MEET THE TEAM
MEET THE MANAGERS & THERAPISTS
Dr. Ingrid Ahlert
Ingrid is a Counselling Psychologist and founder of The Learning Initiative. She has a special interest in neurodevelopment, learning barriers, and family resilience. She loves working with children and appreciates their innocence, inquisitiveness, strength and determination. Through the project she hopes to inspire, empower and equip children, their parents and teachers to become their personal best. She is proud of the passionate team committed to making this dream a reality.
In her spare time, Ingrid enjoys spending time with family and friends, being in nature, reading and cooking.
Director & Project Manager | Dr. Ingrid Ahlert
BA (Hon)(US); MA (Couns.Psy)(UPE); DPhil (Psy)(US)
Callan van Veen
Callan is a qualified Occupational Therapist who graduated in 2014 and has been with The Learning Initiative since July 2016. She has a keen interest in independence, development and growth in all stages of life. She loves working with children and believes that every child has the right to early childhood development, which forms the building block and foundation to learning and growth. She has confidence in the aim of the project and trusts that the youth will benefit due to its transdisciplinary approach to mould and inspire these children.
In her spare time Callan enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking and spending time in nature and long walks on the beach.
Operations Manager | Callan van Veen
Jana is a qualified Occupational Therapist who graduated in 2015 and has been with The Learning Initiative since April 2017. She is passionate about empowering and equipping individuals to impact their communities and loves to see them grow to their full potential. Jana believes that children possess incredible and unique little minds and have a hunger for learning. She considers the project to provide the children with the opportunity to gain knowledge and to grow, shaping them, facilitating development and empowering each child. She believes that not only does the project reach the individual child but also empowers their teachers, families and communities.
In her spare time, Jana enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing board games, being crafty and playing volleyball.
Programme Implementer Supervisor (OT) | Jana Stobwasser
Tamlyn qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2014 and has been with The Learning Initiative since April 2017. She has a passion for children and working with those with special needs and admires the philosophy of working closely with parents and other professionals. She thoroughly enjoys working with children as they are malleable and believes that the project focuses to develop a firm foundation for all the necessary skills needed to succeed in life. Tamlyn holds a special place in her heart for the project, as she believes that it is every parents dream for the next generation to do better and achieve more than what they could. She places emphasis on education as an important action and believes that we can only improve our country through education and hard work.
In her spare time, Tamlyn will always be found in the kitchen, cooking up a storm or spending time with her friends and family.
Speech and Language Therapist | Tamlyn Laubscher
Zubair is a qualified Occupational Therapist who has been practising since 2015 and has been with The Learning Initiative since 2018. He enjoys working with children, finding the interaction with them fun. He loves being part of the process that assists children to develop as they should. This he believes, ensures that the children are better prepared with the skills they need for their future.
In his spare time, Zubair enjoys rugby, gym and spending time with his family.
Occupational therapist | Zubair Brown
Amy qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2015 and has been with The Learning Initiative since 2018. She is passionate about early childhood development, having experienced first-hand how fundamental the early years of education are. She believes it is vital to work with children in underprivileged communities and to educate their teachers and parents. By empowering others our initiatives are sustainable.
In her spare time, Amy enjoys trail running and hiking. She also loves to read and to listen to podcasts about current events, investigative cases, health and wellness.
Occupational therapist | Amy Bartlett
Fierdous is an Occupational Therapist who graduated in 2016 and joined The Learning Initiative in 2018. She has a special interest in paediatric mental health and well-being and community development. She loves the innocence and imagination of children and gaining insight into their little world. She believes our programme is special in that it targets children as well as their parents and teachers.
In her spare time, Fierdous enjoys photography, cooking and baking, and taking walks on the beach or in a beautiful garden.
Occupational therapist | Fierdous Jappie-Samuels
Chantal qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2017 and joined The Learning Initiative in 2019. She enjoys working with children because they are eager to learn about the world around them, they are innocent and pure. She appreciates that our programme recognises the need for the different stakeholders to work together. The children are the main focus, but parents and teachers are also empowered. She believes the programme is very adaptable to the specific needs of a child and allow the children from lower socio-economic background to have fair opportunities when going to school.
In her spare time, Chantal enjoys playing the flute, reading, spending time with family and playing board games with friends.
Occupational therapist | Chantal Wilmot
Liam qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2019 and joined The Learning Initiative in 2021. His passion is making a difference in the lives of others, in any way that he can. He enjoys working with children as he was able to see the difference that therapy can make in a child`s life. Liam also believes that working with children can establish a firm foundation for which to build on as they grow older. What Liam likes most about the Block 4 Growth programme is that it encourages parents to be involved, which he believes can greatly assist in their child`s development and extends therapy into the home environment.
In his spare time, Liam enjoys running, spending time in the gym, spending time with family and friends and playing board games.
Occupational therapist | Liam Arendse
Bianca is a qualified Occupational Therapist who graduated in 2019. She joined The Learning Initiative team in 2021.
She is passionate about community empowerment and believes that empowering its children is a phenomenal place to start, as shaping children, shapes the future.
She is passionate about the sustainability of the programme, as it aims to not only equip teachers and family-units, but also community workers who can continue this work long after the therapist’s time in the communities has ended. She enjoys the creativity and child-like wonder she gets to share in and learn from when working with children.
In her spare time Bianca enjoys long coffee dates, all-things-outdoors and active, competitive board games and crafty projects.
Occupational therapist | Bianca Tredoux
Demi is a qualified Occupational Therapist who graduated in 2018. She joined The Learning Initiative team in 2021.
She is passionate about advocating for equality. She also loves dogs!
Demi enjoys working in communities as she feels that often many people rarely know what an Occupational Therapist does – thus, they don’t see the need for intervention. However, while implementing the Blocks 4 Growth Programme, it empowers parents with knowledge to stimulate their child effectively and better prepare them for schooling and most aspects of life.
In her spare time Demi enjoys spending a lot of time with family and friends; dancing; playing board-games and volunteering at the animal welfare.
Occupational therapist | Demi Alexander
Celeste is a qualified Speech-Language and Hearing Therapist who graduated in 2019. She joined The Learning Initiative team in 2021.
She developed a passion for children in pre-school as well as neonates. She loves working with children as she believes that they are inquisitive little humans and encourage you to experience the world through their eyes. She also believes that children motivate you to be both innovative and creative. Celeste has faith that the project can change the course of a child’s development and is excited to be part of a programme that provides children with an opportunity for school readiness, setting them up for future success.
In her spare time, Celeste enjoys baking, reading and spending time with people that she loves.
Speech-Language and Hearing Therapist | Celeste Coetzer
Hazeli van Eeden
Hazeli qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2019 and joined The Learning Initiative in 2021. She enjoys working with children because they are curious about the world around them. She loves seeing a child’s face brighten up when they are playing and how a simple toy can make them feel filled with joy. She has a special interest in working with young children on a community level and enjoys learning more about different communities and being able to make a difference in not only the children’s lives but their family’s lives too.
The Blocks 4 Growth project is an initiative that she can resonate with because she feels that she can see the big changes it brings to the many children that she works with. She loves the ideas that project identifies children that need extra input at an early age so that they can thrive later on.
In her spare time, Hazeli enjoys spending time in nature, going to the beach or hiking towards the nearest waterfall. She enjoys spending quality time with her family, and having coffee dates with friends.
Occupational Therapist | Hazeli van Eeden
Lisa qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2008 and has also completed a masters degree in Early Childhood Intervention. She has previously worked for The Learning Initiative and now returned after 3 years as a classroom teacher.
She has a passion for early intervention and prevention of future difficulties and has a firm believe that large scale quality early learning experiences can shape the future of South Africa. She considers children precious little people with a vast amount of potential waiting to be fulfilled. The transdisciplinary approach of the project particularly appeals to her, as well as the commitment to making quality services available in previously disadvantaged areas. She also has a new appreciation of the demands placed on teachers and desires to support them in facilitating quality learning opportunities.
Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, outdoor adventures (including wildland firefighting)
and designing educational games in her free time.
Occupational Therapist and Masters in Early Childhood Development | Lisa McGowan
Pamella has been with The Learning Initiative since April 2017. She developed a passion for children’s ministry while studying and loves working with them. She believes that children are just like sponges as they retain masses of information in a short period of time. Pamella has faith in the project as it brings dignity, value and worth to the children. She has a firm belief that when you guide and educate children, you shape them for the rest of their life. The essence of loving a child is taking the time to teach them.
In her spare time, Pamella enjoys playing with her two little “bambinos”, spending time with family and friends, being involved in church and talking.
Programme Implementor | Pam Twala
Stacey has been with The Learning Initiative since April 2017. She has a passion for Early Childhood Development and considers this as her course to make a difference. Stacey believes that the youth of today are our future leaders and by providing these children with a quality learning program, in a kind and loving environment, we are pruning strong knowledgeable leaders. She believes that TLI has a large heart providing many children with the opportunity to be a part of the program to help promote healthy and holistic development.
Stacey enjoys spending time with her family, “braaing” on weekends and taking time to enjoy and relax in a park.
Programme Implementor | Stacey James
MEET THE FACILITATORS
Back row left – right: Collinah, Fundiswa, Cathy, Yumnah
Front row left – right: Confidence, Genevieve, Sophie, Wendy, Suzelle