The Team

S4LA is based in Gympie, Queensland and our team is committed to supporting the people of Yiben to progress with their development goals. Minkailu Bantama (Mallam), manages the project and works with the community, local chiefs and district health officials to prioritise the needs and organise the work required. 

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


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.

CannCann Taylor
Special Education Teacher for early years, primary & secondary students, specialising in visual, multiple and intellectual disabilities with current interest in music therapy. S4LA President.
KBKaren Blackburn
Early Childhood, Primary, Special Ed and ESL teacher, world traveller who has taught in Canada, Germany and Italy, S4LA Vice-President.
Jude Coates
Retired primary teacher, resource and curriculum specialist, friend and 'Mum' to Yiben since 2011, S4LA Admin Manager.
Rita O’Neill
Retired secondary teacher, extra-curricular volunteer, community arts leader, S4LA Fundraising & Promotion.
imageRichelle Bliesner
Experienced public relations and service manager, outdoors adventurer and doggie lover. S4LA Fundraising and Promotion.
imageAmy Coates
Nurse, midwife and public health strategist, works for WHO in Geneva, experienced in health development in Sierra Leone, S4LA Consultant.

More about Gympie…