The Team

S4LA is based in Gympie, Queensland. Our small voluntary team is committed to supporting the people of Yiben to progress with their development goals. While we fundraise, Minkailu Bantama (Mallam), works with the community, prioritising the needs, organising and managing all projects on their behalf. 

We thank our generous sponsors and supporters for helping to improve lives in Yiben and surrounding communities. 


S4LA Coordinator and Project Manager

A dedicated friend and tireless advocate for Yiben, Mallam has personally strived for education and healthcare for the people of this remote area since 2006. He lives in the small township of Kafogo Kasunko, two kilometres from Fadugu and four hours walk from Yiben; and he serves his own local area as a a Section Chief.

Mallam has inspired the support of friends in the UK and Australia and worked closely with Yiben’s Chief Bangalie and community leaders to bring their dreams of a school and health clinic to reality. He continues to work with traditional and political leaders and ministry officials to ensure that the facilities and services develop to national standards.

Mallam has worked with the World Bank as an interpreter and guide for the local area and with Care International as an outreach health worker. He is a voluntary community health worker at Fadugu and co-ordinates their health workers’ team. He is also the treasurer of Friends of Kasunko a voluntary group working to establish a community radio station in Fadugu. This will serve an area, including Yiben, where there is currently little communication with the outside world.


Cann Taylor
S4LA President

Special Education Teacher for early years, primary & secondary students, specialising in visual, multiple and intellectual disabilities with current interest in music therapy.


Karen Blackburn
S4LA Vice-President

Early Childhood, Primary, Special Ed and ESL teacher, world traveller who has taught in Canada, Germany and Italy.

Jude Coates
S4LA Admin Manager

Retired primary teacher, resource and curriculum specialist, friend and 'Mum' to Yiben since 2011.

Rita O’Neill
S4LA Fundraising & Promotion.

Retired secondary teacher, extra-curricular volunteer, community arts leader.


Richelle Bliesner
S4LA Fundraising & Promotion.

Experienced public relations and service manager, outdoors adventurer and doggie lover.


Rhonda Perrett
S4LA Fundraising & Promotion

Dedicated and caring teacher, strong advocate for women, children and equal opportunity.


Amy Coates
S4LA Consultant

Nurse, midwife, public health strategist at WHO, experienced in health development in Sierra Leone.

More about Gympie…