Birthrights was founded in 2013 by human rights barrister, Elizabeth Prochaska, and Rebecca Schiller, a doula and writer on birth, parenting and women’s rights. Our work is overseen by our expert board, including senior health professionals, policy-makers, people with lived experience and lawyers.
Chief Executive Officers (job share)
Shanthi Gunesekera & Janaki Mahadevan
Shanthi and Janaki have worked previously as a job share since early 2019 during which time, they led the Greater London Authority (GLA)’s policy and programmes delivered under the Mayor of London’s Social Integration Strategy. This included efforts to address labour market inequality, increase active citizenship and democratic participation, strengthen relationships across London’s communities and support people newly arrived in the Capital and those with insecure immigration status to access their rights and thrive in London.
Before their job share at the GLA, Janaki was Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the London Borough of Newham and prior to that worked as a journalist on publications including Children & Young People Now. Shanthi led migration policy at the Greater London Authority under the previous Mayor, and prior to that worked at the London Borough of Enfield on programme and change management, and equalities.
Operations Lead – Support Services and Systems
Reema has over seven years’ experience in the cancer charity sector. She most recently was a Cancer Support Specialist at Maggie’s at the Royal Free, and previously worked in the NHS and other health organisations including the Health Research Authority in the Department of Health.. She also volunteered as a Research Assistant at the London Art Therapy Centre to pursue her interest in this field of work. Reema experienced some tough times post-birth and joined Birthrights to make a difference for others in similar situations.
Operations Lead – Governance, Performance and Risk
Sammy has over 15 years experience of working in the charitable and local government sector, working across a range of public policy areas including housing, education and health.
Sammy previously worked for York Women’s Counselling Service, playing a leading role in developing the charity’s strategy and governance. Prior to this, she worked for Shelter, the National housing and homelessness charity, before becoming Operations Director at E-ACT, a multi-academy trust that manages multiple schools across England. In this role Sammy held responsibility for governance, HR, communications, data insight and major projects.
Saras has experience working with charities and a background in law. She has worked with refugees, asylum seekers and those experiencing domestic abuse. Her role before Birthrights included designing and delivering training to healthcare professionals to enable them to identify and effectively respond to disclosure of domestic abuse. She is passionate about ensuring that everyone gets rights-based and person-centred care.
Beth is a midwife, hypnobirthing practitioner and MSc Student, and her passion for human rights in childbirth stemmed from advocating for women and birthing people as a midwife. Her wish for everyone is to have access to the information that they want and to be unwaveringly supported in what is right for them as an individual, and she believes rights based, respectful care is fundamental in ensuring both physical and psychological safety during birth. She is incredibly proud to be a part of the Birthrights team.
Amisha (they/she) is a doula based in London who is passionate about providing individualised and trauma-informed support to those most marginalised by the healthcare system, especially queer and trans Black and brown people. They also work with Neighbourhood Doulas to provide perinatal support to those who are lacking a birthing partner and with other complex needs such as asylum seekers/refugees and survivors of domestic/sexual violence. Amisha is also a member of Kinhood Collective, a reproductive health collective created to support LGBTQIA+ people and families.
Advice and Information Manager
Johanna has worked with Human Rights Law for over 20 years as a practising barrister, focusing on cases involving asylum and human rights law, family law, and survivors of coercion and abuse. In 2009 she gave birth to her son and turned her attention to maternity rights and co-founded a maternity advocacy group in Yorkshire. Outside of Birthrights, Johanna is a qualified breastfeeding counsellor, spent six years on the board of LLLGB and was recently elected to the Great Britain seat on the board of La Leche League International. She is also a trustee for the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust.
Advice and Information Officer
Lorraine is a doula and photographer supporting families across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. After training with Nurturing Birth in 2019, Lorraine has cared for a diverse number of clients with compassion and a tenacity to improve the birthing experience for all. “I believe every birthing person deserves to have a positive experience on their journey to becoming a parent, no matter who they are and how they choose to birth and nurture their babies.” Lorraine offers birth and postnatal doula support whilst also capturing sacred moments through her birth and postpartum photography services.
Miranda has over a decade of experience working as a TV and digital journalist and travelling all over the world, before moving into the charity and NGO space. Passionate about human rights, she previously worked for a leading international girls’ rights charity covering issues like COVID, the Southern African food crisis and instability in the Sahel region. Miranda is currently expecting her first baby.