Our Team

Who we are

We are a dedicated group of social activists with a common goal: build a medical clinic in one of the most remote areas in the world. Through our unique individual skills, the Officers of Rise Up Development Collective have come together to create an efficient decision making body.

Meet us below!

Yaw Nutsugah – Local Advisor


Yaw is a native of the village of Wli Todzi, and a co- founder of the Rise Up Development Collective.  Fluent in 8 languages, and with a memory that no smartphone could compete with, Yaw manages the construction of the clinic, directs our internship program in Ghana, and provides support in Ghana for our Beads for Beehives program.  Not to mention he’s a professional drummer and dancer.  Without Yaw, the RUDC program would not exist, and both we and Wli Todzi are very grateful for his work.

Jeremy Kirshbaum – USA Executive Director

Jeremy met the people of Wli Todzi in 2010 after meeting Yaw Nutsugah, a native of the village, while studying abroad with UC-EAP.  While there, he made many dear friends in the village.  He has bachelors degrees in Politics and Economics from University of California, Santa Cruz.  He has conducted a variety of projects over the last few years, ranging from discussion groups to art festivals.  His favorite thing is talking with interesting people, something he finds no shortage of in Santa Cruz, or in Rise Up Development Collective.

Lucas Healy – Web Guru

Lucas Healy has spent a year and a half in Ghana, and spent a considerable amount of time in Wli Todzi. He is a recent graduate of University of California Santa Cruz and is currently working with the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) in Ghana. He is specialized in web development, and the use of mobile technologies for social advocacy. He enjoys travel, large meals, guitars, and long drives.

Lev Gorelov - Director of Partnerships


Lev Gorelov coordinates relations between the organization and its partners in U.S. These collaborations provide resources for RUDC to raise funds, attain necessary building material and medical equipment along with spreading the word of the cause and informing people of the struggles people face without primary healthcare. He works as a Case Manager for the marginalized and homeless in San Francisco and is pursuing a career in Social Work. On his free time he reads and volunteers at needle exchanges.
Ankush Garg – Finance Director

Ankush is the go-to person for all financial transactions in RUDC. He makes sure the funds make it overseas and that there is a steady stream of donations trickling into the organization’s coffers. He is a persuasive grant writer and an endowed researcher. Currently he works as an IT Analyst for a large company. On his free time he likes to involve himself in sports, working out and trying out new things.

Ian Barling – Media Director


A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Ian Barling accompanied both Jeremy Kirshbaum and Lucas Healey in their first visit to Wli Todzi in 2010. Ever since that fateful stay in the village, he has been putting his filmmaking background into good use in regards to the project as the Director of Media for RUDC. Ian has experience in many different media-related fields, having worked as an award-winning video editor, colorist, studio photography lighting assistant, director of photography, and producer. With the invaluable help of the rest of the RUDC team, as well as the people of Wli Todzi, Ian worked to produce a short documentary about the village, and is currently in the process of expanding the organization’s media content collection with a new, more in depth documentary concerning the current state and future plans of RUDC and the people of Wli Todzi.