is a voluntary arts and health education community interest company, founded in 2016 based in London, UK. This grassroots organization was created to promote intercultural understanding of integrated health practices. and the promotion of psycho social and health empowerment through the creative and therapeutic arts (including music-movement-meditation). This to be achieved through courses, workshops, publications and tours. The loose collective is currently 10 + people
Its members include people from established sister organisation: Women's Health Project ("WHP" 2009 to present day) In 2015 WHP was based at and supported by the (ex)Eaves project:a specialized umbrella organization addressing violence in its many forms against women and girls in the UK. WHP ran a successful health and support programme for women who had been detained in prison.
The core TNH staff involved in the Step Across The Border project are:
Raggi Kotek is of Indian origin, raised in London and has worked for 14 years as a refugee and human rights barrister, specialising in violence against women cases, specialising in cases of human trafficking as well as developing and delivering training relating to the law, training both voluntary and statutory sectors lawyers. From 2003 – to 2014 she worked at Pump Court as a Tenant in the Immigration Team. In 2006 she set up and co-ordinated the Anti Trafficking Legal Project (ATLeP) a project that supported trafficked persons with legal issues. Raggi undertook 2 fact finding missions to Nigeria and Albania respectively, to investigate trafficking issues for returning victims. She has trained extensively on gender related law and mental health for numerous organizations including ILPA, OSCE, Rights of Women, Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law, Rights of Women, Refugee Council, Southall Black Sisters, Poppy Project at Eaves and Women's Aid. She also volunteered at the Newham Asian Women's Project (NAWP) from 1997-2002.
She is currently a board member and treasure of IMKAAN - a violence against women project. Raggi is also a Movement Medicine therapeutic practitioner and is uniquely suited to coordinate the TNH teaching team through her deep knowledge of immigration law, diversity training in the work place, and what is needed to support migrant and refugee women. Raggi has first experience hand of being discriminated against due to colour/ethnicity and sexuality and uses this experience to help others. Raggi trained from 2010 in a formal Movement Medicine psychotherapeutic modality and is now a teacher, running classes since 2016 called Bindi Beats.
Caro Ophis Smart Health practitioner, Educator, Musician and Doula. Formerly a DJ and creative on the London DIY underground scene (as Sexyrubbersoul), with a recent BA hons in cultural musicology from SOAS, Caro has a 35 year history of teaching, learning, playing and performing music and esoteric sound in many different locations and manifestations. This has included co-hosting a radio show on Freedom FM (the first LGBTQIA radio show), releasing music on Universal and Worm Interface and running various workshops in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Hungary.
These have included for example Umeå Open festival; Women Speak Out; Leeds University Feminist Conference; The Rose Garden at Inspiral Café London; Lambeth Women’s Project; MS Stubnitz; Glastonbury Festival - performing at Block 9 and teaching in the Green Futures; Radical Herb Gathering; Fusion Festival; Glastonbury Goddess Temple; Queer Spirit; and Ozora Festival in Hungary.She also conceived and taught a six-month radical music programme for 140 two to four year olds at the Thomas Coram Children’s Centre in London in 2015, been published in Indieshaman magazine, and this year has been teaching a workshop series about decolonising music named “Interval Oracle” in North London.
A passionate advocate for the therapeutic use of sound as well as having a focus that is directed towards health and well-being for women and children, Caro was one of the Co-founders and guardians of the Women’s Autonomous Nuisance café (WANC), a community resource and place of edutainment and conscious raising—for hundreds of women over the 12 years that it happened. In 2015 she joined the Women’s Health Project. Caro has also been a Reiki master since 1998 and is trained to a high standard in many other healing modalities, as well as her own lengthy apprenticeship as a healer.
Competent in sound recording for field work and using sound editing programmes Abledon, Logic and Hindenberg, she records cultural happenings when requested (and edits and converts into mp3s). She also produces meditations and the occasional podcast that are available online, one of which was tailor-made for the Timeless installation at the Fertility Show at London Olympia last year, a collaboration between Cambridge University and the Wellcome Trust.
In April 2016 she spent some time volunteering at the incredible project that is the Refugee Calais Kitchen (RCK), including a day on the women’s bus onsite and was profoundly affected by the heart breaking situations that people find themselves in. This catalysed an urgency to find a way to reach out and see what people need and how she and others could help. Thus TNH was set up as a formal community interest company with the idea to help people re-find their inner compass through the healing arts in order to navigate difficult situations including health diagnoses.
Rasheeqa Ahmad is a community herbalist and educator based in London and connected with TNH through her involvement in the Women's Health Project (2015-16) which supported women in London affected by the criminal justice system and their families, friends & allies, through a programme of therapeutic activities aimed at empowering participants with health knowledge and tools for change. Rasheeqa has an earlier background in arts festival coordination & marketing in Nottingham (Broadway Media Centre) then went on to study Herbal Medicine in Glasgow and London and has been practicing for the last 5 years as a community herbalist connected in her locality and city with urban food-growing and social justice projects.
She is currently initiating Community Herbal Hands, a network of medicine-makers, herb-growers and plant medicine users to develop a model for a co-created health apothecary that connects mutual care, environmental stewarding and skill-building. Rasheeqa is part of the Radical Herbal Gathering collective, an annual event exploring the role of herbal medicine in health inequality & social justice struggles, environmental destruction and practical skillsharing.
She is a passionate believer in the power of plant medicine to make change in dominant destructive systems from a grassroots level and is committed to working in collaboration with changemakers in her communities and beyond to share open-source herbalism with those seeking and using it. She currently practices in north-east London and is connected with a wide range of community garden projects, doing regular courses and workshops open to diverse sectors of the community, and with Lisa Fannen offers the In Our Hands project in south London, a programme of health-based participatory learning workshops exploring community knowledges and medicine drawn from different healing traditions of London diasporas. She has also worked with the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers making a herbal medicine programme for clients in the asylum process and sharing knowledge and skills around medicine making. She has recently been working with arts projects including The Clearing and at the Showroom Gallery in London, making links between herbalism and cultural practices, and is interested in exploring these intersections.
Dr. Lucy Van de Wiel currently works at the University of Cambridge in the Reproductive Sociology Research Group, where she conducts research on the reproductive technologies of egg freezing and embryo selection. She also leads the research group's public engagement programme by developing exhibitions, interactive installations and video games. She has a PhD from the University of Amsterdam and MAs from the University of London, London Film School and University of Amsterdam.
Lucy has also trained in camera work, film editing and curating. Previous projects include curating “Sisterhood is Powerful,” a multi-disciplinary film exhibition on gender and medical history at the Women's Autonomous Nuisance Cafe in London, and editing the short film “Ways of Listening,” which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival.
She has worked for IAU (International Association of Universities), an NGO at UNESCO, which promotes collaboration between higher education institutions in 120 countries. She has also held various posts in Academic Affairs at the University of Amsterdam and the Free University of Amsterdam.