Alok and Jazz have been friends and colleagues for over 35 years, both starting their careers in London’s disability charity sector.
Jazz Shaban|Founding Director
Small Voice Projects started out in 2014 as Jazz’s own blog site who wanted to hone her writing skills in a safe space and share random observations about life and the world after publishing her first book. Born in London to Jordanian parents Jazz went to school in Chipping Norton in leafy Oxfordshire before embarking on a nomadic lifestyle of that has been the pattern for her career ever since. She studied film and photography at Northumbria University, and then International Communications and Development at City University in London.
Jazz’s own need for answers and search for cultural roots eventually took her down a disability and development path, cultivating a passion for authentic storytelling. For 23 years this has taken her around the world, and has earned her the title of ‘international vagabond’ by her family.
Alok is a businessman and has been a partner of the Ruia Family Group of textile brands set up by his Father who came to the UK from India in the late 1950’s. Starting work in the voluntary sector in 1987 as a Disability Awareness Trainer and a Community Development Officer setting up self-help groups for black, disabled people in the borough of Wandsworth. He then moved to teaching economics and business studies at a local school in Suffolk for 15 years.
Advances in audio description over the past 20 years and the creation of the Audible app, Alok believes have been a real “game changer” for people with a visual impairment and have enabled him to pursue his passion of theatre, cinema and sport.
Recently completing a Master of Studies in Social Innovation at Cambridge University from the Judge Business School, Alok is keen to test his new found knowledge on advancing the disability social justice model through supporting Small Voice Projects.