OUR TEAM


Paige Elenson

 

 

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Paige lives and breathes the creed of service and self-empowerment that she teaches. A native New Yorker, graduate of New York University, and former Wall Street consultant, Paige has been teaching yoga for over a decade in the dynamic Baptiste, AcroYoga, and Jivamukti methods. As a Senior Baptiste and AcroYoga Teacher, Paige teaches in Yoga Journal Conferences across the United States, and is a featured presenter at the Evolution Asia Yoga Conference, the Barcelona Yoga Conference, the AcroYoga Festival, the Baptiste Power Flow Immersion, and the Yoga Teacher Telesummit.

Paige’s incisive skills as a businesswoman, spiritual activist, and yogini inspired her work with the Africa Yoga Project organization. In 2007, Paige moved to Africa and co-founded the AYP organization, a movement that empowers the youth and women of Kenya to learn, contribute, and change their lives through the transformative power of yoga. With the support of Baron Baptiste and his community, the AYP organization facilitated the first yoga teacher training in Kenya and now employs local youth to teach full-time in their own communities. AYP programs offer free classes to over 3,000 students per week, simultaneously building schools and funding education, critical operations, and environmental endeavors.

Since 2007, Paige has partnered with leaders in politics, philanthropy, design, and entertainment to broaden the AYP organization’s empowering reach. Whether working alongside Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation, Christy Turlington, or Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative, Paige creates unique opportunities for community involvement and transformation. At home in Nairobi or reaching students around the world, Paige’s dedication to positive global change is infectious and inspiring.

 

Andreas Kidane

General Manager

Andreas left a corporate career in the US in 2015 to return to East Africa and work on social and economic causes. When the opportunity arose to join AYP and connect his relationship with yoga to his dedication to youth empowerment and employment, he jumped aboard and has been loving every minute since. He joined AYP in June of 2016 and currently oversees Africa operations.

Andreas holds a bachelor's in political science from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and a master's in international relations from Stockholm University. 

Alongside his professional career, Andreas is an avid camper, motorcycle adventurer, scuba divemaster, rally-car navigator and yogi. He's also partner to a bed-and-breakfast network in Nairobi, a booking agency for rental properties in turbulent regions, and a freight forwarding company that specializes in hard-to-reach areas. 

 


Jean Wetstein

U.S. Managing Director

Jean has always known her purpose was to be of service to others. She has channeled this purpose through a successful career in the field of human resources and operations leadership in corporate, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial sectors. Jean has led regional and national operations for several high profile, customer service oriented organizations within social media, fashion, and global business outsourcing industries.

 After a successful corporate career, Jean decided to take her extensive experience, skills and leadership abilities and use them in a more service oriented way, she made the move into the nonprofit sector in 2011 and joined Safe Place for Youth, a nonprofit center for homeless youth, as the Operations and Volunteer Program Manager.  In addition, Jean has been a partner with The Wetstein Group (TWG) since January of 2011 where she advises TWG clients on both global and domestic operational processes and strategies. She also leads the human resources and financial operations for TWG.

 Jean is a true lover of yoga and meditation and has witnessed its transformative principles all over the world. She has been a supporter of AYP for some time and was thrilled to join the team in July.

 


Tabitha Muchemi

Africa Finance and Administration Coordinator

Tabitha has worked as the Finance and Administration Manager for the Africa Yoga Project organization since March 2011. Her duties include handling all financial transactions, volunteer project management and coordination, and execution of mentor calls with the Africa Yoga Project teachers. Tabitha has been involved with the Africa Yoga Project organization since its beginning in 2007, when she was working for Sarakasi Trust. She likes the project’s vision and community outreach—especially in building schools. "AYP employs teachers and empowers the youth," Tabitha says. "And, since I am working for Africa Yoga Project I do more for my physical and mental fitness in learning Yoga."

 


Catherine Njeri

Director of Teachers

Catherine Njeri is from Nairobi, Kenya. She is a certified Africa Yoga Project and Baptiste yoga teacher, having completed level 1, 2 and 3 Baptiste yoga teachers training. Catherine has been teaching and practicing yoga since 2009 and is passionate about creating world class wellbeing leaders through the Africa Yoga Project due to her personal experience of how yoga changed her life. She witnesses daily how yoga impacts the overall wellbeing of her students and encourages a healthy lifestyle. Catherine is the first Kenyan woman to lead a 200 hour yoga teacher training in Sub Saharan Africa and is a co-facilitator of this training annually in Nairobi, Kenya. When she isn't teaching yoga or leading trainings, Catherine is a proud mum to a 5 year old girl. She also enjoys braiding her daughter’s and friends' hair.

 


Eliam Wanjiku (Wanji)

Programs and TRIPS coordinator

Wanji is the brand manager for Africa Yoga Project. Before this, she was the studio manager for the AYP Shine Center, our community wellness and yoga center in Nairboi, Kenya, and Mentor Program Coordinator in Kenya connecting the mentees and mentors to create consistent and successful communication.

She has been with AYP since her first class in December of 2009.  In that first class, she made up her mind that yoga was the thing she wanted to do in her life.  In 2011, she attended Baron Baptiste's leadership workshop and since then has been teaching in her community and is now teaching in the AYP Shine Center. Wanji is currently at Kenya Institute of Management getting a degree in Business Management.  She has also received a certification in computer skills.

Wanji is leading change by demonstrating the importance of yoga to women with HIV/AIDS and encouraging former criminals to lead a more positive life.  She believes when we come together to practice yoga it inspires us to share ideas and release all the stress in our lives. 

 


Julie Majale

Academy and Learning Coordinator

 

Julie is a trainer passionate about working with people to bring about positive change. She has over three years of experience in active training as well as building and implementation of learning structures. 

Being a firm believer in continuous improvement, Africa Yoga Project has provided her with an avenue for doing precisely that! As the Academy and Learning Coordinator her responsibilities include, but are not limited to, development, management, and implementation of the AYP Academy training curriculum; collaboration with the team to foster leadership, transfer skills, while promoting inclusive, empowering Academy operations. 

When she is not running academy business, she pursues her yoga practice and makes mandazis.

"Never believe a prediction that does not empower you" Sean Stephenson.

 



Laura Schutter

Communications & Community Outreach Manager

In 2011 with a shiny new degree in Strategic Communications, Laura moved to Kenya to launch a biogas company with her brother. An enormous number of cow dung jokes later, she figures she has probably earned the equivalent of a second degree in business through trial by fire and the ignorance of not knowing enough to stop trying.

Since her first entrepreneurial venture, she has launched a Thai restaurant in Nairobi and supported various people and organizations with limited resources but big ideas to grow and produce positive change in the world - that is what gets her up every morning! She firmly believes that if you have an idea, give it a try, you never know what might happen, but one thing is certain, you will learn more than you expect.

As the first of its kind wellbeing training school in Africa, Laura is inspired every day to be working with Africa Yoga Project in a hub of innovation with people who are brimming with good ideas that are just ready to blossom. This is a place where anything is possible and lives are changed for the better in a ripple effect whose limit can’t even be imagined.

When she’s not tackling work related projects, she discovers new health foods, dances salsa, goes to the Kenyan coast or travels to countries where she doesn’t speak the language with her husband which typically creates a whole new slew of challenges and opportunities for learning through doing.

 

Chichi Birgen

 



Programs coordinator

Chichi from Nairobi, Kenya currently Programs Coordinator at AYP and a yoga practitioner and teacher when she's not at her desk. Her background is diverse ranging from the IT industry to the Education industry and now the Wellness and Health industry.

Her drive in life is to be of service to others using the abilities and platforms available to me. She smiles a lot, you would be surprised how a simple smile and warm gesture can turn someones day around. So smile!

  


 Tabbie Nyambura

Africa Accountant

Tabbie started working with the Africa Yoga Project in July of 2015. She began her career as an accountant after graduating from Vision Institute in Nairobi. Before entering the AYP community, she was enthralled with the chance to work alongside youth and to give back to various communities around the city, as well as her AYP community itself. Through this inspiration, she completed the 200hr Expand Your Power in March of 2016. Outside of her accountant work at AYP, Tabbie loves traveling and believes it to be a wonderful way to expand her horizons of experience and worldview.


Christine Moraa Ondicho

Africa Special Needs Coordinator

Christine is a professional social worker, disability mainstreaming consultant, Part time Sign Language Lecturer at Tangaza University, and freelance Interpreter for the Deaf and Deaf/Blind. She resigned from a key government job in 2013 to teach Sign Language at her church.  

Christine seeks a platform where she can disseminate information, advocate and build capacity on issues of Persons with Disabilities and Disability to a wide audience, as well as an opportunity to develop her skills in dealing with issues of Disability.

Throughout her career, Christine has worked for key government institutions including the Truth and Justice Commission, the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, as well as others. These include various NGOs, Kenya National Association of the Deaf, Kenya Union of the Blind, Handicap international, Sarakasi, American Embassy, United Nations Development Programme among others.

In 2014, she was nominated as a task force member to the salaries and remuneration commission to represent employees who are Deaf. She has also collaborated in creation of Objects of Pity, a book showcasing artistic talents of youth with disabilities in Kenya, directed by Kenya Human rights commission, co-founder of disability millennium foundation/Talanta Africa project.

 

 

Kennedy Omondi

Shine Center Studio Manager

Kennedy Omondi began his exploration with yoga in 2009. After attending a series of classes, he developed an inner interest and had a serious relationship with his yoga practice.

Through this inspiration, he began teaching in 2012. After completing his first teacher training with Sharon Moon from the Jois Foundation, he continued on and partook in a 200 hours Yoga Alliance Training in Nairobi in April, 2013. Within June of the same year, he advanced his teaching further by attending a Level 2 Teacher Training with Baron Baptiste, founder of the Baptiste Institute.

Kennedy has attended a series of workshops including, Trauma sensitive yoga, Kundalini yoga, Chair yoga sessions, and has also completed trainings with Next Generation Yoga (NGY - yoga for children). This ongoing interest, learning and attending other teacher’s workshops, has provided him with fresh insights that inspire his own teachings. In his classes he focuses on alignment, dristi (focus), and breathing exercises leaving the student with a balanced energy. His classes are intuitive and bring out the strengths of the students, while challenging them to towards greater possibilities.

 


Zablon Ingosi 

 

Assistant Shine Center Studio Manager

 

 

 

 

 


Irene Mueni

 

 

Assistant Shine Center Studio Manager

 

 

 

 

 


 

Patrick Kiragu

Team Africa Empowerment Coach

 

 

 

 

 



 

Richard Kitoshi

 

 

Africa Mentorship Coordinator

For Richard it all began when he attended his first yoga teacher training in 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. Under the tutelage of Sharon Moon of the Jois Foundation, he was trained in the style of Ashtanga yoga. 

At the start of his career within teaching yoga, he began by teaching at a rehabilitation centre for girls in Kirigiti, Kiambu, and Kenya. He also taught mothers living within the slum area of Huruma in Nairobi.

Nowadays, he can be found teaching at the Shine Center on weekday evenings or occasionally on Sunday afternoons. He has also extended his love for yoga by teaching privately in upcoming yoga studios, gyms, and residential areas. He looks forward to one-day running his own yoga studio.

 

Leah Imbusi Etende

 

 

 Africa Retail Coordinator

 

 

  

 

 


Susan Njeri

 

 

Children's Yoga Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 


Maurice (Papa) Oduor

Maurice (Papa) OduorEmpowerment Coach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Njuguna

Empowerment Coach

 

 

 

 

 



 

Samson Muhalia

 

 

Empowerment Coach

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Njeri

 

 

Shine Center Reception Team 

I can really see a change in my students, since starting yoga they have really become strong. When they started they were weak and now they are healthy. They don’t have the fear that they’re going to die anymore, now they think about what is next in their life, they think about the future. Yoga has helped the mothers become better mothers to their children and the small kids are having fun. The slums are a dirty environment, but by bringing in yoga we have brought in health, peace, happiness, and freedom. 

I work with women in prison who have killed people and I want to help them and teach them to let go of the stress of their situation. Relaxing your mind is possible anywhere, they can be who they want to be. For me, yoga has really helped me-you see me right now, I am shining and I am not shy anymore. Be yourself, do not be afraid or anything. In life do not give up-if you give up, then everything you worked for will disappear. 

In one year I want my own studio and in that studio, it’s one of my students running it. I will be in another country spreading the word of what yoga can accomplish!

 

Kevin (Acha) Owino

Shine Center Reception Team 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharifa Namusoke

Shine Center Reception Team 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Gideon Timbwa Ochango

Shine Center Maintenance and Cleaning Team

 

 

 

 

 

Rita Atieno

Shine Center Maintenance and Cleaning Team

 

 

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Empower youth to step into their greatness

As GLOBAL wellbeing LEADERS

Africa Yoga Project delivers global wellbeing in and from Africa. We practice and teach Yoga with a deep conviction that the potential to change the world lives in each of us. Our bodies and minds must be connected in order to create lasting change. We deliver tools to bring wellbeing to the world, one body at a time.

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