Team SafeDrop

John Lawler
Founder and Trustee

John spent his gap year teaching in Ghana, living in a remote village in the Volta Region where he worked to build and improve education in the community. Due to his extensive work in developing this community, the village made John a Chief of Development and renamed him Chief Torgbui Mottey I, which means Pioneering Pathfinder of the Forest. On returning from his gap year in 1998, John set up the MAD Foundation. John has a BEng in Environmental and Ecological Engineering from Newcastle University and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Toby Illingworth
Head of Operations

Toby’s development work has focused on Bosnia & Herzegovina where he founded and runs a think tank focused on political, economic, social and cultural policies for BiH. His background is in policy and government relations having been Executive Director of a financial services think tank in London and Singapore and previously running a trade consultancy focused on emerging and frontier markets. Toby joined the Operation SafeDrop team in April 2022.

Kari Anderson
Volunteer Coordinator

Kari has a degree in Russian Language from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a practising attorney in Washington, D.C. She began her development service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan from 2006-2008 and spent the following two years working for the study abroad language immersion program at Middlebury College. She worked on the ground with Operation SafeDrop since its inception in March 2022.

Vanessa Armijo
Logistics and Supply Chain Support

Vanessa’s international development work spans across the globe including Ukraine, Turkmenistan, London and Zambia. Her focus is predominantly on operational and logistics and specializes in rapid program development and implantation. Her experiences abroad in challenging and ambiguous conditions have built empathy, resourcefulness, and resilience that are reflected in a strong work ethic.

Natalia Borys
Office Manager & Director

Natalia has a degree in International Relations from Lviv National University. She has spent the last decade specialising in international insurance based between Lviv and Kyiv. As a Lviv native, she supports all logistical issues for the MAD Foundation, is the Director of our Ukrainian Foundation and provides translation services. Natalia speaks fluent Ukrainian, Polish, Russian and English.

Jonathan Andersen
Warehouse Manager

Jonathan has a bachelor’s degree in general economics from Aalborg university. Jonathan was writing his master’s thesis in business control and financial control when the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, he put it on hold and became a volunteer, Jonathan moved to Przemyśl in Poland 1st of March where he worked on the International Desk assisting TDP’s reach Denmark before moving to Lviv in June 2022 to continue his work. Jonathan joined OperationSafedrop in September 2022.

Maksim Yashchenko

Maksim studied at Taras Shevchenko Chernihiv National Pedagogical University. He has a diploma in ecology. After graduation, he worked for a year in the Mezin National Nature Park in the field of environmental education. Maksim lived in Chernihiv until the start of the war. After getting his family to safety, he has been volunteering as a driver delivering aid and extracting families in Chernihiv and across Ukraine.

Roman Sylenko

Roman was born and raisedin Chernihiv, Ukraine. He studied at the Forestry College and became a forestry technician.  He also worked in the construction industry, building complex facilities in Ukraine and abroad.  After the outbreak of the war, he sent his wife and young son abroad and became a volunteer delivering aid and extracting families in Chernihiv and across Ukraine. 

Karl Lowther

Nicholas Duckworth
Driver & Medic

Nick is a 28 year old business owner and paramedic. He grew up in Tuolumne County, California, where he enjoyed wrestling and hanging out with friends. He then spent 10 years travelling the United States working in the medical/healthcare field before starting his own business after a back injury. Nick started working in Ukraine as a medic in Kharkiv and joined the SafeDrop team in May of 2022.

James Hewitt

James served for 17 years in the British Army, including as a Challenger Tank Squadron Commander in the Gulf War. Retiring from the Army as a Major. James is also a writer, traveller and keen amateur sportsman. James joined the SafeDrop team in August 2022.

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