since 2002. Sam has been with the FDIC since 2008. He also has significant experience with service projects, serving with HOPE worldwide. For six years he served as a team leader for a summer service program in Romania that established a group home for 15 Romanian orphans. Sam also was a group leader for a service project in Durban, South Africa. This program hosted over 30 students and focused on AIDS/HIV education and outreach in a settlement with over 25,000 impoverished individuals. He has served on other projects in the Philippines; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Madrid, Spain.
Sam continues to volunteer for local service projects through HOPE worldwide. He and his wife, Leigh Ann, were married in 2005 and reside in Burlington, MA. They have two daughters, Emery and Ayla.
Karen Walker is a retired educator with 39 years of experience in public and private education. She worked as a counselor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis and as a Project Coordinator at Northeastern University. After her years as a public school counselor, Karen began her 16-year career as a school principal. In addition, Karen has taught graduate level courses at Northeastern and Lesley Universities.
Currently, Karen continues to work in education as a volunteer mentor with the Five Oaks Teacher Mentors, a program run by Wheelock College. She currently mentors both administrators and teachers in two Boston-based schools. Karen also volunteers with Project Have Hope, a non-profit that seeks to empower women in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda.
Having worked with both typically developing students and those with disabilities, Karen believes that students generally learn best in an environment that supports diversity. She believes that effective education occurs in a climate of support for individual effort, responsible citizenship and acceptance of differences. In a school where all students are valued and respected and where the curriculum is differentiated to reach diverse learners, children learn to value themselves and to respect others.
Karen and her husband Richard have one daughter, Anna, who is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique.
The WaWa Project is dependent on the generosity of individuals who believe that we can make a difference in Ghana. Your financial contributions will help us build the WaWa Secondary School campus, provide tuition for the students, create jobs for local teachers and ultimately, empower a generation of disadvantaged children.