Melanie trained as a human rights lawyer and has been passionate about new approaches to South African education since university where she devoted her free time to being involved in, directing, and founding a number of education non-profits. In 2011 she moved to India to work as a curriculum developer, teacher, and teacher trainer in a school in Uttar Pradesh, India. Inspired by the experience, she founded Streetlight Schools in 2013, starting in a small store-room with nothing but a few of her own childhood books.
David (call him 'Fu') helps Streetlight build a dynamic central organization team, as well as supporting building excellent operational capacity at the schools. He manages aspects of strategy, human capital, finance, operations, and communications for Streetlight Schools. He helped Streetlight on the side as part of the U.S. Fundraising & Advisory Team for nearly 3 years before joining full time.
He was previously Manager of Community Development for 4.0 Schools, a U.S. education incubator for early-stage innovative schools, edtech companies and education nonprofits, where he led 4.0’s work to develop education entrepreneurship communities across the country (and leading 4.0’s expansion into NYC). Before 4.0, he worked for Barclays as an investment banker in Global Finance Structuring & Advisory. He was a Foundation Fellow at the University of Georgia and graduated magna cum laudewith a degree in Finance.
Fu is motivated by the goal of empowering people to unlock their full potential. He gives back by helping community builders cultivate their education innovation ecosystems and never turns down an offer to show off over 20 years of piano playing.
Tinashe Chipwanya - Head of Finance and Administration
Tinashe Chipwanya is a game changer and motivator, passionate about playing a role in the development of young minds. She believes that transformation in our communities can only be realised by empowering children through education as they play, learn and invent.
Her education background is in social sciences; she completed a BA Honours in Development Studies and a BA in Political Science and International Relations at the Witwatersrand University. She is a qualified Junior Bookkeeper and is currently pursuing a National Diploma in Financial Accounting with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.
She has been involved in women, children and health rights initiatives since 2011 under the auspices of NGOs like Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa. She comes to Streetlight schools from Hope School with a wealth of knowledge in project administration, planning and coordinating routine operational and financial activities. In addition to her work, Tinashe is an entrepreneur involved in the real estate business and the importation of children’s products from abroad.
Kavi Pandian – Junior Associate
Kavi joined Streetlight Schools in June of 2018. He supports the central team with grant applications, website maintenance, communications, strategy, and operations. He began his relationship with Streetlight working full-time in Johannesburg and continues to contract with the team from the United States.
Kavi is in his fourth and final year as a Foundation Fellow and Stamps Scholar at the University of Georgia, where he is majoring in sociology and economics. He is passionate about improving the quality of K-12 public education in the United States, especially for students who have been historically underserved. He is an Honors Teaching Assistant and the co-founder of Athens Prison Tutorial, an initiative which provides educational programming and GED testing to people who are incarcerated in Athens, GA.
After graduation, Kavi intends to enter a career in public education, first as a social studies teacher and eventually as an administrator and policymaker. He is driven by his belief that education is a fundamental right and the foundation of an equitable, just society.