Giving a voice to children and young people
Meet the CHI Team!

CHI is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and is headed by Sheila Donovan. With a small and dedicated team of 13 part- and full-time staff members and numerous invaluable volunteers, the Secretariat works to support, promote and expand CHI's member child helplines worldwide.

The CHI Secretariat is divided into three departments: Programmes, Policy and Research, and Operations. Programmes is our largest department and its staff members work directly with our member child helplines, embracing CHI's bottom-up approach. 
Each department is led by a department head who, along with our Executive Director, form the management team. Together, everyone at the CHI Secretariat works to help establish, promote and strengthen child helplines everywhere, so that children's voices may be heard and their rights to protection, provision and participation can be ensured worldwide.

Read more on how to work with us

Read about the CHI Supervisory Board


Meet our team:

Management | Programmes | Policy & Research | Operations


Management Team



Executive Director  -  Sheila Donovan

My involvement with children's rights and issues began in 2007, when I joined Fundación ANAR of Spain in a pro bono capacity to lead its international relationships.  ANAR runs the 116111 child helpline in Spain as well as the 116000 Missing Children hotline.  I served on the Supervisory Board of Child Helpline International for four years (2010-2014), and currently serve on the Board of Directors of Missing Children Europe (since 2013).

Most recently I was appointed Executive Director a.i of Child Helpline International, the global network of child helplines, with 192 members from 145 countries.   This appointment took effect in May 2015. In January 2016 I became appointed as the Executive Director.

My background before embarking on the fulfilling journey of advocating for children's rights was in banking and international relations.  I spent nearly 20 years in international banking in Madrid and New York, and four years at the Inter-American Agency of Cooperation for Development at the Organization of American States in Washington, DC, where I had also worked as a newly-minted university graduate at the start of my career.

In addition, I have served on boards of US and Canadian non-profits, such as the Girls' Vacation Fund in New York,  and E-Links Americas, an international NGO.

I am a magna cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and did post-graduate work at the University of Massachusetts in my specialization of inter-American relations and politics. 

2014_HM Chief Operating Officer - Helen Mason

As the Chief Operating Officer I am a member of the Management Board of Child Helpline International.  I lead the Operations team in coordination of finance & accounting, human resources, office management, donor reporting and M&E. I provide input to CHI's strategic development and play a key role in ensuring that CHI's strategy, as approved by the General Assembly of Child Helplines is implemented. The variety of my work makes for an exciting and demanding role. I am dedicated to the work of CHI and I am awed by the amazing work of child helplines across the world. I truly believe that child helplines are vital in providing an access point for children and young people to child protection services. I am originally from Sheffield UK, I have a background in the Arts, events and retail management. I have been living in the Netherlands for over 12 years and proud to call Amsterdam my home!


Head of Programme Development - Magdalena Aguilar

As Head of Programmes, I am responsible for managing and coordinating CHI's programme department with activities in five regions (Africa, America and the Caribbean, Asia Pacific, Europe and Middle East/North Africa). My work involves programme management, oversight and development, as well as liaison with various key stakeholders. 


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Programme Manager for Africa - Richard Ombono

As the Programme Manager Francophone Africa at CHI, I work to implement CHI's objectives in the region. This entails expanding our network by setting up new child helplines and strengthen existing ones in the region.  I'm also in charge of the establishing and maintaining relationships with partners to support CHI and child helplines in the Region. I am based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.


Programme Manager for Asia Pacific - Rowena Ricalde

As I have worked in the legal and business sectors in the Philippines, I will hopefully bring in a different perspective for liaising and networking with the child helplines in the region.  Asia Pacific is a diverse and exciting region wherein a whole gamut of child protection issues are present which need to be addressed.  I look forward to connecting with the different members and organizations in the countries and sub-regions that are working towards a better future for the children of Asia Pacific.

 Dushica  Membership Manager - Dushica Naumovska 

As a Membership Manager I work closely with the Programmes and the Operations team focusing on the membership aspects of the organisation. I monitor the compliance of members to the membership criteria and review its relevance and added value. I coordinate the development of Minimum Quality Standards for child helplines and the development of a Quality Assessment Advisory Council. 

In this role I bring organisational and partnership experience from various NGOs in Europe and Africa and I bring my language skills to use. I am originally Macedonian, but have been living in the Netherlands, Spain and Kenya in the past 10 years.


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Policy and Research


Free our Voices Campaign Coordinator - Raluca  Dumitrescu 

The Free Our Voices campaign aims to remind of the "child's right to be heard" (UNCRC, Article 12). As the campaign coordinator, it is my responsibility to ensure that our message reaches telecom operators and governmental organizations (in order to develop and support national helplines), but also children and young people in need of empowerment.

I originally come from Romania, but I have lived in the Netherlands since 2011. I have an academic background in PR and the arts, and have been involved in both cultural and commercial projects. I am passionate about contemporary art practices, exhibition design, and architecture. 


Youth Participation Coordinator - Denitsa Gancheva

Since the beginning of 2014, I have been involved as CHI's Youth Advisory Council Coordinator. As such, I am responsible for managing and developing the newly established Youth Advisory Council with the ultimate aim of turning CHI into a youth-led organisation by 2020. Currently, I work at facilitating the communication and advising on the line of work of the pilot six Youth Advisory Council members.


EC Coordinator (Brussels) - Margherita Leone

As EC Coordinator, I support CHI in raising its profile at EU level by building relations with peer organisations in Brussels and advocating for CHI priorities. I'm Italian and I live in Belgium since 2011, working in strong relation with the EU Institutions and building my working experience on EU policies. During my career I developed an excellent knowledge of EU Development policy and funding issues. Additionally, I possess a strong expertise on the Middle East region and in human rights, gender, child rights and humanitarian policy.


Data Analyst and Project Coordinator - Velia Licitra

My work entails the collection and interpretation of child helpline data. I am also responsible for the preparation and coordination of our global and regional reports. These publications are of critical importance as they showcase the issues children and young people face in their daily life. I am originally from Italy but have been living in various parts of the world and in Amsterdam since 2013. I have a post-graduate degree in Linguistic and Cultural Mediation Sciences, with a focus on Oriental Studies. I am a keen linguist and like researching and writing. 


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Human Resources and Operations Officer - Indra Biseswar

As the HR & Operations Officer my role involves multitasking and flexibility. I am responsible for all HR of CHI and help coordinate and connect between all of CHI's different operational facets. Additionally, I work with the team as a whole in the myriad of activities including contacts with members and partners throughout the network and coordinate the CRM.


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