We build programs that empower people to create the future.

We build programs that empower people to create the future.

About Bon Education

Bon Education is an educational consultancy and program design studio. We engage with, research and understand our clients' problems, goals and values. Then we explore creative ways to translate those values into action.

Bon Education takes its name from the Japanese word bonsai - 盆栽. Both of Bon Education's founders started their education careers in Japan. “Bon” means a container for growth. When we design educational programs, we always endeavor to create containers for growth and conditions that are conducive to learning.

Explore this page to find out about Bon Education:

Our Impact

We believe in the power of programs to make the world a better place. Programs provide support. Programs teach new skills. Programs bring people together to meet and network. Programs expand horizons and open up new perspectives. Programs are all around us! Programming is how we organize our world. Programs can help your organization take responsibility for the impact that you are designing through a creative, systematic process.

We help our clients harness the power of programs to translate their values into action...not just talk.

Over the past 12 years, we have been fortunate to work with amazing clients, supporting their vision to reach out and empower thousands of people. Scale certainly does not tell the whole story, but it is an indicator of our capabilities.

Key Stats

2009 50,000 8+ years
More than a decade of experience building programs in developing markets More than 50,000 beneficiaries directly impacted through our programs Our clients stay with us, some for up to 8 years or more!

Read some case studies about the projects that we have completed over the past decade.

Our Approach

We design solutions using a programmatic approach that considers the various systems involved in a particular area of focus. Based on our analysis of those systems, we propose solutions that create sustainable engagement, motivation and learning over time.

These systems may include:

  • National and international priorities (like the UN SDGs)
  • Local and community-based factors
  • Individual intrinsic and extrinsic systems of motivation
  • Governing frameworks (like national curriculums)

By taking a holistic, ecological view of programs, we are able to deliver programs that are more sustainable.

Our approach to learning design draws on a multi-dimensional framework with many influences. Our core design philosophy centers around these main theories:

  • Challenge & Project-Based Learning
  • Design & Innovation Studios
  • Social Constructivism
  • Universal Design for Learning

Our Team

We are a team of learning designers, program managers, coaches and consultants. Our team has experience designing and delivering learning programs, content and engagement initiatives for organizations across the Middle East, North America and Asia.

Anna Batchelder, CEO & Co-Founder

Anna is passionate about using experiential education and technology to promote meaningful learning, cross-cultural understanding and great ideas. She has lived and worked in the UAE for 12 years and has led education program development, product development and professional development initiatives for organizations across the Middle East, North America and Asia for nearly 20 years. Anna regularly presents on topics about learning, mentorship and coaching. Anna holds an MA in International and Comparative Education from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from the College of William and Mary, with additional studies at the Columbia Business School, Oxford University and The Coaches Training Institute. She is a mother of three, yogi, entrepreneur, wife, CPCC (certified professional co-active coach), and lover of travel and learning.

Christopher Batchelder, Creative Director & Co-Founder

Christopher is a creative ideator, designer and learning experience curator. He draws from a vast collection of diverse interests to find inspiration for his learning and education designs. He has lived and worked in the Middle East for 18 years and has led creative multidisciplinary teams in the UAE to develop experiential STEM programs, cyber defense and computer learning workshops, entrepreneurship trainings, hospitality trainings, online virtual learning modules, hands­-on leadership and coaching programs and interactive courses for prison inmates, to name a few. Christopher’s first question to ask when designing is, “What if I didn’t know ANYTHING about this problem? Where would I start? What would we create?” Christopher holds a professional certification in coaching from The Coaches Training Institute. He studied Ancient Greek Classics at Northwestern, receiving his BA from the Weinberg College of Arts and Science. He has worked and lived across the Middle East, Asia and North America and is a dedicated, life­long multiculturalist and art lover.

Vanessa Rodbard, Senior Education Program Manager

Vanessa has spent most of her life living and working overseas, including Asia (8 years), Europe (2 years) and the Middle East (14 years). This has influenced her work, which ranges from arts and culture organizations, creative agencies, media and events companies. For the past three years, Vanessa has been a commercial and project management consultant, working in the arts and culture, entrepreneurship and education sectors. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Vanessa holds a BA in Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a mother of two, and in her free time, Vanessa enjoys travel, the outdoors, sports, cooking and entertaining.

Danna Herradura, Program Operations Manager

Danna’s interest in organizing programs and creating experiences started when she worked as a backstage assistant and stage manager for various theatre shows in her university years. Her passion for empowering and enriching lives through the creation of heart-centered projects led her to pursue a career in a start-up company that aims to enable anyone, including those without bank accounts, to easily access financial services in the Philippines. Her experience varies from spearheading fundraisers for nonprofits, hackathons for start-ups, tours and shows for multinational companies to camps and workshops for schools and government organizations. Having coordinated multiple trainings, workshops and long-term educational programs for clients across the country, Danna understands what it takes to run effective learning programs in the UAE and works tirelessly to ensure their successful delivery. She holds a BA in Communication Arts from the University of the Philippines and a minor in Theatre Arts.

Riham Alhamdan, Program Coordinator

Riham has experience in education, administration, operations management and creative problem solving. Riham’s passion for education and learning began when she established a tutoring program in her high school for her fellow peers. She also led an environmental club where she worked on spreading awareness and initiating activities that positively influenced society. Her desire to impact and support others led her to continue her journey in the education field. Riham was born in the UAE and has lived there for 18 years; she also lived in Cyprus for six years. Riham worked as an assistant to a professor in the business faculty for five years and worked for one year in a university admissions office. Riham, who is Syrian, is bilingual (English, Arabic) and holds a BSc in Banking and Finance and a Master of Science degree in Business Management from Girne American University, Cyprus.

David Cornwell, Content Writer & Editor

David is a writer and teacher who has lived and worked on the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. David has a strong background in the arts (he is a published novelist, a musician and a film producer), but he is equally at home in the classroom, having taught in high schools, universities and language centers in his home country of South Africa and abroad. David considers himself an idealist about the role of education in transforming society, and he draws inspiration from emerging trends such as the gamification of learning. David holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinctions in English and Philosophy from Rhodes University, as well as a Master of Arts with distinction from the University of Cape Town, where his thesis supervisor was Damon Galgut (winner of the 2021 Booker Prize).

Pam Lansdell, Learning and Visual Designer

Pam is a designer and lecturer who has extensive experience in the creative and academic industries. She has lived and worked in South Africa (her home country) and the United Kingdom. Pam has a passion for solving design problems through creative thinking principles. After working in the industry for 25 years, she moved into lecturing graphic design, where she was able to impact the young creative minds of the future. Her belief is that through co-design and inclusive thinking, a more accessible future can be achieved for all. Pam holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Graphic Design from Vega School, South Africa, and she is currently completing her Masters in Graphic Design at the University of Johannesburg. Pam sees herself as a lifelong learner with a thirst for research and continuous development. She is a mother of two, a wife and has a love of natural horsemanship, equine theatre and travelling to lesser-known, off-the-beaten track destinations.

Karen Hart, Project Manager and Education Consultant

Karen relishes the learning opportunities created by the intersection of technology, innovation and education. She has been a Program Facilitator and Accessibility Specialist since 2014, and she consulted in the Gulf Region since 2018 on Inclusion and Accessibility in Education. She made the UAE her home in 2020, where she focused on working with schools as an Apple Professional Learning Specialist. She has extensive experience in program development, design and implementation, including customized professional development plans, app development, illustration and design of interactive language acquisition books for the Deaf and digital textbooks in South African Sign Language. Her work with the Deaf community in South Africa has been recognized by the Library of Congress Literacy Awards in Washington D.C. Karen holds a degree in Performing Arts Technology from the Tshwane University of Technology. She is a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP), a book lover, an artist and an avid mountain biker.

Yousra Diab, Project and Client Manager

Yousra is passionate about impact programs, social entrepreneurship and education.  She has led various programs supporting social entrepreneurs to become active agents of positive change and maximize their positive impact on the community.  She is equally passionate about education, with experience of working on a global platform that aims to be a catalyst in redefining education to ensure a future that is prosperous, sustainable, innovative and accessible to all.  Prior to this career shift, she worked in the banking sector for over 10 years, in both conventional and Islamic finance across the Middle East region.  Yousra holds a BA from the American University in Cairo with a major in Business Administration and specialisation in Finance. She holds an MBA from the same university. In addition, Yousra is a yoga teacher in Dubai, with more than 750 hours of Yoga Teacher Training certification.  

Samia Hasan, Consultant Coach and Facilitator

Samia works with Bon Education as a Consultant Coach and Facilitator. She is also Founder of Unwind the Grind, a career development platform for Millennials/Gen Z. She blends her 16 years of leadership, career coaching and marketing experience with Fortune 500 companies globally to help young adults transition to purposeful, thriving careers. With 750+ hours of ICF certified, strengths-based coaching experience working with people across 30+ industries around the world, Samia specializes in helping individuals discover their career purpose. She works with international organizations, enabling them to motivate and retain their workforces and build their leadership capabilities. As a budding thought leader, Samia writes about career development topics as a regular contributor at The Huffington Post, Thomson Reuters, and Entrepreneur ME. She has lived and worked in the UAE for 25 years.

Eya Othmane, Consultant STEM Content Developer

Eya is an embedded software engineer with a passion for education that was big enough to transform into a career. She has designed a wide array of activities and curricula covering subjects such as coding, robotics, science and mathematics, and she has taught students from the UAE, Tunisia, USA, Kenya, Cameroon and Pakistan. Her engineering background means she has a passion for technology, and especially using technology to solve social issues stemming from inequality. Eya co-designed an affordable water storage unit that provides clean drinking water to those without access to this basic need, a project which came in first place at the 2019 Afric’Up Startup Summit.

Jo Christopher, Consultant STEM Facilitator

Jo is passionate about STEM and loves to get people involved in the subject! She started off her career as a STEM Consultant while working as a research scientist in the field of wound healing for a US pharmaceutical company. Since then, she has worked for and on behalf of other blue-chip companies, private institutions, government and charitable organizations, in the areas of STEM outreach, recruitment and selection. She holds an MSc in Instrumental Chemical Analysis from Liverpool John Moores University, and a PGCE in Secondary Science Education from Manchester Metropolitan University. She also holds qualifications in personnel management, sports psychology, sports coaching and dressmaking! Jo moved to the UAE from the UK seven years ago. As well as her love of all things STEM-related, Jo loves sport, watching live music, dressmaking and travel.

Extended Team, via interstory Network

In addition to the core team, we engage consultants and advisors from the interstory network to support our work. interstory is a global community of program directors, L&D managers, community organizers, civil servants, marketing and CSR professionals who support each other in creating, leading and managing high-impact programs. Our network includes program professionals across the world specializing in museums, STEM, culture, workforce readiness and more.


Contact Bon Education

Reach out to us to start a discussion about how we can create positive impact together!