Image of Logos of E&O, Paper Boat, and Eliot's Face

Jesuans unite to create learning spaces for vulnerable children

Paper Boat is a UK-based charity working in some of the poorest communities in India and Thailand, voyaging towards a world that unlocks the infinite potential of every child. Their purpose is to listen to young people – inspiring and enabling them to change their world.

They achieve this by helping to shape playful and creative learning spaces, called Children’s Hubs, at the heart of marginalised communities through innovative partnerships such as their recently established collaboration with a strategic funding partnership with LA based asset management company Wilshire Skyline which is run by another Jesuan, Dr Alan Nissel (1997). At the core of this partnership lies a shared ambition to unlock the creative potential of children by giving them a platform that will help to strengthen and amplify their voice – voices that have all too often been silenced.

Dr Kemal Shaheen (1995) is the Director of Paper Boat and has 21 years’ experience in the international development and voluntary sector. Since 1999 he has worked for a number of non-profits and development organisations from the very large (Christian Aid) to the very small (Village Aid and Paper Boat). This has included 10 years’ experience in programme management (across Africa, Latin America and Asia) and five years at Director level. Kemal has a deep interest in, and has pursued a career that has enabled him to challenge, exclusion and inequality in multiple forms. He has a broad set of skills that have enabled him to facilitate growth and change in diverse cultural contexts with experience in strategy development for organisational transformation, project research and design, programme management and partnership development. He has helped to secure over £1,000,000 funding for, and led on, transformative programmes in education, conflict mediation, sustainable natural resource usage and disability rights. Kemal holds a degree in Social and Political Sciences from Jesus College and a PhD exploring educational exclusion and caste discrimination from Canterbury Christ Church University.


Dr Alan Nissel (1997) is an Assistant Professor at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law and Managing Principal at Wilshire Skyline. At Pepperdine, he teaches international and property law and is the Faculty Director of the Palmer Center for Law & Entrepreneurship. At Wilshire Skyline, he oversees acquisition, development and management of a real estate portfolio. Prior to his time at Wilshire Skyline, Alan worked as an equity research analyst in London focusing on the emerging market banking sector. Following the 9/11 attacks, he left the private sector, serving as a consultant advising governments and non- governmental organizations on matters ranging from the human right to property to international law enforcement actions. After completing a BA in Law from Jesus College, Alan received an LL.M. from NYU School of Law and an LL.D. from the University of Helsinki, where he completed his doctoral dissertation on the history of international law.


Paper Boat and Eliot’s Face

Paper Boat recently teamed up with another non-profit organisation working in India and Thailand, Equal & Opposite (E&O), which is run by Jesuan, William Harnden (2005). E&Os objective is to make international development more effective through exchange. The organisation frequently runs regular 3-month internships, which can be taken on part time alongside studies – and are conducted virtually – each involving hands on support from interns to grassroots NGOs around the world.

William works as an international development advisor and consultant to various local and international nonprofits and social enterprises. He previously held positions with the United Nations, as the Director of a UK charity and a Regional Project Development Manager for a French International NGO.  Since 2009, William has lived in both Timor-Leste and Thailand, and travelled widely across the Americas, Europe, and South East Asia, engaging with different types of NGOs, donors, and local communities. He came up with the idea for Equal & Opposite based on these experiences, and a desire to make international cooperation more effective. 

Equal and Opposite, Paper Boat and Wilshire Skyline are exploring opportunities for collaborating with students from Jesus College to help shape innovative and creative learning spaces for children in some of the hardest to reach communities in India. Using photography and visual story telling – children in India will develop a set of crucial 21st Century Skills (creativity, critical thinking, complex problem solving, empathy, mindfulness and the ability to see things from different perspectives) whilst showcasing their creativity to others. A short article features in the current version of Eliot’s Face laying the foundations for a project that will enable students from Jesus College to take part in shared creative learning journeys with children in India. And, at the same time, benefit from internship opportunities across the partnership providing valuable work experience and contributing to effective international cooperation.   

To find out more about Paper Boat’s unique approach to inspiring and enabling children to change their world please visit

To find our more about Equal and Opposite’s unique approach towards making international cooperation more effective please visit