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.
CEO and President, Breakthrough
Sohini Bhattacharya is an intrepid intrapreneur and social change enthusiast who has 25+ years of experience in the development sector. Currently she is CEO & President at Breakthrough, a transnational organization working in the U.S. and India using multi-media, popular culture, leadership development and community engagement strategies to prevent gender-based violence. Breakthrough works with 400,000 adolescents and 12,000 women and men across 5 states of India.
Sohini started her career working on an Unicef-funded project to create communication materials for the Year of the Girl-child. In 1992 she helped set up Jeevika Development Society, where she worked with rural women enabling them to start income generation and micro-credit programs.
In 1996 she co-founded Sanhita, a Gender Rights Centre, in Calcutta. She joined Ashoka Innovators for the Public, an international organisation focused on creating the field for social entrepreneurship in 2000, where she led institution building for the organisation in South Asia.
Sohini joined Breakthrough as a consultant in 2010, as the Resource Mobilisation head and helped the organisation scale up its annual budget. Later she also contributed significantly to the strategy for an initial growth phase of the organisation from 2012-2016. Sohini joined Breakthrough full-time in 2014 and became the CEO when the founder and president decided to step down in 2017.
Sohini serves on the advisory board of Dastkar, a national organization working with crafts and craftspeople. She is also a founding trustee of Read India, an organization that sets up libraries for rural communities to kickstart income generation initiatives and also serves on the board of Kolkata Sanved, an organization using the power of Dance Movement Therapy to work with underprivileged populations.
A feminist activist by training, Kamla Bhasin has been actively engaged with issues related to development, gender, education, media and others since 1970. Currently, she works with Sangat – A Feminist Network as Adviser as well as JAGORI, a Women’s Resource and Training Centre and Jagori Rural Charitable Trust as an active member. She is the South Asia Coordinator of One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women and girls; Co-Chair of the worldwide network Peace Women Across the Globe; and a member of South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR). Prior to this, she worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for 27 years. Kamla Bhasin is deeply engaged with issues related to gender, development, peace, identity politics, militarization, human rights and democracy and seeks to explore and articulate connections between these issues and to promote synergies between different movements. Her main work is at the South Asian level, and has included capacity building of South Asian and other young activists and networking amongst civil society organizations in South Asia. She has also been conducting gender sensitization workshops for senior non-governmental organization leaders and managers, government officials, police personnel, and members of Parliament in various countries in South Asia. Kamla Bhasin has written extensively on gender, women’s empowerment, participatory and sustainable development, participatory training, media and communication. Most of her books are written for activists and development workers. She has also written a large number of songs and slogans for the women's movement, books for children, and has created many posters and banners for various people’s movements. She is committed to the creation of a peaceful, democratic and pluralist South Asia. She lives in New Delhi, India.
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.
Executive Director, Point of View
Bishakha Datta (@busydot) works on gender and sexuality in digital spaces, runs the non-profit Point of View in Mumbai, writes and films non-fiction and is part of the wikipedia family. In all her work, Bishakha explores marginal, invisible, and silenced points of view - or those considered illegitimate.
Her documentary work includes In The Flesh, a film on the lives of three sex workers, and Taza Khabar, which explores Khabar Lahariya, a unique women-run rural newspaper. Books she edited include Nine Degrees of Justice, a collection of essays on the struggle against violence on women in India; and And Who Will Make the Chapatis?, an anthology on rural women's political participation. Award-winning online publications she’s founded include Deep Dives, which publishes long-form narratives on ‘the way we live now’ and Skin Stories, which runs first-person narratives at the intersections of gender, sexuality, and disability.
Since 2015, Bishakha has led Point of View’s flagship program on gender, sexuality and technology which equips and enables women, girls, trans and non-binary people to inhabit digital spaces – freely and fearlessly. Bishakha, who was a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation (of wikipedia fame), is currently on the board of the global non-profit Association for Progressive Communication.
Founder & CEO, Red Dot Foundation
ElsaMarie D’Silva is the Founder & CEO of Red Dot Foundation (India) and President of Red Dot Foundation Global (USA). Its platform, Safecity, crowdsources personal experiences of sexual violence and abuse in public spaces. ElsaMarie is a 2020 IWF Fellow and a Gratitude Network Fellow, 2019 Reagan Fascell Fellow, and a 2018 Yale World Fellow. She is an alumnus of the Stanford Draper Hills Summer School, the US State Department’s Fortune Mentoring Program, Oxford Chevening Gurukul and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Leadership Program. She is also a fellow with Rotary Peace, Aspen New Voices, Vital Voices and a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader.
She is listed as one of BBC Hindi’s 100 Women and has won several awards including Government of India Niti Aayog’s #WomenTransformingIndia award and The Digital Woman Award in Social Impact by SheThePeople. In 2017, she was awarded the Global Leadership Award by Vital Voices. She is also the recipient of Gold Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year - Government or Non-Profit -10 or Less Employees in 2016. Her work has been recognised by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations through the Intercultural Innovation Award, SDG Action Festival and the UN Foundation at the Solutions Summit 2016.
She has penned articles that have appeared in CNN, Huffington Post, WIP amongst others. She has spoken about her work at the Rotary International Assembly 2019, Aspen Ideas Festival, TEDx MidAtlantic, UN Women, State Department, Vital Voices South to South Leadership Summit.
Executive Director, AALI
Renu Mishra, a lawyer and the current Executive Director of the Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives (AALI), has been an integral part of the women’s movement in North India for the past 19 years and has been associated with AALI since 2002. She undertook direct case intervention and formulating legal strategies in cases of violence against women and children and has been a stimulating trainer on law and gender for civil society, state actors and lawyers in the sub-region.
In her work in the field of social justice and human rights at the grassroots she has broadened the scope of access to justice to more preventative work focusing on decent working conditions, economic empowerment and legal literacy.
Renu is particularly invested in and has extensive experience in a woman’s right to choose and agency in relationships. The core of her work with AALI is based on the belief that law is both a site for change and a powerful tool to ensure social justice.
She is a recipient of the International Women’s Day Shabri Award, 2010; the Hindustan Times Woman of the Year Award, 2014; and the Women Security Award, 2015. Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives (AALI) is a womxn-led and womxn-run charitable trust committed to the complete realization of human rights of womxn and girls as well as access to justice of those from marginalized communities. AALI applies feminist-legal strategies to direct pro bono intervention, womxn's leadership building, capacity building, research, and advocacy. With direct field presence in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. AALI has been providing technical support to various organizations and groups working on womxn's issues across India.
Chief Operating Officer, The Naz Foundation
Kalyani Subramanyam is the Chief Operating Officer at The Naz Foundation (India) Trust, a New Delhi-based NGO working on issues of HIV and Sexuality. She has 20 years of experience working on issues of HIV and Sexuality.
Kalyani is an avid sports enthusiast. As a strong advocate for women’s rights, she has been responsible for the development of the ‘Young People’s Initiative’ (previously known as ‘Goal’ program): A Women’s Empowerment initiative, which uses sport and life skills education to transform the lives of young disadvantaged girls and young women. Young People’s Initiative has reached out to more than 1,15,000 girls across the country.
As the COO, Kalyani oversees the implementation of all of Naz’s work and the smooth functioning of the organisation. She is responsible for the development of Naz’s strategic plan, establishing policies that promote company culture and vision and growth of the organisation. She was honored with the Life Time Achievement Award at the Global Goal Summit, 2017 for her commitment to providing safe spaces for girls to play and providing them with life skills education. This subsequently led her to being appointed as one of the members at the International Safeguarding Children in Sport Advisory Board at UNICEF. She is a Vital Voices Lead Fellow and an alumnus of the Dasra Leadership program.
Founder and Executive Director, Samvada
Anita Ratnam has a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management (1983) from IRMA and an M. A. in Development Studies (1997) from the University of East Anglia, UK .
Since 1984, she has been involved with organisations working with young people for social change. As Founder and Executive Director of Samvada since 1992, Anita has constantly reinvented the organisation in response to the changing needs of young people in Indian society. Today, Samvada is a unique amalgamation of 8 youth resource centres for youth leadership building, Baduku Community College for Socially Critical Livelihoods, Kanaja Youth Research Cell, a resource centre for Promotion of Youth Work and the Samvada Consulting Unit.
In 2016, Anita began an association with Anekataa. She now helps corporations build inclusive workspaces, strengthen gender and caste diversity and develop strategies and competencies for diversity management.
Since January 2019, she has been a Visiting Faculty at the Azim Premji University where she teaches courses on Gender & Work and Programme Planning and Monitoring as a part of the M.A. programme in Development Studies.
In the midst of all this, Anita takes time out to write, to mentor and to explore her passion for the crafts, while manoeuvring the multiple challenges of being a single parent.
Milin Dutta grew up in Assam, North-East India as Mili Dutta and didn´t know that anyone else could be queer. Years later, she began to organize an annual fundraiser that supports women's financial empowerment in Assam, and founded Out in the Backyard (OIBY), a grassroots movement connecting LGBT and heterosexual people to neighborhood resources and education in Minneapolis while working as an IT Consultant. Mili returned to India in 2014, after a 20-year absence, and organized the first gay Pride event in North East.
In 2015, Mili changed her name and gender and became Milin Dutta. In 2017, Milin took early retirement from work to follow his passion to build community, in Minneapolis and in Assam. He is focused on building a healthy LGBT community in South Minneapolis and women’s empowerment in Assam. His dream is to build bridges between Minneapolis and Assam, creating a healthier community in both locations.
Currently he is collaborating with various young leaders in Assam and working on STEM education, plastic pollution, solid waste management, LGBTQ awareness, animal welfare and eldercare.
Through his organization, Anaajoree, Milin tries to connect/promote/support/inspire local individuals and groups working towards improving the quality of life of both humans and animals, so that North-East India, emerges as a future hub of opportunities in India and the world at large.
Founder Trustee, The Ant
Jennifer, aka Jenny, is a trained social worker, alumni of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and an author. She has been working in the North-East region of India for over two decades. She co-founded the ant, an NGO working for rural development, and headed it as the Executive Director from 1996-2016. Jenny is currently involved in IDeA, an initiative of the ant to strengthen the voluntary sector in North-East India.
Ph.D. Candidate, JNU
Shehla Rashid Shora is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Jawaharlal Nehru University and former Vice-President of the JNU Students' Union. She is a known advocate of civil rights, women's rights, educational and digital rights. In 2018, Shehla started a global conversation on women's mental health issues when she shared her own experience with PMDD, a little known condition that deeply affects women's mental health prior to menstruation. Her own experience of speaking out as a woman from a minority community brings in an added dimension to her activism.
Co-Founder, Shakti - Political Power To Women
Tara Krishnaswamy is the co-founder of Shakti, a pan-India, non-partisan citizens’ pressure group working to get more women into State Assemblies & Parliament. Shakti's volunteer campaigns include petitioning political parties to stand more women as election candidates, Call Your MPs to pressure MPs to table the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament and the Election Commission to discipline parties towards gender-equitable nominations. She is the co-founder of Citizens For Bengaluru, a grassroots people’s movement with landmark campaigns for #SteelFlyoverBeda, campaigns for mass public transit like the #ChukBukuBeku & #BusBhagyaBeku for suburban trains and public buses, and the #BekuBedaSanthe for the citizens manifesto in Bengaluru. She lead ground campaigns for Karnataka’s Police Stations to maintain list of convicted sex offenders & secured a Government Order for the same. She introduced Urban Women's Safety Social Audit Framework and methodology. She was co-Convenor of the Nirbhaya Fund Round Table, Hyderabad for administration of the Nirbhaya Fund. She has organized people’s movements on violence against women. She has independently authored on subjects of federalism, citizenship, gender and caste issues with First Post, The News Minute, Live Mint, News Laundry, Times of India, Hindustan Times etc. She is a TEDx speaker and has taught Master’s public policy courses in Bengaluru. She is an advisor to the Indian School of Democracy.
General Secretary, Bebaak Collective
Haseena Khan is recognized as one of India's most visible, courageous and effective activists raising issues and questions of women's rights in general and Muslim women’s rights in particular. She was an active member of Awaaz-e-Niswaan, an organization that empowers Muslim women, in Mumbai, to make their voices heard and to demand their rights.
In 1999, she organized the first ever conference on "Muslim Personal Law and Women" in Mumbai.
She is also an active participant of the LGBT movements in India and works on the concerns of sexual minorities at the community level. She is on the advisory council of the international solidarity network namely, Women Living Under Muslim Law and is a member of an autonomous non-funded feminist group, Forum Against Oppression of Women.
Haseena Khan is now the founding member of Bebaak Collective (Voice of Fearless). Bebaak Collective (Voices of the Fearless) is a campaign group primarily functioning from Mumbai and fighting against fundamentalism and repressive forces from an intersectional feminist perspective. She conceptualized a documentary movie ‘Tiryaaq’ which encapsulates the journeys of grassroots organizations and the leaders working in the community.
Bebaak Collective campaigned against unilateral triple talaq and was the petitioner in the Supreme Court of India seeking to abolish unilateral Triple Talaq.
In 2019, national level manifesto named “Nafrat ke Khilaf : Bekhaufi ka Elaan” was released by a collaboration of Muslim Women’s groups through Bebaak Collective demanding constitutional safeguarding of rights of minority communities under the new government.
Haseena Khan’s articles have been published in Scroll.in, and an Urdu newspaper. She has played a major role in networking with various organizations at a national and an international level.
Voice Lab Member, Durga
Anagha Shivaprakash is a proud feminist and a recent aerospace graduate navigating through her career of being one of the few women in STEM. Through her university, she was exposed to the importance of gender equity and representation. Dealing with the glaring gender gap in STEM colleges, only aggravated by lack of safe spaces, led her to join Durga. It empowered her to spread the message of gender equity to people of her age. She believes that it's each and everyone’s 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 has 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 have helped contribute to addressing grievance at an emotional level.
Co-coordinator, Sangat, Delhi
Diti is the co-coordinator of Sangat, Delhi and one of the coordinators of Young Sangat. Young Sangat is a youth led network of advocates for diversity, equality, equity, freedom and pluralism. The network forms a platform connecting individuals, organisations, collectives working on issues of social justice with children, adolescents and young adults across the region. Our collective vision is aligned with the larger goals of the Sangat Network: to build a just and peaceful world which thrives on love, empathy and inclusion.
Women's Right Lawyer
Flavia Agnes is a feminist legal scholar and a women’s rights lawyer. A pioneer of the women’s movement, she has worked consistently on issues of violence against women. Her widely published writings have provided a vital context for feminist jurisprudence, human rights law and gender studies in India. Significant among her many publications are ‘Law & Gender Inequality – The Politics of Personal Laws in India’ (1999), ‘Women and Law’ (co-edit) (2004), Family Law (two volumes) – a prescribed text book for law students (2011) and ‘Negotiating Spaces’ (2012 (co-edit)). Ms. Agnes is a prominent advocate of legal pluralism. Her writings on this issue have provided a complex framework for protecting the rights of minority women within the rubric of legal pluralism. As co-founder of MAJLIS which provides quality legal services to women and children, she has helped to secure the rights of over 50,000 women and children survivors of sexual and domestic violence.
Active Member VartaLeap
Harsh is an active member of the vartaLeap coalition as a Social Activist with core expertise in Youth Development, SDGs, and climate action. He is the Youth Development Thematic Lead with Indo-Global Social Service Society and is currently working with young people across 8 states in India.
Having studied MSW from Delhi School of Social Work and Photography and Visual Communications from Jamia Milia Islamia, he tries to blend the power of media in development practices to foster innovation and creativity in Project implementation. With years of experience as a Volunteer and a Youth worker, Harsh has built a strong network with communities and organizations within and outside the country to influence policies and institutions working towards positive Youth development. He strongly believes that Youth participation can influence policy-making and bring the change that the world needs.
Founder-Director, Feminism In India
Japleen smashes the patriarchy for a living! She is the Founder-Director & Editor-in-Chief of Feminism in India (FII), an award-winning digital feminist media platform. She is also a TEDx speaker and was recognised as a Young Innovator in 2018 by World Summit Awards. Japleen has Masters and M.Phil degrees in German Studies and used to be a German language lecturer at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and Amity University, Noida. Prior to starting FII, she worked with multiple women’s rights NGOs in India like Breakthrough India and Point of View. She has also worked with Freedom House, a non-profit based in the USA, on a research report and advocacy campaign on online violence against women. She was featured by The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in a book on ‘Women in Tech’ for her work at FII and facilitated by Maneka Gandhi and Ministry of Women & Child Development, GoI as Web Wonder Woman. She has also been recognised by the Swedish Foreign Minister for her work on the gender gap on Wikipedia. Currently, Japleen oversees the strategic vision and growth at FII. She likes to garden, travel, hike, swim and cycle and is slowly moving towards a sustainable lifestyle.
India Lead, Gender at Work
Jyotsna Siddharth is an actor, intersectional artist, activist, and writer. They have worked with several non-profits, bilateral organizations and are currently an India Lead for Gender At Work. Jyotsna's praxis spreads across intersections of social, art, activism, theatre, acting, development, caste-gender, feminist, and queer spaces. Their interests are multidisciplinary, experimental and fluid from storytelling, embodied practice, acting, workshops, writing and building community dialogue to supporting systems for making multiple medium work collaborative, intersectional, and inclusive.
Jyotsna's work has featured in Times of India, The Hindu, Roundtable India, Savari, Feminism in India, Smashboard, Ashoka Literature Festival, Mid-Day, The Rights Collective UK, The Citizen, India Culture Lab, Khirkee Voice and First post (upcoming) They are a co-founder of Sive (2017), founder of Project Anti Caste Love (2018), Dalit Feminism Archive (2019), Purple Library (2020). They co- organized the first Indian adaptation of ‘A Rapist in Your Way’ - the Chilean feminist collective Las Tesis in 2019, Delhi. Jyotsna has Masters in Development Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and Social Anthropology from School of Oriental and African Studies, London. They are a recipient of Chevening Scholarship, UK (2014).
Advisor, United Nations Foundation
Meera Vijayann is an independent journalist and writer of Indian-origin based in Washington D.C. She has contributed to national and international discussions on gender rights and sexual violence in India. Her reportage and essays have appeared in Forbes, The Guardian, Entropy, Folks magazine, and other outlets.
In 2013, Vijayann won the CNN IBN Citizen Journalism Award for her reportage on the protests that followed the Delhi Gang Rape. Following her 2014 TED talk on finding a voice against sexual violence, she has been involved in encouraging survivors of sexual abuse across the world to speak out for justice. In 2017, Vijayann spent time as a Global Journalism fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs reporting how immigration and health policies affect men and women in the US and Canada. Currently, she focuses on how issues at the intersection of gender and health affect women and marginalized communities.
Nausheen is a filmmaker and video producer whose work focuses on social justice and human rights. She has been documenting unrest in the Kashmir region since 2017, highlighting the effects of armed conflict on the mental health of women and children. She is currently working on a documentary about the largest pro-constitution protests in post-independent India against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The film emphasises on Shaheen Bagh: a women-led, twenty-four hour, sit-in protest that emerged from her alma mater, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in December 2019. Through the documentary, she explores her religious and gender identity in light of the recent political developments in India. Nausheen aspires to use her craft to talk about difficult issues and bring them to the forefront of global discourse, inspiring people to challenge their social constructs. Through her work, she wants to sensitise her audience to humanitarian issues and spark change in the way we perceive each other.
Founder and Executive Director, Rising Flames
Nidhi Goyal is a disabled feminist activist from India working on disability rights and gender justice. She is the founder and Executive director of the National Award-winning Indian non-profit organisation Rising Flame which works for women and youth with disabilities.
For over a decade, Nidhi has been committed to changing lives of persons with disabilities and has worked with a range of national and global women’s rights, disability rights, and human rights organizations including Point of View, Human Rights Watch and Crea to name a few. Nidhi’s work spans research, writing, training, campaigns, advocacy, and art. She works to raise the profile of issues at the intersection of disability and gender through op-eds, journal articles, and lectures in national and international forums. Nidhi is also India’s first female disabled stand-up comedian and uses humour to challenge prevailing notions about disability and gender.
Noopur is the founder of Smashboard and an independent journalist with 20+ years of experience in journalism and news broadcast in India and Europe. She passionately believes in the power of feminist digital dissent and solidarities. Smashboard is an online platform that centres survivors of sexist and sexual violence. A “digital ally to smash patriarchy”, it is a non-profit organisation that aims to build a global alternative social media network based on principles of intersectional feminism. It can be seen as an inclusive feminist ecosystem that uses technology to simplify many of the tasks involved in efforts to take action against sexual violence, both as a community and as a crisis-ridden individual.
Christina is advisor to Smashboard, writer, and consultant for Dalit women and minority-led initiatives focusing on social justice, self-determination, and collaborative models of scholarship. She is also the co-founder of the campaign #dalithistorymonth and is currently based in New York. Smashboard is an online platform that centres survivors of sexist and sexual violence. A “digital ally to smash patriarchy”, it is a non-profit organisation that aims to build a global alternative social media network based on principles of intersectional feminism. It can be seen as an inclusive feminist ecosystem that uses technology to simplify many of the tasks involved in efforts to take action against sexual violence, both as a community and as a crisis-ridden individual.
Artist, & Blogger, Aravani Art Project
Shanthi is an artist and blogger at the Aravani Art Project. She started her journey with the project three years back. She is a proud Trans Woman who inspires and never ceases to help a person in need. She is extremely driven and passionate. Apart from painting, she is a part time poet, traveler and a full time dreamer.
Convenor ComMutiny, VartaLeap Member
After 16 years of designing and facilitating interventions for youth centric development, Kanika sees herself as an advocate for youth work in India, a passion that befits her current role as Convener of ComMutiny – The Youth Collective. She comes with a Bachelors’ degree in Psychology from Lady Shri Ram College and a Masters’ degree in Social Development from the University of Sussex. During a gap year between her two degrees, Kanika volunteered at the relief camps in Ahmedabad post the Godhra riots of 2002. This was a turning point in her life, and so began her journey into the world of self-transformation and social change.
Kanika started her career, working in the area of inclusion at the National Centre from Promotion of Employment for disability sector, where she coordinated and facilitated a national network of Disability Rights’ organisations. Thereafter, she moved to Pravah, where she worked in direct programmes with adolescents, youth and youth workers. As a mentor to several young social entrepreneurs, Kanika has been a part of the conception and growth of many youth led start-ups in the sector.
In her current role at ComMutiny, Kanika supports the facilitation of a national collective of over 100 organisations spread across 17 states. Additionally, she is part of the core team that facilitates the vartaLeap Coalition – a cross-sectoral, multi-disciplinary coalition that is working towards the shared mission of ‘Every youth a Jagrik and every Space nurturing Jagriks’. She is entrusted to build partnerships and alliances towards amplifying the 5th Space approach to youth centric development, this includes co-designing and co-creating tools, learning journeys, games, leadership curricula, facilitator’s guides and videos, along with the ComMutiny and vartaLeap teams.
Through both spaces, Kanika’s recent work has focused on designing, piloting and scaling innovations around inclusion – inclusion of young people and their voices through the Youth Duties and Rights Framework, promoting inclusion and harmony among young people through cross border friendships, creating gender justice by questioning norms around masculinities.
Bureau chief, Khabar Lahariya
Meera Devi is the bureau chief at Khabar Lahariya, an award-winning all-women grassroots news network from Bundelkhand. With 14+ years of reporting on rural issues, Meera specializes in investigative journalism and policy reporting. Her special reports have included lifting the curtains off the administrative apathy around the broken healthcare systems combating T.B in the rural hinterland of U.P. She also hosts a show on local politics, titled Rajneeti, Ras, Raay.
Associate 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.
Humanities Student at Azim Premji University, Volunteer at Durga
Vibushita Bhat is a nineteen-year old first 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.
CEO & MD, Toolbox India
Vijaya Balaji joined toolbox INDIA in 2011 and in her role as CEO she has expanded toolbox INDIA’s outreach to 275+ NPOs, 325 + projects and over 650 volunteers across India. Vijaya provides strategic direction to all toolbox INDIA’s projects and chairs “Digital Dialogues @ toolbox INDIA” drawing on sector experience and insights. She is a part of many think tanks and collaborations in the development sector including [email protected], Social Venture Partners, and Asia Venture Philanthropy Network. She is an evaluator for the global Echoing Green Fellowship. She has incubated Social Lens, a Social Purpose Organization that aims to develop OD solutions for the Social Development Sector. With an MBA from TAPMI, Vijaya worked in the Treasury division of a multinational. Vijaya has also worked in the Private Education Sector, developing curriculum and guiding students in the theory of knowledge.
Lawyer, Writer, Researcher
Bobby Kunhu is a lawyer, researcher, and writer based out of a coastal village called Punnayur in Malabar. On the legal front, he focuses on Constitutional Law and specializes on identity
jurisprudence. He has approximately 23 years of experience working with academia, civil society, and movements. He also has literary pursuits and his first anthology of poetry – Songlines of Pleasure – is due to be released by the Book People early 2021.
Adolescent and Youth Development Specialist, UNICEF India
Manasa Priya Vasudevan works at UNICEF India as the Adolescent and Youth Development Specialist where she manages partnerships that advance adolescents' socio-economic empowerment and civic participation. In her previous role at The YP Foundation, as Manager, Adolescent and Youth SRH she managed interventions ranging from comprehensive adolescent education programming to advocacy, in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi NCR. In her role, Manasa works closely with diverse groups of adolescents, youth and their gatekeepers from across urban, rural, institutional and informal settings. Manasa also facilitates young people's direct engagement on policy by strengthening youth capacities, and connecting them with technical agencies and policy makers so that they can meaningfully inform large scale policies/programmes on health. As a member of the FP2020 global reference group Manasa also ensures that young people's diverse realities and needs are highlighted at national, regional and global platforms. In the past, as a NIXI fellow and Research Associate at IT for Change, she has undertaken research and advocacy on issues at the intersections of information communication technologies, gender and social justice. Manasa holds a Master’s degree in Gender, Media and Culture from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.
Senior Specialist, Program Interventions (South Zone), Waste Management Society
Sherlin Anthony has over 9 years of experience in the field of anti-human trafficking which includes rescue operations, rehabilitation, reintegration and repatriation of the trafficked survivors. Currently, she is associated with Waste Management Society Bangalore, India as an Aftercare & Systemic Change-Manager. She has over 5 years of experience in handling Pan India teams and spearheaded the State and Central Government initiated operations such as operation SMILE & operation MUSKAAN in the State of Telangana rescuing missing children. She has extensively worked on British, French and Dutch cases in cracking down the transnational child sexual offence cases and criminals. She has worked with Police departments of various states such as Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (Anti Human Trafficking Unit, Crime Investigation Department, Central Crime Branch – Crime Investigation Department), Department of Women and Child development of Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu (Integrated Child Protection Scheme, Integrated Child Development Scheme, District Child Protection Units and Child Welfare Committee’s) Child Right and Human Rights Commissions of Karnataka.
Founder, Atijeevan Foundation
Pragya Prasun is an acid attack survivor-turned-activist and social worker who has been fighting for providing relief and rehabilitation to her fellow acid attack and burn survivors from the past 7+ years now. She has been coordinating with eminent Doctors/Hospitals from across the country for medical advice and treatment. She also works towards personal counselling and generation of a permanent source of regular income for all of the survivors who are in need. Pragya is the founder of "Atijeevan Foundation" an NGO that, apart from facilitating free of cost Surgeries and other non-surgical procedures, also provides avenues for income generation to several Acid Attack and Burn survivors. Atijeevan trains them to create handicraft products, provides them skill and vocational training and get them placed in the Industry as per their capability. Pragya is a post-graduate in Fashion Management, and for her exemplary work in the field of Social Welfare, she is the recipient of several Indian and International awards and accolades. Pragya is the Mascot and Ambassador of Pinkathon, and the Ambassador of ASFI South India Chapter. She is the Honorary advisor of a few NGOs and the Social welfare community.
Zeba Khair is presently a member of the Supreme Court Of India Bar Association and Delhi High Court Bar Association. Ms. Khair is a well accomplished practicing advocate and litigation has been her forte. She appears extensively in various Courts and Forums like the Supreme Court of India, State High Courts, District Courts and the National Company Law Tribunal.
Ms. Khair had been sponsored as a delegate by the United States Embassy (New Delhi) on their IVLP programme to the USA, in 2011, to study the role of NGOs in promoting women’s issues. In May 2018, she was invited by University of Washington at Seattle USA for 7 Speaking engagements from subjects related to gender violence to challenges Muslim women face in the workforce - An appraisal of Muslim Women's Law against the backdrop of the Shariat. She took classes on Human Rights and also addressed law students on gender laws. In July 2018, Ms. Khair also addressed the Doughty Street Chambers, London on the topic of sexual harassment in the supply chain. In November 2019 she addressed a workshop at Paris on Intellectual Property Rights with respect to social causes, Ms. Khair specializes in cases relating to women and children. She is on the internal complaints committee of MNCs apart from engaging in conducting workshops on the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (the Act). Ms. Khair has prepared modules setting out practical guidance on the implementation of the Act. This includes Modules targeted at capacity building of key employees; training of committee members, facilitating constitution of the sexual harassment committee and providing an insight into trial procedures.
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, Priya 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 realised 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 traveller, 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!
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 2019. 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.
Founder Aravani Art Project
Poornima is the founder and director of the Aravani Art Project. For the last decade she has worked on many projects with various communities and across different social issues and continues to do so with the Aravani Art Project. She loves spending time travelling, documenting people and stories from the moon to the beaches.
They have previously worked as faculty at the Gender Studies Department, Ambedkar University, Delhi and as a consultant on a project to study non-normative sexuality and gender housed at the Advanced Centre for Women Studies, TISS, Bombay. They are interested in sex, feeling, and the structure and narrative of living in their relation with forms of sociality, law and politics.
Swati Bidhan Baruah is an advocate practising in the Guwahati High Court. Swati is a transgender rights activist from Assam and is a founder of the All Assam Transgender Association. She is the first transgender person in India to be appointed as a judge to the Lok Adalat in Guwahati. Swati filed one of the first cases in India seeking permission from the court to undergo sex re-assignment surgery. She also filed an intervention application in the Hon'ble Supreme Court against the biased nature of the National Register of Citizens. Moreover, she also filed an intervention application in the matter of setting up a Human Rights Court in the Indian Supreme Court. She has filed several petitions before the Guwahati High Court and also in the Supreme Court seeking implementation of the directions of the Supreme Court in NALSA v. Union of India and for protection of rights of transgender persons in Assam and the NorthEast. She also filed a PIL at Guwahati High Court challenging the Ayushman Bharat for accomodating transgenders under the said scheme.
Varun is currently pursuing his 3rd Year B.E. in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from RNS Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belagavi. He is a Founder of BluTree Technology Networks which aims in delivering social and technological solutions to the society. Has worked and working on a few impactful projects like the posture correction device, Smart Stick for the Visually Impaired, the INDIAN Satellite Navigation (NAViC) and more. His areas of interest include Machine Learning, Product Design, IoT and Sensor Integration and photography.
Akshaj is currently pursuing his 3rd Year B.E. in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from RNS Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belagavi. He is also a Co-Founder of BluTree Technology Networks which aims in delivering social and technological solutions to the society. Has been a keen App Developer and worked/researched on a paper about Cancer using Image processing. His Areas of interest include Android App development, Deep/Machine Learning, Image Processing, and Photography.
Varshinee is currently pursuing his 3rd Year B.E. in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from RNS Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belagavi. She is a part of BluTree Technology Networks which aims in delivering social and technological solutions to the society. Working Currently on the NIRBHAYA-Women Safety product and handles the few other BluTree related processes. Her areas of interests include Arduino, MATLAB, Image Processing and Music (Instrumentalist-Veena).
Vaishnavi is currently pursuing his 3rd Year B.E. in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from RNS Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belagavi. She is a part of BluTree Technology Networks which aims in delivering social and technological solutions to the society. Working currently on the NIRBHAYA-Women Safety product. Her areas of interests include Navigation Systems such as INDIAN Satellite Navigation (NAViC), Python, Web Development and Music (Vocalist).