Our People - NYC

Meet the Seeds of Africa staff, volunteers, and interns who collaborate to make it happen in New York.

Our People


Meet everyone who makes it happen in NYC

Atti Worku
Atti Worku
Executive Director and Founder

Atti Worku (atti@seedsofafrica.org) believes great things can spring from difficult conditions -- they just need the right nourishment. Born in Adama, Ethiopia, Atti has traveled the world developing her passion for encouraging the next generation of African leaders.

As the founder of Seeds, Atti recognizes the importance of holistic education, and is working to establish community development centers within urban communities throughout Africa. 

Atti and Seeds are proving that what began as one woman's dream to plant hope for a handful of Ethiopian children can become a model for community-based African development.

Atti's unique beauty has been recognized across the world. A former Miss Ethiopia and international fashion model, Atti has graced runways from Cape Town to New York. She currently resides in New York City and attends Columbia University.

Siena-Antonia von Tscharner Fleming
Director of Education

Siena-Antonia von Tscharner Fleming (siena@seedsofafrica.org) is currently pursuing her second masters degree at the Sorbonne in 'Science of Education' and has begun her doctorate this year in the 'Anthropology of Education'.  Previously, she graduated from New York University with a dual degree in early childhood education and early childhood special education. Her love of writing, children's literature, playing the violin, composing music, and designing theater productions have attracted her to the kinds of fine arts projects that are at the core of the Seeds of Africa curriculum.

Siena-Antonia has worked in both public and private schools in Manhattan, and has taught at the Ethiksschule, a farm-based kindergarten for ethical development in Basel, Switzerland. As a child, she split her time between Basel and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and currently resides in Paris, France, where she is writing her PhD in Anthropology of Education at the Sorbonne.

Maggie Sands
Maggie Sands
Director of Community Development

Maggie Sands (maggie@seedsofafrica.org) became interested in Ethiopia during her studies of economic development in sub-Saharan Africa at the University of Illinois. As a student, Maggie worked with abused and neglected children while volunteering for a national children‘s rights organization, CASA.

While continuing her studies in International Relations and Labor Economics at Baruch College, Maggie found that international aid, while a necessary component of development, is subject to bureaucracy and substantial red tape. Maggie came to realize that Seeds of Africa is different: it provides an opportunity to make a tremendous difference on an individual level. On repeated trips to Ethiopia, Maggie has observed high levels of unemployment with little opportunity to enter the labor market. Maggie leads the Community Enhancement Initiative, which provides the necessary tools to stimulate sustainable economic growth in the Adama community.

Elana Pollack
Elana Pollak
Capital Campaign Manager

 Elana Pollak (Elana@seedsofafrica.org) joined Seeds of Africa because she firmly beleives that every child is entitled to an equal opportunity to pursue his or her dreams.

While earning her law degree and Master's in Social Work at Columbia University, Elana worked with abused, neglected, and court-involved children and families in Brooklyn and East Harlem. She spent several years working in commercial litigation before leaving her job to travel in East and Southern Africa, and volunteer for UNICEF.

Among the countries she visited was Ethiopia, where she was awed by that nation's beautiful history, culture, people and landscape. Elana is a native New Yorker and is currently living in New York City.

Nkem Ejoh
Nkemakonam Ejoh
Grant Writer

Nkem Ejoh's (Nkem@seedsofafrica.org) passion is building programs that facilitate a community's sustainability. Her interest in answering development issues bgean as she observed the inequities in her native Nigeria. Later, living in England and then the United States, Nkem oberved how different power structures deal with social inequities. With these comparisons in mind, she began grassroots efforts and progressed to gain a background in research, policy, advocacy and development. Nkem understands the different actors that shape a community's self-agency. As Queen Ms. Nigeria 2010-2011 she became her community's spokesperson, advocating for it and speaking on its behalf at events.

Her fellowship at the Colin L. Powell center and her Master's in Public Administration from the City College of New York's Colin L. Powell School, allow her to use her grassroots initiatives to support her public policy suggestions. Her contributing chapter on environmental policy in the book Modern Democracy in Ghana and Traditional Forms of Governance by Dr. Jean E. Krasno and Dr. Ebenezer Ayesu, illustrates her concern for power over natural resources.


Alanna Savage
Social Media Coordinator

Alanna Savage (Alanna@seedsofafrica.org) earned a B.A. in communication studies from UCLA and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) where she studied human rights, gender issues, communications, and advocacy. During her years at SIPA, Alanna did her capstone consultancy with the Hunger Project and interned for the UNiTE Campaign to End Violence Against Women.


Prior to pursuing her Master's Degree, Alanna was a Peace Corps education volunteer in the Domincan Republic where she managed the development of an HIV/AIDS education video series for teenagers, taught at several youth conferences with themes of girl empowerment and information technology, and facilitated English and environmental science classes. In her pre-Corps life, she worked on film and television projects in NYC and at a strategic communications firm in Alexandria, VA.


Alanna's passions include women's rights, social justice, education equality, film, art and architecture, history, literature, travel and food.