The Team

Heart & Parcel has expanded over the years growing to a dedicated and brilliant family of like-minded indviduals. Together with their wide range of skill sets, they create and provide high-quality support to people learning English to recognise, celebrate and develop their existing rich skills and knowledge, so they can communicate confidently and live fulfilling lives.

Current Team

Heart & Parcel Advisory Board

Board Members

Amira Elwakil
Atiha Chaudry
Carolina Lopez
Dr Francesca Brady
Edwina McEachran
Farhana Hemani
Javaad Alipoor
Lulu Eden
Rachel Ward-Newton
Sam Sin

Hafsa Mekki | Chairperson of the board & Non-Exec Director

Hafsa is a former Trinity qualified ESOL teacher with a passion for languages and a degree in Linguistics & TESOL. She is a Moss Side resident and proud Mancunian despite having lived in three different countries. Hafsa was first introduced to Heart & Parcel by her former colleague Nikki who is also one of our volunteer ESOL tutors. As a former teacher and community activist, Hafsa immediately fell in love with the concept. After following Heart and Parcel from their Supper Clubs hosted by Clare and Karolina in their hope to being awarded funding to expand their support, Hafsa is honoured to be a member of the team. Hafsa works in procurement and hopes to be able to offer both her former and current skill sets to Heart & Parcel’s inspiring range of projects.

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Karolina Koścień | Co-founder & Non-Exec Director

A Polish woman, sociologist and social worker, Karolina arrived to the UK 14 years ago. Since then she has been working as a community interpreter, welfare benefit advisor, youth worker and cultural consultant for many different community based organisations in Manchester. Migration, diversity and equality have always been subjects she is passionate about and willing to explore. The Director of Heart & Parcel and an avid food lover, she is always honoured to have the chance to meet amazing women from around the world, work with them and also try their delicious food.

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Clare Courtney | Co-founder & Managing Director


Clare is an English language practitioner with over 10 years experience in the UK and China delivering English sessions to a wide range of learners with different backgrounds and reasons for learning English.

Interested in inclusive and creative approaches to English language teaching rooted in social justice, Clare started Heart & Parcel in 2015 with Karolina to bring together communities through food and learning in an inclusive, engaging and informal way.

Twitter: @cjcourts

Linkedin: Clare Courtney

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Hanane El Hadioui | Learner & Volunteer Support Manager

My name is Hanane, my origin is Moroccan. I lived in Italy for 17 years when I have discovered  other cultures, mentality, history, art and food then living in Manchester for 3 years was another challenge to beat because of the barrier language, so Heart & Parcel was my first sight to learn English in informal context and empower migrant and refugee to become protagonists of the life of the communities they live in. I have led on various projects with Heart & Parcel, including Share the Dish 2019, International Women’s Day Online Festival and supporting both volunteers and learners on our new online project with Boaz Trust clients.

During my involvement with the project I meet real friends, we shared our diversities, backgrounds, recipes and perspectives, the project was an inspiration for me to develop my ideas and future plans.

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Nina Holland-Jones | Communications & Social Media Manager

My name is Nina, I was born and raised in the North-West region, recently graduating in the summer of 2020 with honours in Ancient History & History. My studies were brought to a quicker end than expected with the unforeseen arrival of Covid-19. With the onset of restrictions & a sense of a world which felt uncertain, I too found myself a little out of sorts. It was very quickly after I discovered Heart & Parcel in December 2020, that I found myself signing up as a volunteer helping with their social media accounts. I helped to promote some amazing events, such as the International Women’s Day Online Festival & their learner led Cookalongs. 

There’s a very special and unique quality around Heart & Parcel staff, learners and volunteers which makes you fall quickly under its spell. Using food as the springboard to learning, I have been inspired by the ways in which food transcends language. Along with its binding sense of community, drawing members from every walk of life, Heart & Parcel raises the bar for diversity, inclusion & sharing. And since leaving university, it has been fundamental in my journey to finding my feet in the new world we live in.

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Rawia Alawani | Heart & Parcel Teacher

Rawia, teacher, wife, mother-of-four and  cooking lover. 
I’m originally from Syria,  born and grown in Jordan, lived in Saudi and I moved to Manchester 6 years back.

I’ve joined Heart & Parcel 5 years ago as an ESOL student through cooking classes before I started to give my own Syrian-food cooking lessons to build the bridges between different cultures and to help me to integrate with my new country.

Asmahan Attrash | Heart & Parcel Teacher

My name is Asmahan, I am from Syria, and worked as a Doctor for 19 years in Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. I have 6 children. I first moved to Turkey from Syria. Then I came in the UK 5 years ago. When I arrived in Manchester, I started doing English courses to learn English language, I achieved level 1 certificate. Also, I was a volunteer at Greenheys to support E.S.O.L one learning English as an assistant teacher.

Cooking is one of my favourite activity because it is a way for me to reduce stress and I can be artistic about it and it never gets repetitive.

As always, I wanted to learn English and practise it in an entertaining and enjoyable way, as it gives me the opportunity to learn about other traditional food and meet new friends.

Later on, I heard about ‘Heart and Parcel’ course and so loved the idea of it. As it involves cooking and learning English together at the same time. I first started this course by meeting people face to face but then we began to take online lessons with Clare and that was due to the pandemic , which I found a pleasure to do.

In this course, I was invited by Clare and her team to make one of my delicious dishes that I made through cook along. These dishes are halawa with cheese and sahlab. Turns out I got lots of positive feedback and this had motivated me to carry on working with Heart and Parcel. It is absolutely interesting to learn about food from all over the world. I look forward to making/sharing healthy recipes and delicious home-made food with the community to showcase my cooking skills.

Khadidja Hamouche | Heart & Parcel Teacher

My name is Khadidja, my origin is Algerian. I moved to Manchester in 2016, it was a challenge for me because of the language so I started learn English and last year I have started with Heart & Parcel it was for me a big opportunity  I have learn English through cooking I have done online English and cooking classes from home to home online classes, Open kitchen classes online and cookalong. During my lesson with Heart & Parcel I have made  friends, we shared background, recipes and experiences. I am now teaching online cookalongs to the general public and for other organisations and charities. Heart & Parcel gives me inspiration for me to develop my ideas and future plans.

You can read more about Khadidja’s journey with Heart & Parcel here.

Rasha Mafrachi | Heart & Parcel Teacher

My name is Rasha. I am originally from Iraq. I am married and have two children. I have a masters in Geography and used to work as a university teacher in Iraq. Currently, I work as an Arabic teacher with experience face to face teaching as well as online learning. Cooking for me is art, since and passion, it makes me happy learn new cooking techniques and discovering new ingredients from across the world. I am happy to take part in the Heart and Parcel because it helps me to meet new friends and share food that I like with people. It is also a great opportunity to challenge myself to learn something new about cooking and kitchen tools in English.

Liza Rasool | Heart & Parcel Teacher

My name is Liza. I’m from Afghanistan. I have three children two boys and one girl. I have lived in UK since 2015. I finished my school in Afghanistan. And I have been studying English in UK for four years. I speak Four languages Dari, Farsi, Urdu and English.

I absolutely love cooking. last year I was a student in a Heart & Parcel and I learned a lot. I started teaching with Heart & Parcel this year and I have loved every minute of it. I teach online cookalongs to the general public and also to other organisations and charities. Because it combines some of my favourite thing: food , languages, culture and getting to know new people! I also love that learning goes both ways at Heart & Parcel. I learn so much for the participants and other teachers. I have always been a foodie so I really enjoy learning new recipes each week alongside students from around the world. In the future I would like to teach English and cooking together.

Paramita Raha | Heart & Parcel Teacher

I am Paramita Raha. I am from Bangladesh and have been living in the U.K for the last one and a half years. I have been learning English, Maths and also teaching myself to Code. I was also working, at Domino’s Pizza, before the lockdown. Now I am working in Food Production.

I am a food enthusiast and love working with people from different backgrounds. I also love to learn about various cultures and cuisines. I participated in many extracurriculam activities: such as the Cultural exchange programme; Manchester Day to represent Bengali community; Open Kitchen project and volunteered for a local charity.

I am taking part in some new projects with Boaz Trust and International Women’s day. I decided to take part in the Heart & Parcel Open Kitchen’s project to learn about new cuisines and also to share the traditional Asian cooking that is not commonly found in the restaurants but is cooked in many Asian households every day. 

Heart & Parcel has provided me this opportunity through which I have been able to meet plenty of people, make some new friends; in addition, this has also given me the experience to work with the team.

Former Staff

Heart & Parcel Graduates

Heart & Parcel Volunteers

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