global team

Karmen Friesen

Executive Director

With a business background, a degree in intercultural studies, and experience organizing inter-denominational conferences, teams and events since high school and college, Karmen has a passion for seeing Christians come together for what is on God’s heart. He led the CoMission for Children at Risk for 20 years, networking, resourcing and equipping leaders, organizations and faith communities globally to effectively serve orphaned and vulnerable children. In helping to develop the Russia and Ukraine Without Orphans initiatives, Karmen experienced the power of Christian leaders coming together to engage faith communities in their own countries for family-based care and a vision for a world without orphans. Karmen lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two children, is a founding member of World Without Orphans and currently serves as the Principal Coordinator of the Executive Team.

Lubo Hlavacka

Global Coordinator for Ambassadors and Teams, Executive Team

Having been involved with the leadership of WWO since 2015, Lubo loves to share the Father heart of God through mentoring and coaching. Being passionate about growing the capacity of national and regional teams, Lubo is involved in forming and growing the WWO learning communities in different parts of the world and seeing nations collaborate to solve the orphan crisis in their own local context. He brings over 30 years of ministry experience, with a background of working in the context of churches, Christian organizations and consulting.

Susan Hillis

Global Coordinator for Strategy and Senior Technical Advisor, Executive Team

Dr. Hillis has been a believer for 38 years, married to a godly servant for 36, a mother for 27, a US government federal official for 20, and a university professor for 10 years. She is the mother of 11 children, 8 of whom were adopted from Russia after the tragic death of her first-born son on the day before his tenth birthday. Susan has worked and ministered in countries in South America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. She has published more than 80 articles in scientific medical journals and is considered one of the leading infectious diseases experts on the HIV risk among vulnerable youth around the world. Dr. Hillis is a recent recipient of the Outstanding Service Medal as a Captain in the U.S. Public Health Service.

Ruby M. Johnston

Global Capacity Building Lead, Executive Team

Ruby has been focused on Capacity Building all her career, as a social worker working for the Institute for Human Services and later as a global consultant and trainer. In 2004, Ruby and her husband registered a global charity called LAMb International, which is working in 37 different countries, conducting training, coaching and strategic planning. Prior to LAMb, Ruby led several IHS teams to develop training systems in the US and Canadian Child Welfare Systems. She is an author, curriculum developer, organizational development consultant, mother of 6, grandmother of 11 and great grandmother of 6. Ruby along with her husband Lynn and their amazing cat, are passionate about WWO and the impact it has on strengthening families and ensuring all children reach their God given potential while ensuring their rights of Safety, Permanency and Well-being, all in the context of a loving family.

Praveen Gomez

Implementation Lead, Executive Team

Praveen dreams of a day when communities flourish, leaving no one behind. To achieve this, Praveen believes that the family unit plays an integral and crucial role in modeling and fostering a safe, loving, and nurturing environment that empowers children. To this end, Praveen joined World Without Orphans to further their vision.
Praveen was previously attached to a non-profit organization where he led a country-wide campaign in partnership with the government, inter-faith groups, and grassroot community leaders. Before that, he managed a branch of an IT firm in North America, served as a project initiator and educator in a remote village in Timor-Leste, and managed the Human Resource function of a corporate in Sri Lanka. Praveen currently lives in Colombo with his wife and three children while serving as the implementation lead for World Without Orphans.

Andrii Fedun

Events and Logistics Lead, Operations Team

Born and raised in Ukraine, Andrii Fedun is passionate to advocate for the fatherless around the world. In previous roles Andrii served as Director of the Alliance for Ukraine Without Orphans and as Program Director of the Ukrainian Bible Society. His personal focus has been to support the needs of neglected children and orphans through direct care and transition programs. He has over 20 years of experience in the field of child welfare, working with churches, NGOs, and the government. Andrii resides in Kyiv with his wife and young son.

Dmytro Bereza

Technology and Web Design Lead, Operations Team

A native of Dnipro, Ukraine, Dmytro has been with the World Without Orphans (WWO) movement since its inception, providing technical expertise to multiple areas. His journey in orphan care started with a call in his childhood to build a friendship with an orphan. Later Dmytro would marry his wife Tanya, who ministered to teens aging out of orphanages. These events ultimately led to Dmytro joining the orphan care ministry full time in 2012. Dmytro enjoys life in Ukraine with his lovely wife and their two sons, almost identical twins full of bright ideas and kind hearts. Dmytro has a passion to see children thriving and families strong, and is delighted to put his effort into the next generation.

Michelle Keadle-Taylor

Communications Lead, Operations Team

As an adoptee herself, Michelle knows the value and benefit of being placed in a loving and nurturing home and its crucial role in helping a child to grow into their God-given potential and destiny. After working briefly in television, Michelle lived and worked in Europe for eight years. She began her time in Europe in Hungary in 1990 and experienced the immense changes in the region during that time. She worked for DHL International in Eastern Europe, the UK, and then as Regional Communications Manager based in Greece, serving 34 countries which included parts of Europe, Africa, and Israel. She worked 11 years for DHL and also worked in Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean region, writing and producing weekly news programs in three languages.
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communications Studies (emphasis Broadcast Journalism) and Spanish as well as a Masters of Christian Counseling. She is married to a New Zealander and has three wonderful children. Michelle is thrilled to be part of the WWO family and mission and is looking forward to seeing a world without orphans and where every child feels valued and loved.

Karen Springs

Global Forum Production Lead

Karen Springs lived in Kyiv, Ukraine for over fourteen years advocating for orphaned and at-risk children and working with hundreds of adoptive families. Karen was a part of the team that saw the birth of the Ukraine Without Orphans movement and has partnered alongside the global WWO effort since the movement began. Having managed humanitarian and child advocacy projects throughout Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East with Orphan’s Promise today Karen continues as an advocate for children in families around the world. With a background in performing arts, production and writing, she is passionate about using those gifts to advance God’s Kingdom and see nations collaborate in solving their orphan and vulnerable children crisis through the World Without Orphans global movement.

Phil Green

Global Ambassador

Phil is motivated by his hate of injustice, an unquenchable hopefulness, and the belief that ordinary people can, and the Church should, make a difference in the world. Because of this, Phil is passionate to see churches mobilized to ensure that children are raised in safe and loving families. Phil lives just north of London with his wife Hannah and their two small children – Isaac and Tilly. Phil was previously the chief executive of Home for Good where he sought to inspire Christians to step up to foster and adopt and equip churches to support these families. Alongside his role with WWO, he is a charity growth consultant, and is on the board of a number of NGOs – including one of the largest (and oldest) children’s charities in the UK, Spurgeon’s Children Charity.

Daniel Kaggwa

Regional Ambassador, Africa

Pastor Daniel Kaggwa is a Senior Pastor at The Sign of the Dove Church-Kampala, Uganda. Born and raised in a dysfunctional family in Uganda, he was later Fostered into a Christian family. Today Daniel is married and is father to 4 biological children and many fostered children. He and his wife Erika are directors of Dove Christian School, whose main purpose is to help orphans and vulnerable children through Food, Education, and Spiritual support. Daniel leads the work of Alliance for Uganda Without Orphans and also serves as the National Coordinator for Orphan Sunday. Daniel is an author and also hosts a Family for Every Orphan Radio Program on Saturday mornings. Daniel and Erika are founders of Embrace Child Care Ministries, Uganda whose main aim is to see that all children belong to Families.
-“I’m happy to represent WWO in Africa because of my passion to see that all orphans receive a sense of belonging.”

Richard Procter

Regional Ambassador, Europe

Richard joined World Without Orphans in 2018 as the Leading Coordinator for WWO Europe. Since the development of WWO Europe national movements are growing across the continent. Based in the UK, Richard served for 12 years in the government and volunteer sectors, spent 20 years starting and running his own business, worked with children and young people in his community, and served in church leadership. Richard and his wife Robbyn adopted 2 daughters in 2005, which led to establish a local ministry that supported adoptive and fostering families. He was involved in the national UK NGO, Home for Good, from its inception, supporting its development through consulting and coaching, and establishing it in his own county. Richard enjoys family life with Robbyn and their still-at-home daughters, still serves as a local church leader, and relaxes with books, dog walks, cooking, and following soccer.

Shelton Taguma

Regional Ambassador, Africa

Shelton is the Executive Director of Forgotten Voices International, which is innovating orphan care by partnering with the local church in Africa to empower caregivers and families to meet the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children in their communities. Growing up in Zimbabwe, Shelton saw first-hand the plight of the poor children and youth. For the last 20 years he has worked with churches and communities across sub-Saharan Africa to create healthy environments and hope-filled opportunities for vulnerable children. He has served in key leadership roles and board positions for Christian organizations in Zimbabwe, Nicaragua and the USA. He holds a MA in International Development and degrees in Youth and Community Development. His passion is to see every child experience the love and security of a family, church and community. Shelton has lived in Africa, Central America and is currently based in Pennsylvania with his wife and their two children.

David Rihani

Regional Ambassador, Middle East

David Rihani was born and raised in Jordan. After finishing college in the USA and living there for many years, David felt the calling to return to Jordan to serve the Lord. Since then, he has been involved in the church and evangelical councils of Jordan, the Holy Land and the World Evangelical Alliance. With his engineering and business background, he was instrumental in the establishment of a K-12 academy providing the first inclusive education program in the country. A founding member of several local charitable organizations serving the orphans, elderly, and refugees, David believes the church can play an important role in equipping leaders to be able to reach out to all sectors of society encouraging collective collaboration to assist the neediest. David resides in Amman, Jordan with his wife and two daughters.
-“I’m encouraged by WWO’s vision and commitment towards the crisis of the orphaned and vulnerable around the world and I am honored to be a part of the work.”

Anton Putilin

Regional Ambassador, Central Asia

In the fall of 2014 Anton was invited to attend the launch conference of a new initiative in his country. The conference was called Kyrgyzstan Without Orphans, and the vision declared in the name alone was enough to perk Anton’s interest and today Anton serves as part of KWO’s leadership team. Anton studied Business Administration and Management in LCC International University, Lithuania. In 2013 he and two friends founded a mentoring program called Lighthouse to help teenagers in orphanages to prepare for independent living in Kyrgyzstan. In 2016 he went on to found the School for Responsible Parents – a project that is primarily consulting, training, and supporting adoptive and biological families. Anton is married to Uliyana, and they are the parents of five children, including four adopted daughters.

Alex Sam

Regional Ambassador, South Asia

Alex Same grew up on the streets of Mumbai and then lived in a Christian orphanage where he was rescued and redeemed by the Lord. Alex presently works as a child activist in India by promoting family-based care, foster care, and adoption. Together with his wife, Sunita Marandi, Alex runs a small family-based children's home, is founder of Everett Mission Charitable Trust, and serves as a facilitator at Bharathiya Sneha Parivar.

Barbara Ruegger

Regional Ambassador, Europe

Barbara Ruegger is from Switzerland and has been working with children and youth for almost 30 years. She has worked with YWAM/King’s Kids as part of the international leadership team, as well as networking with many other groups and organizations. Since the start of World Without Orphans Barbara has been an active leader in the movement, realizing that in WWO she is part of a community of likeminded people. Today Barbara serves on the European Facilitation team, helping to build local WWO networks throughout different European countries.
- “I am part of the WWO community because I found a family here where everyone shares the passion and vision to see children grow up in families instead of orphanages.”

Anja Goertzen Gaona

Regional Ambassador, South America

Anja Goertzen Gaona is a legal advocate for vulnerable children and youth in Paraguay, serves with her husband René Gaona as missionaries through Action International Ministries, and cares for their very active son Santiago. Anja is a lawyer specializing in children’s rights, with experience as director of Red Viva Paraguay (network affiliated with Viva Together for Children), as well as in Paraguayan government offices for adoptions and alternative care of children removed from their families. As an independent consultant, she has worked in Paraguay to bridge the gap between the framework of laws and policies and their effective implementation to ensure the wellbeing of children. Currently, Anja is a coordinator for the Paraguay Protects Families movement, which is connected to WWO Global. Anja is also a member of the Adoption Council’s central authority for adoptions in Paraguay, representing civil society.

Anu Silas

Regional Ambassador, South Asia

Anupama Silas (Anu) is the Founder and Executive Director of Vanitashray, a registered non-profit organization in Pune, India and is currently the Facilitator for South Asia Without Orphans. Since 1999 Anu has been passionately serving orphans and vulnerable children. Under her leadership, community education and feeding programs have been developed as well as programs to promote family preservation and women’s empowerment. Anu obtained her Master’s degree in social work and her post graduate degree in Human Rights. Anu has served with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for over 30 years and is currently working alongside Loom International. Anu previously served as Executive Director for Maharashtra State for All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice, where she advocated on behalf of neglected young girls, standing against child prostitution and child marriages in India.

Sara Vargas

Regional Ambassador, Latin America

Sara Vargas is married to Rodrigo since 1996 and they are parents of 4 children. She is a pastor in Sal da Terra Ministry. She is also a Founder and technical director of Pontes de Amor (Bridges of Love), a Nonprofit Organization that prepares and supports adoptive families, works for the development of the OVC and offers professional training. Her vision is to have every child growing in a loving and protective family. Sara was the president of ANGAAD – the National Association of Adoption Support Groups, that gathers 208 NGOs spread all over Brazil; now Sara is ANGAAD’s director of Institucional Relationship. Also Sara is a member of SEPAL (Serving Pastors and Leaders) governance council, SEPAL represents the Global Alliance in Brazil. She is an Orphan Sunday coordinator in Brazil, member of Christian Alliance for Orphans, also founder and representative of World Without Orphans in Brazil.

Rodrigo Rangel

Regional Ambassador, Latin America

Rodrigo Rangel has been married to Sara Vargas since 1996. He is a parent of 4 and inspired in their story, Pontes de Amor (Bridges of Love), a Non Profit Organization that prepares and supports adoptive families, as children in residential care. His dream and effort is to have every child and teenager in a safe and loving family. Rodrigo is a lawyer and an entrepreneur. He is a pastor in Sal da Terra Ministry. He is also an Orphan Sunday Coordinator in Brazil and a facilitator for WWO Brazil. Rodrigo is a financial counselor for ANGAAD, the National Association of Adoption Support Groups in Brazil.