Saskia has spent the last decade working in some of the world’s most conflicted areas - from Kosovo, Gaza, to the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was the United Nation’s youngest ever employee aged 24, and is one of a relatively small cohort of women working on conflict, stabilisation and anti-radicalisation issues – areas traditionally dominated by men.
In Gaza, Saskia set up and ran the UN's largest ever community engagement programme despite military incursions, an economic embargo and threats by extremist groups. ‘Summer Games’ provided 250,000 Gazan children every summer with opportunities to both play and learn, and in doing so taught children the values that form the fabric of civilised society - respect for others; tolerance ; the concept of rights, but also responsibilities. The initiative has had lasting impact on social dynamics in Gaza.
Saskia has been fearless in seeking to deliver real change for people who are in often desperate situations. Particularly with Summer Games, Saskia gave over and above what might be expected– putting her own life at risk to ensure the initiative went ahead, to give children hope, and to perhaps help contribute, one day, to a peaceful resolution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Saskia continues to work on addressing socio-political challenges in difficult parts of the world, most recently in Tunisia where she is leading a programme with young men at risk of joining fundamentalist groups in Syria and Iraq. She maintains her links to the Middle East and runs, in her spare time, a small charity called Hope and Play working with grassroots organisations in Gaza.