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International Working Group 2013

Irina Alexander (USA) -

Irina Alexander was part of SSDP from 2007-2012 as President of the University of Maryland’s SSDP chapter and as Chairwoman of SSDP’s National Board of Directors.  Irina has worked as Chief of Staff of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and volunteered  with Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS). She played a vital role in helping pass a University of Maryland Good Samaritan policy and a DC Good Samaritan law. Currently, Irina works as an Outreach Counselor for homeless and unstably housed youth in San Francisco with At The Crossroads.

Meheret Melles (France) -

Mimi has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and spent five years as International Project Manager at Advocates for Youth, focusing on adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Mimi has provided technical assistance and capacity building expertise in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia to empower young people to be powerful advocates within their own countries and at international forums. Mimi also volunteered at Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS).

Nicole Ferreira (Portugal) -

Nicole is a psychologist with Masters in Psychology Deviant Behaviour and Justice from Porto University. Since 2010 she has developed work within the harm reduction outreach teams, prevention with young people and advocacy at national and international levels. Currently she is working in APDES (Portuguese NGO that works with vulnerable communities in several settings).


Alexandrescu Florin-Ionut (Romania) -

Florin is an activist, promoter and Cooridinator for Harm Reduction services at Caracuda – Ferentari Drop-in Center, Carusel Association, providing services to vulnerable groups, especially among injecting drug users. He has had experience in this field for more than 3 years. Florin has also participated in different researches and advocacy meetings targeting drug users. This summer Florin will get his diploma in psychology.

Frans Judea Samosir (Indonesia) -

Frans Judea Samosir is as Coordinator and Case Manager for Harm Reduction in Caritas PSE in Medan, Indonesia. He leads 5 (4 young, 1 adult) Outreach Workers and 8 young volunteers including former drugs users, students, PLWHA, LGBT, Street Children). Frans and the Outreach group support drug users in getting access to health services. Frans also takes part in counselling, training, educating, managing, and advocating fo harm reduction services.

Renata Bayazitova (Kyrgyzstan) -

Renata has been a volunteer in the public fund "Asteria" since 2011. With the support of GITS in SF "Asteria" the project is aimed at young people and is called "from friend to friend." Renata saw that there were a lot of young drug users. And the idea was to create their own organization. “Asteria mobilized and decided to present and defend their rights.  Renata became project coordinator for PF “GANESHA”. 

Rana Aaraj (Lebanon) -

Rana is currently studying for a BS in clinical psychology. He has worked and volunteered in the field of sexual reproductive health ever since 2006. In 2011, Rana became a co-founder of SIBA, a Lebanese youth led NGO that aims to promote the rights of drug users to access different forms of treatment and services. SIBA is currently working on a national project to spread knowledge on the different kinds of drug related services in Lebanon for every drug user to have the choice to access what fits them most.


Yamina Sara Chekroun (New York) -

Yamina Sara Chekroun is a graduate of the University of Toronto with a degree in Political Science and Sociology with a focus on the study of the United States. She served as an outreach for over three years at a community based health care center working with at-risk youth through a peer led program called TRIP!. She has also worked as a service provider in Brooklyn, New York, providing Hepatitis C education through a harm reduction framework. She will be starting law school in the Fall and is committed to a career in public interest and social justice.

Santosh Gurung (Nepal) -

About four years ago, Santosh started as a volunteer in a well-known Nepalese NGO named Gateway Foundation Nepal, which was started by and for drug users. Being a former Injecting Drug User he has experienced the consequences of drug use and the drug laws of his country, which lead to him volunteering. Santosh has been actively involved in various advocacy events for the rights of people who use drugs in Nepal on a local and national level. Currently, he is a Night Officer in the Drug Treatment Center of GWF, Nepal that focuses on drug addiction treatments and the rehabilitation of drug users. 

Brun Gonzalez (Mexico) -

Jones Churchill  (Kenya) -

Sheriff Aliyu (Nigeria) -

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