Professor - School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Shilpa Phadke is an Associate Professor at the School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
She is co-author of Why Loiter? Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets (20110 and co-director of the documentary, Under the Open Sky (2017). She has published widely both academically and in popular media.
Her areas of interest include cities and public spaces, middle-class sexuality, practices of consumption, feminist pedagogy, feminist mothering, young women's relationship with feminism, online public spaces.
Priya is the Lead for Gender Justice and Persons with Disabilities Clusters within The Azim Premji Philanthropy. Priya has worked with The Philanthropy for over four years now in various capacities – Finance, Programmes, Portfolio Lead, and now Cluster Lead for two of the largest clusters. A Chartered Accountant by Profession, she has spent the first few years of her career at Deloitte, EY, and Infosys. She has also worked as a Financial Analyst in one of the start-ups of Nadathur Holdings. She soon realized that she has more interest in development issues and spent about 10 years with the British Government in India, working on Healthcare and Life Sciences as a National Lead. Priya holds deep empathy and connects with the vulnerable particularly with women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence and abuse. An avid reader of the different waves of Feminism the world has seen, student of a Masters in Gender and Women's Studies, TEDx Speaker and traveler, Priya tries to learn Carnatic music (intermittently) in her spare time. She feels she is able to follow every dream purely because of her dedicated fitness walks, exercise, and the Universal Energy – Reiki!
Co-founder, Our Streets Now
Maya Tutton is the co-founder of the grassroots, youth-led Our Streets Now campaign to end public sexual harassment.
With over half a million supporters, the campaign has prompted a nationwide conversation around the issue of harassment in public places.
Calling for both legislative and educational change, Our Streets Now aims to tackle public sexual harassment through a multi-faceted approach.
Founder, Take Back The Night Foundation
Katie Koestner is an internationally recognized author, activist, and educator. As the first woman in history to speak out nationally as the victim of acquaintance rape, she appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine at age 18. She has also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC Talk Live, CNN, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Later Today, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight and other national television programs. Katie is the subject of an HBO movie and has lectured at over 5000 schools and universities around the world. Ms. Koestner is the founder of the Take Back the Night Foundation, which is an international organization working to end sexual violence, support survivors and raise awareness.
Ms. Koestner has assisted the US Department of Education in developing and providing programs to women in high risk communities. Her testimony on Capitol Hill was instrumental in the passage of federal student safety legislation. She has presented to the Division 1 Basketball Coaches at the Final Four and to Chinese Delegates at the UN. The US Ambassador to India has invited Ms. Koestner to lecture for 19 days in India, and the US Department of Defense has had Ms. Koestner train their top 200 officers. In 2007, Coe College awarded her an honorary doctorate for her extensive work on student safety and public service.
President Girl Up
Lakshmi, is a 19 year old engineering student and President of Girl Up Bengaluru. Being a feminist by heart, and passionate about girls' rights and education, she believe that the youth play a key role in taking the movement forward and bringing about real, tangible change. Platforms like NGAGE inspire her to use her voice to have meaningful conversations.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading and writing poetry and hopes to use these traits to change the world, one step at a time.
Screenwriter and Filmmaker
Triparna Banerjee is a screenwriter and filmmaker. Her first film as Associate Producer Frozen, premiered at Toronto International Film Festival and has been awarded worldwide and conferred with 2 National Awards in India.
She is a 2019 Film Independent’s Global Media Maker fellow. Her films as a writer have been presented at development labs like – Cinéfondation at Cannes, Asian Project Market at Busan and HAF at Hong Kong. She writes in English, Hindi and Bengali. She is the scriptwriter and impact producer of the documentary ‘From the Shadow’.
Passionate about creating change in society through her artistic skills, she is a core member of NGO Good Universe, and works on creating awareness on women’s reproductive health and climate change. She is developing her first independent feature film as a director titled – ‘Riding on the Moon Boat’, which is selected for Asian Project Market Busan International Film Festival 2021.
Youth Engagement Strategist, Durga
Margaret is the Youth Engagement Strategist and works with the VOICE team. She has been working in the field of Education and Youth for more than five years.
Margaret believes that the youth play a crucial role in building a society and bridging the gaps. This onus should be felt first and then acted upon.
Executive Director, The Yp Foundation
Manak is a feminist, and queer activist who works on issues of gender justice, sexuality rights, health equity and inclusive education.
Manak is part of the women's rights and queer rights movement in India and currently leads The YP Foundation, an organisation that develops young people's rights-based, feminist and intersectional leadership of social change.
Founder - Director at Filament Pictures
Miriam Chandy Menacherry is the Founder –Director at Filament Pictures Began her career as a reporter and then went on to direct programmes for BBC World and National Geographic Channel.
She founded Filament Pictures in 2005 to craft meaningful socially conscious films from South Asia. Her brand of creative documentaries have won international acclaim. Her last film Lyari Notes Co directed and Co Produced with Pakistan filmmaker Maheen Zia on music and resistance had its world premiere at IDFA where it was nominated for an award and also for the Youth Jury Award at Sheffield. It was the opening film at the Kochi Biennale and was broadcast on Al Jazeera.
Her film The Rat Race on the true-life narratives of Mumbai’s rat killers won the Mipdoc Co-Production Challenge at Cannes and awards at Florence and Kerala. The film had broadcasts on Netflix, Arte, YLE, RSI, DR and NDTV.
Both films had limited theatrical release in India as well as USA.
She is currently working on her feature documentary From the Shadows that explores the intersection of art and activism bringing to light the stories of survivors of child sex trafficking fighting for justice, selected for eight international forums including as part of the Global Media Makers Program 2019-2020 by Film Independent and the US State Department.
Bharat is a specialist in the area of Education, Gender and Communication. He has more than three decades of experience around programming, research, and training.
He has been associated with Vishakha right from the foundation and has led most of the major programs in Vishakha.
He is an expert in conducting training among varied groups, building perspective and planning initiatives around issues of gender and education.
He has designed various communication strategies and tools, organized campaigns for rural audiences, facilitated special workshops on dealing with stress and emotion.
Vishala V is a freelance screenwriter and a mental health warrior. She believes that stories - fictitious as well as real, personal experiences - connect us in the truest sense.
Through Durga Listens, she wants to defeat patriarchy, gradually but certainly.
She also co-owns a children's bookstore in Bangalore where you'd find more books with girl-protagonists!
Afreen Akhtar is a writer, activist, and the founder of a sustainable thrift store, Ismat Store. She is also a sound artist at Transmitterance. She seeks to promote awareness about social issues, especially those related to women and children through discourse and dialogue.
The most famous ones being ‘Kya Yaad Hai Aapko’ which is about her own experience as a child sexual
abuse survivor, ‘Dupatta’ that revolves the societal pressures a woman has to deal with and
‘Prophets of Patriarchy’ based on the anti-abortion laws passed in different states of America in
She has a YouTube channel and numerous other stories to her credit that she has performed on various stages including TEDx Gateway, UN Women, The Wire, etc. Apart from storytelling, she has worked for RAHI, an NGO that works with women survivors of incest and child sexual abuse. Afreen is committed to bringing change through conversation, exposition
and action. As of now, she is working on translating Parveen Shakir’s work from Urdu to English
to pass her time.
Manager, Association for Women’s Rights in Development
Gopika is an Indian feminist campaigner, whose experience is rooted in working with women & diverse young people on issues including access to justice, sexual & gender-based violence, gender & sexuality, and labour rights. She currently manages the Resourcing Feminist Movements programme at global movement-support organisation, AWID.
She has worked on regional and national campaigns to end gender-based violence across Asia. She is passionate about the intersection of feminist activism & creative practice, and was an editor and Equitable Practices Lead for 'Bystander Anthology' by South Asian graphic story-telling group Kadak Collective.
As one of the facilitators in the Building Blocks Team, Simi works effortlessly with participants of diverse age groups and equips each of them to grow beyond gender. She incorporates storytelling and Forum Theatre in her Facilitation engagements.
Through myriad hues of life experiences all day every day, some days when you hear the word Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot over the 122.925 MHz radio band Simi is the qualified aviatrix; some other days when you see her doffing her helmet and yelling Chapeau to a fellow rider, she is a skilled cycling addict; sometimes she is shaking the perfect martini and managing an establishment with orchestrated precision from her vantage point.
Then there are days you might see her playing roles ranging from carefree full belly laughter to intense non-glycerine-d tears at a film shoot.
But the best days are when she knows she has contributed to making a tiny shift in someone’s life for the better. She strongly believes in the quote by Human Rights Activist, Waris Dirie, “What happens to the least of us, has an effect on all of us.”
Head of Mobilization and Communications, Breakthrough
Yogita leads Breakthrough's Resource Mobilisation and Communications efforts and is passionate about working to transform gender norms that prevent women and girls from realising their full potential.
She has over 20 years of work experience across the development and corporate sectors.
Flow Artist and Senior Consultant Brillio Technologies
Javed is a 25 year old fire performer who started playing with sticks in 2016 when a fire performer in Goa piqued his interest. Being a fidgety & hyperactive child always spinning pens, spinning sticks came naturally to him.
It was much later that he discovered that he had stumbled upon what was a very avant-garde multidisciplinary performance art form combining disciplines like martial arts,circus arts and dance, aptly termed the flow arts. The flow arts range across a wide variety of art and sport forms but can be distinguished from the others because the fundamental goal of the performer or practitioner is to be in flow. The art form has had a significant positive impact on his life improving his focus and attention along with his physical health.
Presently he practices with staffs, poi, hoops, buggeng, juggling,capoeira, yoga, animal flow skateboarding & slacklining to challenge himself and to try and find flow almost everyday in his life. The last 2 years he has dedicated his time and energy trying to spread the wonder and joy surrounding flow arts by sharing his practice through social media and also performing & teaching whenever time & predicament allowed.
A proud feminist and a recent aerospace graduate navigating through her career being one of the few women in STEM.
She believes that it's each and everyone of our duty to create safe spaces for those around us. These safe spaces can help break the systems of biases that push women and people of colour out of STEM careers. She have had the opportunity to work with fellow students and juniors in trying to create a space where individuals feel safe to talk about ideas and express their views. These safe spaces go beyond the regular peer dynamics and it has helped contribute to addressing grievance at an emotional level.
Its up to all of us, especially the youth to create a safe and equitable society
Humanities Student at Azim Premji University, Volunteer at Durga
Vibushita Bhat is a twenty-year old second year Humanities student at the Azim Premji University. She is an eager history and literature student who absolutely loves research.
She has strong opinions and strong emotions and is learning how to make them her strengths and a part of her voice. She is very passionate about issues related to gender, sexuality, religion and the environment. She co-authored Durga's workshop module for children to de-mystify gender stereotypes and sexual harassment for primary and middle school students.
She also writes a few conversational pieces for Durga's blog and volunteers as a facilitator during her spare time. Fun facts about her — a new dog mom, a sucker for a good cry, and a coffee enthusiast.
Projects Manager, Zubaan
Bidisha is a Projects Manager at Zubaan, working on issues related to labour, violence, knowledge and cultural production, with a focus on gender. She has a bachelor’s degree in law and a master’s degree in development and labour studies.
She has previously worked on peace-building, conflict resolution, gender-based violence and livelihood issues with women’s collectives in Northeast India and has volunteering experience with state human rights commissions (focusing on GBV and police impunity in ‘disturbed areas’).
Programmes and Editorial at Charkha Development Communication Network
A development journalist and disaster management professional, Chetna has worked for over 9 years across J&K, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Assam, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
Her research work focuses on women’s agency in different contexts. She has presented her work at national & international platforms. In 2014, she was selected for the National Media Fellowship by National Foundation of India (NFI) to highlight stories on women's health in the context of climate change.
In 2014 and 2015, she received the prestigious Laadli Media and Advertising Award for her reporting on gender-sensitive issues from rural India. She continues to teach rural journalism in rural and remote areas of the country.
Assistant Facilitator, Durga
Kevin is an Assistant Facilitator and works with the Voice and DARE teams at Durga. Believing in the power of unconventional approaches and creative expression, he recently started his work in the field immediately after completing his Bachelor of Arts in English, Journalism and Psychology.
Kevin is a Mouth Music Artist by passion (creates music with his voice) and has been in this field for over 4 years. He believes in the groundbreaking quality of the human voice, the unconditional power of conversations with youth, and also teaches children & people across the country.
A Podcaster & a Cyclist, he dreams of a future where, youth hold the power to change the world through expression & self-sustainability for all its communities.
Exploring the untapped possibility and multi-disciplinary aspect of mental health, conversation & art in music, he hopes that one day everyone in our society will be able to access required resources.
Program Coordinator, Voice and Dare
Pushpita is an MBA graduate and passionate about social work. Her happiness lies in giving back to the society for the less-privileged.
Happy faces make her feel like her life has a purpose. Making society safer day-by- day for women is her aim and urges everyone to be a part of the change as women’s safety is not just a woman’s problem. She wants to build a self-sustained and self reliant society that looks out for one another.
Biker at heart, Pushpita is an active member of Rotaract. She loves reading books, exploring places and making new friends
Programme Coordinator, Building Blocks
Abirami is a social worker by profession and passion and has been working as one of the program coordinators and facilitators in Durga since 2020.
Abirami leads a life driven by passion, trying to contribute to positive changes in society at each step.
She is a certified Scuba Diver, First Aid & CPR Provider and a marine conservation enthusiast. Being a motorcycle rider makes her exploration of life challenging and exciting. She is a proud NCC Cadet (National Cadet Corps), and gives credits to NCC for a large part of what she is now!
At Durga, Meenakshi leads corporate engagements, manages programmes deliverables and sits on POSH committees. She further manages and maintains relations with government and quasi government agencies.
Besides her work at Durga, she is a person with many facets that come to the fore depending on who is interacting with her. She is an avid reader, listens to every genre of music and enjoys cooking as a stress-buster.
She loves the play of energies and helps people balance their energies through Reiki (The Universal Energy). She is a Grand Master and teaches Reiki too. Crystal healing, Angel Therapy and Redikall therapy are the other healing modalities she practices.
She has published a book of short stories and writes poetry, articles and posts on any topic she fancies.
Program Facilitator, Durga
Thejaswini is an engagement catalyst for positive reinforcement of women’s safety in adolescent children and women from vulnerable backgrounds. She hopes to create safety across various communities.
Earlier to this, Thejaswini has donned several hats at Durga during her 3+ years with the organisation. She has been the impact measurement officer - understood different aspects of women’s safety, the accountant - managed data, finance and handled accounts, the facilitator - engaged with bus drivers, conductors and depot staff in the effort to sensitize them and reinforce the need for their role in women safety as active bystanders. She has been part of news media, radio, and in conversations with social entrepreneurs for her work on women’s safety.
Thejaswini, an MBA graduate in HR & IT, had always wanted to be an HR person in corporate. But with her past experience as HR Recruiter, she realised her interest lies in interacting with people. That was what brought her to this field of work. She likes music and dance and encourages her kids to pursue their interests which are quite similar to hers. When not at Durga, one would find her engrossed in art activities.
Director and CEO, Red Dot Foundation
A writer, film director, a gender activist and a yoga acharya, Supreet has transitioned from 15 years of corporate experience to being an award-winning filmmaker & championing an NGO.
A partner at Red Dot Foundation, Safecity, she overlooks the functioning of the organization and specifically handles the operations, marketing as well as creating campaigns to engage women and men in solutions and designing partnerships globally. \
She is a certified personal counsellor and conducts workshops creating awareness about sexual violence with children, communities and corporates.
Board Member, ChalkBack
Anshika Rai’s pronouns are She/Her. She is a 21 year old from West Bengal, India and is currently a student in Geology. Last year when she discovered catcallsofnyc, she started her page of catcallsofbharat_ and later co-founded catcallsofwb.
She didn't just find her community but her voice with Chalkback. She realized that this would work wonders in India. It could make noise without a sound. It could turn heads and start conversations that were far from being started. Catcallsofdelhi was the first Indian account she came across and the way they were working in Delhi was something that she strived for in West Bengal.
She was recently nominated as a member of the board for chalkback and it is an incredible honor. She looks forward to working with chalkback and contributing everything that she has to it.
Founder, Humans of Safe Places
Shorya Mittal, an engineer by profession, is a humanitarian amidst people solely working on logic.
She started the organisation Humans of Safe Places while still in college, as a result of being surrounded by issues herself that she thought needed to be talked about and shared with people.
Currently incubated under the Innovations Marketplace by UNDP, she is the founder of Humans of Safe Places, an organisation on a mission to create more and more empathetic, non judgemental communities along with working at the intersection of emotional and social wellness of individuals.
Neha is a filmmaker by profession and has worked on various documentaries and Ad films. She is passionate about social work and is keen on working towards the rights of women and children.
She loves travelling, experiencing cultures, listening to people's stories and feeling one with nature.
Senior Consultant, M&E and Supporter of Durga
Devyani Srinivasan has over 14 years’ experience in the social sector, with a focus on research and M&E. Her clients include Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies (RNP) and Oxfam in India, and IFAD in Afghanistan and Kenya. She has facilitated the creation of M&E frameworks for 10 RNP grantees in the Young Men and Boys vertical, and conducted evaluations for learning with 5 of them.
She has also worked in practitioner organizations, making her sensitive to the organizational and implementation challenges of such organizations. She possesses a B.A. from Wesleyan University in the U.S., and a M.Sc.Pl. from the University of Toronto in Canada.
Garima Rao, is a first-year Law student at National Law University, Odisha. She has always believed in giving a voice to the voiceless and spreading awareness on the aspects she knows.
She believes in sharing her personal experiences, because even if the ripple is not imminent, if it helps any one person, it is a change.
Artistic Director, Untitled Arts Foundation
Anuradha is presently the Artistic director of Untitled Arts an NGO working towards developing cultural living rooms within communities and is the Founder of The Big Fat Company.
She is a prolific theatre artist who has been practising her art for 25 years and worked with various theatre troupes like BLT, Sanchaya, Sneha to name a few. She has acted in over 60 plays and worked on over 95 plus productions. Some of her key plays include, Media, Antigone, Harekeya kuri, Mahachaitra, Lakshapathi Raja, Yayathi, Midsummers night dream, Macbeth, Prathibinbagalu and Rudali.
She is the recipient of the state level best actress for the play Media (1998). Her notable project is Project Nadya sponsored by the commonwealth along with BLT & Royal National theatre (1997- 99), She has worked with children as a theatre consultant with Times of India for their NIE division (1996-98) and as the head of theatre department in DPS, Bangalore(1999-2000) and has Directed a couple of plays for young adults based on Yashwath Chithalla’s short stories and a lot of short plays for children based on folk and other stories.
Besides theatre she has also translated some works from Hindi to Kannda and has worked extensively in Theatre in education in schools and Theatre in learning for the corporate world. She is also an IFA grantee for her programme collaborative Arts for reading & literary skill enhancement at Govt Schools (2016-17). Her present work is in the area of art in education, gender sensitivity, body and movement with children and adolescents.
Program Manager, All India Queer Association
Sujitha (he/they) is a Dalit queer activist who believes that intersectionality is the only way to go. He is constantly looking for ways to correct the social inequities in the world he lives in. He provides aid of various kinds to people who need them both in his own capacity and by volunteering with All India Queer Association.
She is ever ready to welcome anything in her life with a smile and has the will to help others with the believe in rightly fighting back to the wrong and with her strength aims to be the voice of the people in need and hopes to bring a change.
Graduated with English literature and Post graduated in Women's Studies, she aims towards binding them together in building a voice for the ones unreached.
Founder, Civic Games Lab
Abeer Kapoor is a game designer, author and journalist. He is the founder of the Civic Games Lab, a games for social change studio in New Delhi.
He is the creator of 'The Poll: The Great Indian Election Game', 'Stories of Antarjaal Nagar' and several others. Kapoor is also the author of 'The Most Notorious Jailbreakers' (Rupa,2020) and 'Zoraver and the lost Gods' (Bloomsbury).
Founder/Director, Shadow Liberation
Evan Hastings has a passion for turning pain into medicine through theatre. His work illuminates the intersection of Drama Therapy and Theatre of the Oppressed, creating performative engagements that raise urgent issues in aesthetic dialogue.
Evan has had the honour of animating theatrical dialogue from the fault lines of war zones to the halls of Harvard, from working with prisoners in high security facilities to engaging families through open air performances in public spaces.
Evan is the Founder of Shadow Liberation, a participatory theatre method for facilitating sexual violence prevention. Utilizing trauma-informed and research-based practice, Shadow Liberation blends Drama Therapy and Theatre of the Oppressed (bystander intervention) with Shadow techniques.
Shadow Theatre offers distancing strategies conducive to representing traumatic material in abstracted ways. Shadow Liberation has engaged with communities across 18 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Oceana & North America.
Evan was a 3-time Faculty Fellow at Project Zero within Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. At Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, USA, Evan taught in the Masters in Teaching programme and the Bachelors in Expressive Therapies program.
In India, Evan taught Drama Therapy in the Foundation in Expressive and Creative Arts Therapies program at the Studio for Movement Art and Therapies, was faculty at Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design, and Technology, and visiting faculty at Xavier's College Mumbai.
Evan spent 2 years in Aotearoa New Zealand as the Artistic Director of the Theatre in Health Education Trust, during which time he taught at the University of Otago as an Honorary Fellow in Theatre Studies.