Co-Founders, Gary and Naomi Foxcroft have spent the last 18 years working intensively to support education and child rights initiatives in Africa through a number of charities that they have helped to establish. In 2005 they worked with the local community in Uquo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria to build a school for disadvantaged children through the charity they founded - Safe Child Africa.
Richard Turnbull joined us in 2018, having spent most of the last decade organising volunteer development projects in Africa and Latin America. Richard now oversees our work across Nigeria, ensuring that our vision is properly implemented and that the teams across the country are well guided and supported.
Fluent in in Arabic and Spanish he is passionate about learning languages and the opportunities this can create. Through his role with Universal Learning Solutions team he channels his love for languages into making a positive impact on literacy in the developing world.
Naomi, is a former primary school teacher, who had taught with Jolly Phonics in the UK. She identified the need for better quality English literacy tuition in the local in Nigerian schools. Little was she to know that her first email to Chris Jolly, Director of Jolly Learning, requesting support for the school was going to catalyse such a remarkable cycle of positive change.
Victor Poluektoff arrived in Nigeria in 2006 on a mission to make a difference and was the first, and only, international volunteer to work with co-founders, Gary and Naomi, on setting up a new school and health centre for children who had been abandoned by their parents.
Having then gone on to live in China and teach children with Jolly Phonics for many years after, Victor then came back to Europe to join Universal Learning Solutions in 2013, just as our work began to take off.
He has overseen large-scale projects for us across Northern Nigeria ever since and is known throughout the land for his incredible levels of dedication to the fighting illiteracy in the region.
Patrick and Stella Uzu
Patrick and Stella Uzu are the Co-Founders of our Nigerian operations – Universal Learning Solutions Initiative. As a teacher, Stella was amazed to see the impact that Jolly Phonics had in her classrooms and joined hands with her husband to evangelise for it’s use across all of the land. Despite their huge success in doing so, they remain humble and dedicated to serving the less privileged.
Katy Davies is the engine room of the organisation and oversees all of our logistics, trainers management and wider operations.
After finishing a Masters in International Development from Manchester University, Katy worked in East Africa initiating and managing health and education programmes for 15 years before joining us.
Gary and Naomi were fortunate enough to know Katy in Lancaster and she was the first person they turned to when Universal Learning Solutions set off on our journey. Her brave leap of faith to join us has given us the strong financial and strategic foundations, that has been so integral to our success.
Dr Louise Jolly
Co-Founder, Dr Louise Gittins wrote her PhD on Synthetic Phonics, whilst helping drive the success of projects throughout Africa in her role of Projects Director.
Her work has transformed our impact of our projects through the development of the Jolly Monitor technology system, which has taken us to another level. Louise and husband, Gilbert Jolly also run the wider Jolly Futures programme, which was inspired by our work and has now expanded into 23 countries in Africa and Asia.
Keri Brown has devoted the last 20 years of her professional life to supporting the sound financial management of charities and social enterprises and is passionately committed to helping the less privileged in society. She is very much a finance powerhouse, overseeing all of our 4 country finance operations, with seeming ease.
After joining our team when we were still working from the kitchen table in 2013, Keri has helped to build and maintain the strong foundations of Universal Learning Solutions and has been integral in our success to date.