Our Team

Talitha - team Roots Interns

Talitha van der Waerden

General Manager

Talitha has a hugely varied CV; she’s worked as a tour leader in the Middle East, as a communications consultant, and a project manager developing change management campaigns for big multinationals. In 2012, Talitha took a break from her career in the Netherlands to travel, explore new places and use her skills for a good cause during a work placement with a nonprofit in Cape Town. Three months turned into six, and eventually into a job coordinating events and experiences. Talitha is now excited to manage Roots, and enable others to have fulfilling volunteer work placements in Africa. Having been in your shoes, she knows how important it is to find the right match between individuals and organisations, and she goes out of her way to create the most rewarding experience for all involved.

Roots Interns team

marleen lammers

Co-Founder & Director

Marleen (pronounced ‘Marlane’ – sensitive subject) started her career as a broadcasting journalist in the Netherlands, but was drawn to African adventure and moved to Zambia a decade-and-a-half ago. For several years, she developed and managed community and conservation volunteer projects on the ground in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, before moving into communications and strategic development in the nonprofit sector in Cape Town. She is also a freelance writer, and a co-founder of Penda Photo Tours, a photography travel company and aligned charity, Penda Trust.

Tabitha - team roots Interns


Communications & Marketing Intern

Tabitha joined us for a remote marketing internship from her home in Jackson, Michigan. She’s a student at Baker College, where she is doing her BSA in Marketing, and she’s also working as an assistant teacher at a non-profit preschool. Tabitha has a passion for both the nonprofit sector and the marketing field, and loves being able to contribute to the Roots Intern mission. She’s also a mild coffee addict, and aspires to run her own coffee shop one day.

Taylor - team Roots Interns

TAylor schott

Creative Writing Intern

Taylor comes to us from Holland, on the shores of Lake Michigan in the United States, working remotely as a writing intern. An incoming sophomore at the University of Michigan studying Fine Arts and Writing, Taylor has an affinity for bold journalism and artful writing – a passion she brings to us as our summer intern. Taylor is incredibly excited to deliver honest prose and perceptive research for Roots, an organization that she feels truly embodies the combination of a meaningful personal experience with benevolent world action.

Roots Interns team

Misha teasdale


Misha has a strong passion for driving change and a gung-ho attitude to match it. In 2010, he decided to take a break from documentary making to plant a thousand trees in underprivileged communities of Cape Town to compensate for his carbon footprint – and he hasn’t stopped since. That was the start of Greenpop, now an environmental organisation with an impressive list of accomplishments and a unique ability to get people from different levels of society active for climate change. Through Roots, Misha sees an opportunity to drive further change while providing people with powerful learning experiences.

Roots Interns team

lauren o’donnell


With a passion for people, Lauren spends her days inspiring individuals from all walks of life to be active citizens and contribute to a healthier planet. Lauren is not only a co-founder of Roots, but also the Managing Director of Greenpop, where she is continually looking for ways to run an organisation differently, more organically and yet also professionally. As she has a background in and passion for education, Lauren is excited about being able to provide both meaningful and educational work experiences to people from around the world.