Skip to Content Skip to Navigation


The WomenLeaders India fellowship program powered by Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices will drive an ambitious, urgent agenda for women’s leadership in India by investing in changemakers who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges and those who play a catalytic role towards the achievement of transformational economic, environmental and social changes required to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Program Orientation: September
  • Format: Virtual and in-person
  • Cost:  None (fully-funded)
  • Application Deadline: July 28, 2024 at 11:59PM IST

 Key Areas of Focus

This fellowship aims to support 50 Indian women leaders who are addressing urgent economic and social issues across the following key areas: 

By enhancing the resilience of communities to adapt to climate change impacts and reducing vulnerability to disaster risks through measures such as sustainable resource management, resilience infrastructure development, community capacity building, developing innovative solutions to address climate vulnerabilities, promoting sustainable agricultural practices and policies, environmental conservation, early warning systems and the use of technology to create new approaches to strengthening climate resilience at the grassroots.

By designing and implementing sports programs that advocate for or facilitate increased access to sports facilities and resources for marginalized communities, or build partnerships with stakeholders in the sports ecosystem to harness the potential of sports to promote gender equality, foster leadership skills, instill values such as teamwork, resilience, and fair play, and maximize the impact of sports for development initiatives.

By strengthening early childhood care and education (ECCE) and addressing foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) skills for children between 3 to 8 years old, including through interventions such as curriculum enhancements, teacher professional development, parental engagement programs, integrating technology to design and deliver programs, making them accessible even in remote geographies and fostering a sense of inclusivity.

By developing, implementing and facilitating innovative programs and/or running social enterprises across farm or non-farm sectors, that equip women with essential skills and resources through various interventions such to increase their incomes or establish and grow their businesses, foster digital and financial inclusion and access to micro-credit for women entrepreneurs, and/or developing policies and practices that promote women’s economic participation in building thriving communities.

Professional Development Tracks

Under these key areas, fellows will be divided into two tracks  based on their experience:


  • Refers to women leaders who own or lead a for-profit enterprise or hold a leadership position (i.e. director or head of a department) in a business with a clear social impact objective. Social Entrepreneurs are distinguished by their leadership roles within their businesses, their ability to make key decisions that steer their enterprises towards greater social impact, and their commitment to incorporating sustainable solutions into their operations.


  • Individual women who hold leadership roles in non-profit organizations, development sector entities, or civil society groups focused on one or more of the four thematic areas above. They are recognized for their impactful decision-making and innovation, driving significant social change through creative solutions, and demonstrating a high potential for future leadership advancement.

The fellowship will focus on leadership capacity building and skills development and is designed to, ultimately, strengthen the leadership of the participants and increase the success of their ventures and efforts. Support services include mentoring, peer-to-peer engagement, and visibility.

Beginning and ending with an in-person convenings in India, the fellows will be integrated into the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network through the VV Community Hub. Webinars and community gatherings will be hosted over a 10-month period between the two convenings.


  • Are enthusiastic about participating in a 10-month fellowship program
  • Are motivated to learn new skills, enhance their leadership capacity, and make changes to grow their initiative, organization or business
  • Are able to devote 6-8 hours per month for webinars, virtual community gatherings, etc.
  • Have the authority to make critical decisions regarding their initiative, organization, or business
  • Have an idea or plan for a SDG/social-impact project that will be developed over the course of the fellowship
  • Are willing to commit to working with Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices to track their personal and/or business growth during the program and for up to six months after the closure of the fellowship by being responsive and participating in data collection activities including online surveys and phone calls
  • Are interested in collaborating with and supporting the other women in their cohort

What will you receive from the program?   

  • Three (3) webinars per month extending over an 8-month period, focused on leadership development, core content areas, and track-specific customized training sessions
  • Five (5) community gatherings, focused on peer learning
  • Five (5) 1-on-1 mentoring sessions spread across the 8-month period
  • One (1) Mentoring Circle Meeting (grouped based on similar SDG/social impact projects and thematic areas) per month,
  • Eight (8) domain specific/thematic sessions
  • 2 in-person gatherings at the beginning and end of the Fellowship in India, including a pitching competition where fellows can win funding for their SDG/social impact projects
  • Access to supportive services such as visibility and mentorship opportunities through the Vital Voices Leadership Network and the Reliance Foundation ecosystem
  • Access to the Vital Voices Community Hub, a global online leadership and networking platform, for leaders in Vital Voices to share and obtain resources and support, and effectively collaborate and communicate with one another.

Application Overview & Eligibility

General Criteria:

  • Identify as a woman
  • Are an Indian national, currently residing and working in India
  • Have a minimum of three years of work experience in working to enact social change in one or more of the following thematic areas (see detailed descriptions above):
    • Climate Resilience
    • Sports  for Development
    • Education
    • Livelihoods Generation
  • Demonstrate a minimum of an intermediate level of English speaking, writing, and listening skills
  • Have a commitment towards making a positive social impact
  • Have a demonstrated commitment to the following core principles: innovation, collaboration, and driven by a clear sense of mission; engaged in and leading social change in her community; committed to advancing the status of women and girls; and committed to transparency and good governance
  • Have a desire to engage with a global network of women leaders
  • Employees of the Reliance group of companies, Reliance Foundation, and Vital Voices Global Partnership are not eligible for this Fellowship.
  • Applicants under this track must be entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, or are key decision makers at a qualifying business or social enterprise in one or more of the four thematic areas listed above; OR work at a for-profit organization to drive social change in one or more of the four thematic areas listed above  
  • Have demonstrated leadership and key decision-making authority within their business, social enterprise, or initiative, and show high potential for future leadership development   
  • Have demonstrated impact and a commitment to incorporating innovative solutions within their business, social enterprise, or initiative   
  • The business, social enterprise or for-profit organization should be based in India, should employ at least 3 full-time staff (or the part-time equivalent) and the business, social enterprise or for-profit organization should have been in operation for 5 years at the time of submitting the application
  • Applicants under this track must be spearheading programs at development sector/non-profit/civil society organizations in one or more of the 4 thematic areas listed above   
  • Have demonstrated leadership and key decision-making authority within their organization or initiative, and show high potential for future leadership development   
  • Have demonstrated impact and a commitment to incorporating innovative solutions within their organization or initiative   
  • Applicants under this track must have a track record of at least 5 years in carrying out activities in the thematic areas listed above at the time of submitting the application   
  • For applicants under this track, the organization you work at must be registered with the Government of India as a foundation, trust, non-profit organization, or a Section 8 Company (erstwhile Section 25 Company) registered under the provisions of the Companies Act 2013 with a track record of at least three years in carrying out activities in areas listed above, at the time of submitting the application.  

Attend an Information Session

Vital Voices and the Reliance Foundation will host two informational sessions on the WomenLeaders Fellowship. Please click below to register for the sessions.

Session #1: July 10 at 6:30PM IST (India Standard Time)
Session #2: July 17 at 6:30PM IST (India Standard Time)

Frequently Asked Questions

Meet the 2022-2023 Fellows

Nidhi Batra

2022 Fellow, Founder and Director of Sehreeti Developmental Practices Foundation

Nidhi is a Development Practitioner with over 17 years of experience trained as an architect, environmental urban designer, and holds a postgraduate diploma in environmental law. She is Founder of Sehreeti Developmental Practices Foundation, which as collaborative practice engages in sustainable development with community participation at its core. It works on aspects of urban design, placemaking, participatory planning, policy, skill development and capacity building, environmental education, outreach, and advocacy. She also works as a Skills Specialist for Sustainable Jobs at The World Bank and is a Fellow at JustJobs Network, where she looks at aspects of skills and livelihood for natural resource management and future of work. Nidhi is a Visiting Faculty in architectural colleges in Delhi-NCR. Currently, she is also the Delhi-NCR head for Placemaking India.

Nidhi Batra

Somasree Basu

2022 Fellow, Program Manager at Shreeja India

Somasree Basu is currently the Program Manager of Shreeja India, a non-profit CSO working in West Bengal towards empowering women. The organization views sports, mainly football, integrated into education and informed imagination as a powerful vehicle for empowering women and catalyzing social change. The organization’s flagship program Football & Beyond is designed to stop early marriage, school dropouts, trafficking, and violence against women while also contributing toward physical, mental, and social development of underprivileged girls (age group: –5 years –20 years), their families, and young children (4-10 years) from their villages. The program in the last five years has impacted 80 villages, 500+ girls, and 6000 beneficiaries.

Somasree is a social worker and a psychologist by profession and has been working in the development sector for the last ten years. Her focal areas of work have been gender justice, as well as environment and child protection. She also teaches counseling as a guest lecturer at Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, and is a trained Support Person under POCSO Rules 2020. Somasree has previously led developmental projects with the World Bank, UNEP, ECOSOC, India-Bhutan Foundation, PWC, IUCN, Goethe Institute, and other organizations pan South Asia. She is presently working with Govt. of West Bengal, Azim Premji Foundation, Sachin Tendulkar Foundation, Soroptimist International, and The Telegraph Education Foundation. In 2022, she has been recognized as India’s one of the top 9 Mental Health Advocates by Woxsen University, Hyderabad. She is also a trainer who conducts capacity building workshops. Previously, she has conducted training for Shreeja India (in-house), UNICEF, Directorate of Child Rights and Trafficking (DCRT) West Bengal, and Government of Haryana.

Somasree Basu

Faiza Ruksar Arif

2022 Fellow, Lead, Product Development & Impact Evaluation at One Billion Literates Foundation

Faiza Ruksar Arif is a social science practitioner with over five years of experience in the conceptualization, development, and implementation of program initiatives aimed at improving the standard of living in rural India through improved access to education, livelihood, and health opportunities. She currently leads the product development and impact evaluation at One Billion Literates Foundation, Bangalore. She also works on training and upskilling the LGBT+ community and sensitizing corporate workspaces to build equity and inclusion. Formally trained in quantitative and qualitative research methodology, policy analysis, systems and design thinking, and intersectional paradigms, her research endeavors extend to identity politics of minority groups, gender-based violence, gender and sexuality identity, and mental health issues. As a mixed media artist, she combines her creative edge with her critical thinking expertise to build sustainable models of rural transformation.

Faiza Ruksar Arif

Niharika Baxla

2022 Fellow, Child Development Officer at Yuwa India

Niharika Baxla hails from Jharkhand and works as Child Development Officer for Yuwa-India. She is a computer science graduate but always had the passion to give back to the community and joined social sector for empowerment of women and community. She works with young girls and women to empower them through education sports and life skills workshops. Over the last 9 years, Niharika has worked in communities where girls’ education and women’s empowerment are of least priority, and their opinion and voices has never been valued. Niharika helped community people to understand how to break the cycle of poverty by empowering girls and helping them to achieve higher education and capacity building through sports. In the past, Niharika has worked in stopping child marriage and domestic violence in the community through in-person interventions and sensitization programs through life skills programs for years. In the future, her vision is to create a community of empowered women with financial independence who will become role models for the future.

Niharika Baxla

Puloma Chakrabarty

2022 Fellow, Program Manager of Central Square Foundation

Puloma Chakrabarty is a Project Consultant at Central Square Foundation – a nonprofit organization, the mission of which is to create effective, scalable, and sustainable change in the school education system in India, ensuring that all children get equal access to learning opportunities with a focus on Foundational Literacy & Numeracy (under the National Education Policy 2020) across 12 states. Puloma works in Maharashtra with the Department of School Education/Partner NGOs and leads Monitoring & Data for the overall mission in the state. Puloma began her career as a Management Consultant at PwC India and worked there for 3 years in domains such as Telecom, Pharma, Blockchain, Supply Chain Management, Employment Generation, Cyber Security, Data Analytics and Higher Education across private and government clients. Puloma beyond her work is passionate about theatre and was a former professional dancer with Shiamak Davar’s dance academy. Puloma piloted a dance movement therapy for children suffering with cancer and for young girls rescued from Asia’s second largest red-light area in Asia-Kamathipura. Puloma is passionate about women’s leadership and has been a part of several competitive programs such as: selected by Mckinsey & Company as a Next Generation Women Leader in 2022; selected by Y-Combinator for their Future Female Founders Conference in 2020; and being a part of the organizing committee of Sheryl Sandberg’s first Lean In Conference 2017 in Mumbai. Puloma holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Brand Management and Marketing from Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad.

Puloma Chakrabarty

Soumya Dabriwal

2022 Fellow, Founder of Project Baala

Soumya Dabriwal, an economics graduate from the University of Warwick began her volunteering work at a very early age. She has extensive experience in the development sector and has worked on various projects in Ghana, South Africa and Haryana, India. During her stay in Ghana, she observed that girls skipped school 3- 4 days/month during their periods and often used material that was highly detrimental to their health. The fact that this wasn’t limited to that community but is a global phenomenon gave birth to Project Baala. A Social Enterprise, Project Baala delivers innovative menstrual hygiene solutions, and since 2017, Baala has provided 1.2 million reusable pads, conducted 4000+ awareness workshops for 420,000 women and girls across 4 countries and 25 states of India. Soumya envisions a world where awareness and access is available to all, where menstruation may be managed with dignity. She is an Acumen Fellow 2021, World Bank Youth Summit Finalist 2021, Global Good Fellow 2021, Swedish Institute Gender Advocate 2020, Winner Stephen Lloyd Award and a TEDx Speaker.

soumya dabriwal

Prerna Dangi

2022 Fellow, Co-Founder and Founding Director of Climb Like A Woman and Himalayan Climbing Initiative

Prerna Dangi is a professional climber who is pushing the limits on rock, ice, and mountaineering in India. A Literature Graduate from St. Stephen’s College, Prerna got her climbing start with the Hiking Club in 2011. Since then, she has gained more than a decade of experience climbing in the Scottish Highlands, Russia, Slovenia, Alaska, and the American Southwest. The ultimate challenge for her, however, lies in the mighty Himalayas where she aims to open new lines on unclimbed mountains. She is spearheading the extreme sport of ice climbing in India, as well as creating a mark as an alpinist. Prerna is actively working to foster a strong climbing culture and community in India with an emphasis on introducing more women to the sport and the outdoors through the organization Climb Like A Woman (CLAW). She is the Co-Director of the community-led initiative Pitidharr Ice Climbing Festival. As an ambassador for the social enterprise Eco Femme, she advocates healthy and sustainable menstrual practices in the villages she visits for climbing. Climbing gives her the courage to overcome all things that seem hard, whether they are scary routes or stereotypes, which is a lesson she loves sharing with others along the way.


Renita Dubey

2022 Fellow, Executive Director of OORJAgram

Dr. Renita Dubey has over 18 years of experience in Academics and Industry; developing strategies to promote the mission of the organization; and build a strong team that creates Social Impact in the Clean Energy and Skill Development Sector. She is working with OORJAgram India as an Executive Director (Energy Management Services) and heads the Bhagyodaya, which is the Training, Skill Development, and Capacity Building Division of the organization. She has been a Researcher in strategy and presented more than 25 research papers, as well as many articles and columns to her credit in reputed indexed journals. She is a Master Trainer, Management Practitioner, and Social Change Consultant. She has delivered trainings on 100s of Employability Skills, Campus-to-Corporate Programs, Capacity Building of Urban and Rural youth, populace till the last mile and getting them the access to Clean and Green Energy, Education and Empowerment for Atma Nirbhar Bharat. and achieve Sustainable Development Goals. She is also responsible for proper implementation of Solar Power Projects for Domestic, Commercial, and Industrial Set ups Pan India for its Installation and Commissioning, timely execution of the EPC, strategically guide and interdepartmental Coordination. She has also been credited for receiving the ‘Best Organization Creating Social Impact’ from GISR Foundation.

Renita Dubey

Aronee Ghosh

2022 Fellow, Impact M&E Lead of Dost Foundation

Aronee has 12 years of experience in multicultural environments with definite abilities in research and program management. She possesses an integrated set of competencies related to monitoring, evaluation, and learning in various development interventions encompassing skill, governance, and education. Aronee strives for data-driven iterative decisions in all her roles and strongly believes in evidence-based policymaking at large. She is currently leading the Impact & Growth for Dost Education Foundation, an ed-tech that provides parental support programs in vulnerable communities of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand, among others. Prior to that, she worked with the likes of STIR education, Kantar Public, and Govt. of West Bengal. In her stint with the Rural development dept. of West Bengal, Aronee was instrumental in designing and implementing monitoring frameworks in the statewide World Bank project toward strengthening local governments. In 2019, she completed her MA in Governance and Public Policy at the Institute of Development Studies as a Chevening Scholar. She is also a postgraduate in Economics (with a specialization in econometrics) from Calcutta University, India (2010). Aronee also cares deeply about issues concerning gender and the environment. In her free time, she loves cooking, traveling, and playing with her pet.

Aronee Ghosh

Swetha Guhan

2022 Fellow, Director, Product Development and Government Programs at Key Education Foundation

Swetha is the Co-Founder of Key Education Foundation [KEF] – a not-for-profit aimed at ensuring quality early childhood education for children from low-income communities in India. She leads the product development and government program teams in creating affordable, contextual, and high-impact solutions for schools, teachers, parents, and children. She also works closely in designing the organization strategy, monitoring and evaluation, and government programs at KEF. She has previously worked in designing products, capacity-building programs, and monitoring and evaluation methods in education-focused organizations like Experifun, Agastya International Foundation, Royal Society of Chemistry, etc. Swetha completed her Teach for India Fellowship in Pune between 2012 and 2014. Swetha is a graduate of RVCE, Bangalore, where she completed her BE in Biotechnology. She has completed her Masters in Elementary Education from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Swetha serves as a member of the Karntaka State Steering Committee for Early Childhood Education at Women and Child Department and Samagra Siksha, Karnataka. Swetha is also an avid reader and bird watcher. She loves writing stories for children and spending time with her dogs.

Swetha Guhan

Yosha Gupta

2022 Fellow, Founder and CEO of Memeraki

Yosha is the Founder and CEO of MeMeraki, a culture-tech platform that empowers India’s traditional artists to educate masses about folk arts that are on the verge of extinction. Yosha has spent 15+ years in the FinTech sector and worked across Asia (India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar) with organizations like The World Bank Group, Gates Foundation, and Ideo.  She holds a deep interest in traditional and heritage arts and has been a passionate promoter of these arts for over 25 years with 100+ events organized to promote artists and performers. Her previous experience combined with her love for arts has given her an opportunity to safeguard her country’s undocumented artistic heritage, as well as bring capital, awareness, and use of technology to the generational artists working in this field. MeMeraki finds, lists, and trains folk artists to teach their art form via live workshops and pre-recorded masterclasses. They are also a marketplace that have the biggest curated collection of paintings, crafts, and products made by the artists. MeMeraki has helped document and raise awareness about arts, crafts, and handmade techniques that have been slowly disappearing from market memory. Their workshops have been attended by thousands of people, and they currently hold the biggest curated collection of artworks and artisanal products from India and are working towards the mission of enabling master artists and artisans to be digital creators, thereby generating new sustainable livelihoods as well.

Yosha Gupta

Victoria Haorokcham

2022 Fellow, Development Practitioner Empowering Women Farmers Project at Seva Mandir

Victoria Haorokcham is a Development Practitioner for the past 12 years, currently employed at Seva Mandir. an NGO headquartered in Udaipur, Rajasthan. She has been associated with the organization for 9.5 years in different capacities, starting as a Program Associate under the Natural Resource Development Program, to leading the Early Childhood Care and Development Program. Currently, she is engaged in working with women farmers in southern Rajasthan to improve their livelihood opportunities and income through farm-based livelihood activities. Growing up in Manipur, a small state in the northeastern part of India, she completed her higher secondary school in her home state and moved to New Delhi to pursue her higher studies. She did her graduation in Chemistry with honors, but with little interest in the subject. Her interest in social work as an option for her master’s was ignited in the many conversations, she had with her hostel mates and seniors. Despite resistance from her family, she decided to do her master’s in social work. After completing her MSW from Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, in 2010, she started her work by forming women’s self-help groups in rural Raj.

Victoria Haorokcham

Monica Hemrajani

2022 Fellow, Deputy Manager, Chief Minister's Good Governance Associate Programme, Haryana

A chartered accountant by education and a social change maker by choice, Monica works with the Chief Minister’s Office, Haryana, spearheading the Chief Minister’s Good Governance Associate Program. Driven by a desire to empower marginalized women, Monica plunged full-time into the development sector, after spending two years as an investment banker. At the Chief Minister’s Office, she leads strategic interventions across verticals such as entrepreneurship, education, health, and livelihood sectors. Working with senior bureaucrats and policy heads on schemes focused on empowering women and vulnerable communities, she has spearheaded the establishment of a one-stop center for women survivors of violence and worked with self-help groups facilitating rural entrepreneurship in Haryana. Monica has previously worked on financial inclusion and women’s education with the Grameen Foundation for Social Impact. There, she worked with women entrepreneurs to facilitate opportunities for market access and business growth to empower rural women in villages in Maharashtra. Monica hopes to be an agent of demonstrable, enduring change, working towards the betterment of the world by working with women leaders. Her goal is to strengthen government capacity and forge collaborations between the Government and private sectors for the socioeconomic prosperity of women in India.

monica hemrajani

Nehal Jadon

2022 Fellow, Senior Program Manager at Teach For India, Pune

Nehal is an educator and coach currently working as senior program manager at Teach for India, where she lead programs in Pune. Prior to TFI, she was associated with Teach for Bangladesh and XSEED Education. Nehal co-led the Coaching Fellowship in partnership with coaches from Teach for All for program managers at Teach for India.

She has facilitated the Intro to Coaching Modules for Teach for All and has recently completed a coach educator program with Aephoria, a value-based leadership development organization based out of Capetown. 

Nehal is interested in working at the intersection of education and gender equality to coach women from across sectors to become aware, confident individuals. Outside of work, Nehal is an avid reader and enjoys cooking.

Nehal Jadon

Shilpa Jain

2022 Fellow, Co-Founder of Development Logics, Pvt. Ltd.

Shilpa Jain is the co-founder of Development Logics, Pvt. Ltd., an IT and management consulting company with expertise in offering digital transformation services for businesses globally. In her work, Shilpa navigates through data analytics, employing principles of Lean and Six Sigma. She handles the operations and HR sector of the company and provides support in IT services, skill development, BPO, and digital marketing. 

She left a corporate career in a metropolitan city to start a tech venture in the mountains with an extraordinary vision to build a tech ecosystem where young people get an opportunity to learn tech skills and find remote work opportunities without having to migrate to larger cities. She strongly believes that this helps to reduce impacts of migration in the cities and creates an economic impact in local communities.


Anagha Kamath

2022 Fellow, Director of Strategy, Impact and Innovation at The Mann Deshi Foundation

Anagha is the director of strategy, impact and innovation at The Mann Deshi Foundation, an organization working to empower women to have access to and control over their finances. Her organization also works to sustainably develop communities in rural areas of India.

Anagha works closely with the community empowerment programs, focusing on providing affordable and accessible healthcare for all. She also works on enabling women farmers to understand and practice climate-smart agriculture. In addtion, Anagha and encouraging young girls to become confident individuals through a sports-for-development program, a youth development center, and an innovation and curiosity center.

Anagha Kamath

Jacintha Jayachandran

2022 Fellow, Founder and Trustee of HopeWorks Foundation

Jacintha Jayachandran is founder and Trustee of HopeWorks Foundation and has been working in various spheres to promote gender equality and equity. Through the work on her foundation and her professional career as a leadership and diversity & inclusion coach, she has impacted more than 50,000 women across India. Jacintha has traversed through multiple career tracks beginning with talent management and development in organizations such as HP, Infosys Technologies, and OnMobile.

She is also an entrepreneur who co-founded Skillscafe, a leadership development organization. In her stint as a leader of Skillscafe she has nurtured leaders across a spectrum of industries and domains in India and beyond.

Jacintha recently completed a professional certificate in behavioral science from Ashoka University, and has completed her master’s degree in social work from Bengaluru University.  With 28 years of working experience and a desire to truly impact women and children, she dreams of impacting one million girls to march to college and then to employment.

Jacintha Jayachandran

Mercy T. Annapoorani

2022 Fellow, Executive Director of Bloom Trust

Since 1993, Mercy T. Annapoorani has been the Executive Director of Bloom Trust, an Indian women-led nonprofit focused on the health and community involvement of marginalized individuals.

Growing up in rural India, Mercy has direct knowledge and understanding of the challenges and hardships rural women in India meet, from access to adequate healthcare to promoting financial reliance. She is an expert in community engagement, health and rural development.

Mercy is also a board member of national and international boards focused on health-related topics, such as tuberculosis and HIV. She is currently a delegate of NGOs in developing countries for the UNITAID board in Geneva; a board member for The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease in Germany; and a member of The Global Coalition of TB Activists in India.

She is the recipient of the Kalai Valar Mani Award from the Madurai Arts Club in 1998 and the 2002 International Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life by the World Women’s Summit Foundation (WWSF), Switzerland.

Mercy T

Neha Kansara

2022 Fellow, Program Head of Capacity Building at Friends of Women's World Banking

Neha Kansara  heads the  capacity building vertical  at Friends of Women’s World Banking (FWWB) in India, which is a 40-year-old NGO working in the space of financial inclusion among low-income women. At FWWB, she focuses on strategizing and amplifying the organizations’ work on women-centric developmental initiatives so as to enable social and economic change in the lives of women from the low-income household segment.

In her 17 years of association with the organization, she has been instrumental in driving multi-state, large-scale programs on women’s empowerment, livelihood, and micro entrepreneurship development. On the institutional capacity-building front, she has played a critical role in the designing and execution of support interventions for more than 75 nascent micro-finance organizations and farmer-producer organizations. As one of her core roles, she has also managed networking, fundraising, and funder relationships for numerous Indian and foreign donors and foundations.

She holds an MBA with a specialization in finance, and worked at Citibank in the initial years of her career. This has served her well in the designing and implementation of various financial inclusion interventions at FWWB.

Neha kansara

Shruti Kapoor

2022 Fellow, Lead, Economic Opportunities at UNICEF Yuwaah

Shruti leads the economic opportunities pillar at UNICEF Yuwaah, which comprises enabling jobs, entrepreneurship, and apprenticeship opportunities for young people. She has eight years of work experience in social impact and sustainability, spanning across India, the US, and the UAE. Shruti has led pan-India program operations and business development at the McKinsey Social Initiative’s youth education-to-employment program (Generation India). She has also worked extensively at the grassroots level on women’s rights and entitlements, life-skills education, digital literacy, and healthcare.

She is passionate about impacting education, youth employment, gender equality, and environmental sustainability through program management, strategy, multi-stakeholder partnerships, policy advocacy, and data-driven decision making.

Shruti pursued an MBA (Rural Management) from IRMA and an MA in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. She loves to travel, dance, write poems in English and Hindi, and help young people in their career paths.

Shruti Kapoor

Devyani Kapoor

2022 Fellow, Founder and Director of Edudevs, School of Inspired Teaching and Learning

Mrs. Devyani Kapoor is an entrepreneur, author, a thought leader, and academic consultant. She is the founder and CEO of Edudevs, The School of Inspired Teaching and Learning. An ex-principal, she has more than 30 years of experience in the education sector and has worked with key brands in the industry, including D.A.V. Schools, Amity Schools, Heritage School, Educomp Solutions, KN. Modi Foundation, Extramarks, Cambridge University Press, The Great Place to Study, and many others.

She is credited with introduction of a number of innovative pedagogical techniques for effective classroom management, quality circle time, lesson planning, experiential learning, and student empowerment techniques. She is an author with Cambridge Publications in United Kingdom, and has authored several OBSE curriculum books. At present, she is an academic consultant with many leading educational institutions. She is also a senior resource person for Cambridge University Press and has conducted more than 1,000 capacity building workshops for educators across the country.

Devyani Kapoor

Nishtha Kapoor

2022 Fellow, Program Manager, Strategy and Partnerships at Protsahan India Foundation

Nishtha leads program strategy and partnerships at Protsahan India Foundation in India. Protsahan enables migrant girls facing sexual and gender-based violence to regain control over their lives through access to quality education, healthcare, and social protection linkages through direct action on the ground in communities and advocating systemic change.

Nishtha has been influential in actively creating a program for grassroots girls’ leadership. The program is based on creating hyperlocal solutions for hyperlocal problems at scale, on the core principles of intersectional feminism, equity, and gender justice in child protection for migrant girls (10-19 years old) in the 70+ urban slum clusters of Delhi.

She has a master’s degree in politics with a specialization in international studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is a feminist poet, storyteller, and artist. She was selected as a Young Leader Delegate to the 2019 AIT SEASAT Youth Conference held in Taiwan. She also participated in the Ocean in a Drop, an international program organized by Pravah and the Commonwealth Secretariat as one of 16 participants from eight Commonwealth countries.

Nishtha Kapoor

Pabitra Lama Sarmah

2022 Fellow, Founder of Xuta - The Thread Bank Initiative

Pabitra Lama Sarmah founded Maati Community in 2010, an organization focused on building pathways to women’s advancement and economic empowerment with financial interdependence. Maati is a social enterprise that builds capacity of communities to ensure empowerment for Indigenous Communities in the North East Region with sustainable and holistic interventions in livelihood and education, ensuring innovative solutions to deep-rooted development problems along with access to the confederation of expertise. She also founded Xuta, The Thread Bank Initiative, a project rolled out in 2019 that aims to establish a sustainable wholesale model from a village in Assam ‘Majuli’ with the women weavers of the Mising community. Its purpose is for urban market enterprises and institutions to have a proper supply chain process, which has never been done in this unorganized market in this part of the region. Through this organization, she also works to create a transparent model wherein beneficiaries get an opportunity to showcase their artistic work and earn income a powerful transparent manner. Thus, they feel ownership of their artwork and that their skill of weaving is properly valued.

Pabitra’s leadership in the initiative also allowed for tremendous increase in building financial interdependence, digital visibility, perseverance of art & culture, sustainable solution making, and women’s empowerment.

pabitha lama sarmah

Smita Mankad

2022 Fellow, Co-Creator of Creative Dignity

Smita Mankad has more than 27 years of experience spanning the corporate, social, and government sectors, in addition to a combination of grassroots-level work and board-level governance. These are unique combinations that give her an unparalleled perspective on both policy and implementation.

As an independent consultant to retail, social, and craft enterprises, Smita offers business planning support to client to ensure sustainability. She aims to combine commercial impact with social impact, which is her area of interest, passion, and experience.

Smita currently serves as Independent Woman Director on several corporate boards, including Fabindis Limited, Mahindra Auto Steel Ltd. (MASL), Mahindrs Heavy Engines Ltd. (MHEL), Mahindre Waste to Energy Pvt. Ltd., Imperial Auto Ltd., and Compect India Pvt. Ltd., a company in the area of international humanitarian aid that produces rescue food for children suffering from malnutrition. She is also on the boards of the Women on Wings (WOW) Foundation in the Netherlands and Indies, an Indo-Dutch organization with a goal of creating one million jobs for women in rural India; and TARSHI, an NGO that works on creating safe spaces for young people.

Smita is a core member of Governing Council, working on the collaborative team that created Creative Dignity (CD) in April 2020 as a COVID response to help the artisans and craftspeople of India in distress. CD is a volunteer movement spread across India to work on artisan relief, rehabilitation, and rejuvenation. It is a unique community-based movement, bringing social and systems changes through collaboration.

Smita Mankad

Deepa Pant

2022 Fellow, Founder and CEO of Svatanya

Deepa Pant is a social entrepreneur who follows her heart and believes in playing every role to the hilt. A NIFT post-graduate with more than 13 years in the corporate world, Deepa has experience ranging from working with brands like  Nike, Reebok, Woolworths, WoolRich, and the pan-India launch of an active wear brand. She has experience providing brand and merchandize consulting to IPL teams.

With a wide spectrum of experience and skills in brand innovation, positioning, design and development, SCM, business development and merchandise consultancy, she started SVATANYA, a Conscious Responsible Creative Crafts Design Enterprise, using India’s rich art and culture to create beautiful handcrafted products while up-skilling underprivileged women in Delhi slums towards financial empowerment. The impact has been expanded to marginalized children across the country whereby handcrafted toys and other products made by SVATYANA women are gifted to youth who live slums through NGOs, government hospitals and programs run by the SVATANYA India Foundation.

Since its inception, SVATANYA has been recognized by Indian Women Excellence & Leadership Award at National Women Leadership Summit 2019 in Vigyan Bhawan; Burgundy Achiever for Social Impact in 2018 by She The People at Bombay Stock Exchange; Social Impact Award at 25th Mystique India Conclave 2019 at IIC Delhi and more.

Her spiritual bent and firm belief in co-existence and co-creation further strengthened with her journey in pursuit of discovering herself through Akashic Reading and Theta Healing.

Deepa Pant

Srishti Parihar

2022 Fellow, Director of Share A Book India Association

Srishti is an engineer, educator, explorer, and poet. Her journey as a social entrepreneur began in late 2016 from a small room in Kota, Rajasthan, when her childhood friend recounted her recent visit to a low-income private school. She told Shrishti that the children studying there had no access to a library or facilities to read books for leisure. This bit of information made her feel uneasy and, at the same time, birthed in her a desire to change the situation.

Share A Book India started as a campaign to make sure that reading books in school for pleasure is not considered a luxury, but a necessity. Her organization has grown with a simple motto in mind to enable each child to read, imagine, and grow to her fullest potential.

Since day one, her work at SABIA reflects a vision to help India become a country of imaginative thinkers, questioners, and innovators. She firmly believes that there can be no substitute for reading when it comes to expanding a child’s imagination and continues to raise awareness about the gaps in our education system.

srishti Parihar

Rinsa Perapadan

2022 Fellow, Co-Founder of Tinker Qubits Foundation

Rinsa is an educator and professional who has worked extensively in the field of education. In her 14 years of experience she has seen how children from low-income communities struggle with schooling. One of the reasons for this struggle is the ineffective use of tools in education. Hence, she is passionate about how access to computer-based systems can level the playing field for the students who need it most.

She started Tinker Qubits Foundation to help improve access to quality learning, having seen the disparate education access rates and results for  underprivileged students. Tinker Qubits works towards reforming computer science education for students between the age group of 10-18 years in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Rinsa Vital Voices

Lakshmi Prabhakaran

2022 Fellow, Head of Impact at CleanHub

Lakshmi currently leads the Impact Initiatives at CleanHub, working with local waste management organizations to build solutions to address the waste crisis and help improve working conditions for the waste workers. In this role, she specifically works with urban waste workers to build predictable livelihood options in waste management and has established robust processes for sales and operations at scale.

Lakshmi has more than 10 years of experience working in the corporate sector, which she believes has helped in her organizational development skills. She takes a special interest in mentoring women into leadership roles, as has worked with large teams, mostly women, in the waste collection and sorting process. Her dream is to build a space where organizations can strengthen collaborations and professional relationships. This is an absolute necessity in order to scale the solutions implemented in climate action and to extend this success to improve the working conditions of the workers.

Lakshmi P Menon

Anushree Rai

2022 Fellow, Independent Policy and Research Consultant, currently a Research Consultant with Gender at Work

Anushree Rai is working towards eliminating gender and education inequality through small and large-scale initiatives. She has worked with Teach for India at the grassroots level by teaching more than 60 students language and mathematic studies. She also adopted a top-down approach through her work with the Ministry of Higher Education, Andhra Pradesh, UNICEF, and UNESCO, where she worked as a policy and research consultant targeting equity and inclusion issues.

Anushree worked with the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), where she was instrumental in developing a thoroughly researched vision document and manifesto for Tamil Nadu and West Bengal with a goal of developing a more nuanced understanding of how policy formulation takes place at a state level.

As a black belt and a national gold medalist in karate, Anushree is also an ardent believer of achieving women’s empowerment through sports, and works to spread and promote gender equity in the sports industry.

Anushree has completed her bachelor’s degree in political science from Miranda House followed by her master’s in international development from Sciences Po, Paris. Her passion for social equity and development led her to volunteer with programmes such as the Bright Burundi Scholarship, where she helped raise resources to fund Burundi high school students to pursue tertiary education. With an extensive experience in research, policy formulation, stakeholder management, government liaison, and strategizing, Anushree is on a path to becoming an entrepreneur working towards achieving a holistic women’s empowerment goal.

Anushree Rai

Srija Santhosh

2022 Fellow, Head of Sustainability at Eram Scientific Solutions

Srija Santhosh is the head of sustainability at Eram Scientific Solutions. She currently leads the Livelihood Project in Sanitation aimed at solving the multi-faceted challenges of public sanitation infrastructures, especially eToilets and their maintenance. These units are developed as independent Micro-WASH Centres, engaging SHGs, JLGs or Nano-Small Entrepreneurs to take ownership of the public utility. The model, “Micro-Enterprise for Sanitation” drives on the idea of the local community contributing to sustaining and maintaining public eToilets and bringing smart enterprises to the community.

Srija holds a master’s degree from Cochin University of Science and Technology and has more than 15 years of international and national experience working in varied sectors ranging from research field, pharma industry, academics to environment, and women’s entrepreneurship. Her innate capabilities and skills are in project management, communication, designing and facilitating workshops, and curating programs.


Sayantani Satpathi

2022 Fellow, Research Lead at Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation

Sayantani Satpathi is a mixed-methods researcher who works on a wide range of policy issues. Sayantani was a doctoral student in public policy at the University of Oklahoma in the United States. During her graduate studies, which took place at the University of Oklahoma and Kent State University in the US, she worked as a researcher on projects funded by U.S. federal and state agencies. Since then, Sayantani has served as the impact director for Going to School and as senior research associate for Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy. Currently, she is the research lead at Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation.

She has authored and co-authored several academic and research publications, including the “Adaptation and Improvisation of Social Policies for Indigenous Communities in India: Case Studies from Odisha and Chhattisgarh” (forthcoming 2023); “Macroeconomic Situation of Scheduled Tribes in India with a Focus on Central Indian Tribal Belt” (2022); “Forests, People, and Their Hopes: PESA and FRA Overview” (2022); “Model Agriculture Production Clusters Stimulate Growth in the Farm Sector and Double Farm Income of Marginalised Farmers (2022); “Addressing the Nutrition Crisis: Reflections from Odisha Millets Mission” (2021); “Movies, Masculinity and the Nationalist Discourse: A Study of Masculinity in Indian Violence Movies” (2013); “What Role Does Grassroots Activism Play in Addressing Environmental Injustice in the United States?” (2009); “Measuring Water Quality Improvements: TMDL Implementation, Indicators and Tracking” (2010); “Are We Walking the Walk or Just Talking the Talk: An Assessment of Local Government Collaboration in Ohio” (2010); and “Improving Para-Transit Operations with Technology” (2010). At the recently concluded 82nd Annual Conference of Indian Society for Agricultural Economics (2022), she received the Best Paper (under Dr N.A. Mujumdar Prize Award) for a paper she co-authored on “Livelihood Enhancement through Collectivisation of Women Farmers: A Case Study from Odisha.”

Sayantani Satpathi

Neeta Shah

2022 Fellow, Director of Livelihood Programs at Craftizen

She has over 27 years of professional experience in entrepreneurship, retail and supply chain, and the handloom and craft sector. Neeta is presently working in the capacity of Director – Livelihood Programs at the Craftizen Foundation. She brings to the table vast experience in the Implementation & execution of Cluster Development programs that are designed for training and Capacity building of the artisans – for sustainable and enhanced livelihoods. Presently, she is designing a collaborative program for capacity building through craft-based skill training for rural and urban women from marginalized communities that can facilitate an income-earning opportunity. With a deep passion for Indian textile crafts, Neeta hopes to someday start a media platform and document craft narratives and showcase the master artisans. She enjoys listening to Semi-classical music, Reading and Travelling. And occasionally pen down my thoughts.

Neeta Shah

Yashika Sharma

2022 Fellow, Rise Up! Young Woman Project Lead at YWCA of India

Yashika is a passionate social worker, facilitator, and an educator by profession. In her professional roles, she has worked with diverse groups and communities.

She believes in creating safe spaces that enable inclusive platforms for young people. She has contributed to developing programs that create transformative experiences for women leaders across different age groups. As a theatre artist, she is motivated to work on art-based programs involving creative techniques for community engagement and digital advocacy.

Yashika has a value-based approach to leadership and continues to engage people through values of empathy, co-creation, sensitization, and non-violent communication. She keeps a positive outlook towards life and believes in the magic of eye contact, smiles, and kindness. She loves interacting through storytelling, music, and travel experiences.

Yashika Sharma

Shilpi Sharma

2022 Fellow, COO of OSCAR Foundation

Shilpi is an experienced development professional with more than 15 years experience in the social sector. She has a doctorate from the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York and a master’s degree in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.

Her training as a researcher and experience as a social worker makes her a highly organized, methodical, and skilled asset at managing high-performance teams and understanding the deep-rooted issues of society. She is a true believer in the efficacy of education and lifelong learning.

She has worked with organizations like Magic Bus, Path International, Columbia Global Centers, among others. She is currently working as the COO of OSCAR Foundation.

Shilpi Sharma

Nadiya Habib Sheikh

2022 Fellow, Project Officer at ActionAid Association India

Nadiya Habib started her career as a social worker and project assistant with Mercy Corp’s International in 2016. A year later, she joined the local organization, HWOHL, as project coordinator for a UNICEF project. After that, she joined the ActionAid Association as a consultant for public education and child protection, where she worked from 2018-2020 until she was promoted to project officer in the Srinagar field office.

Nadiya is a self-described self-driven, disciplined and highly organized woman. By profession, she is a children and women’s rights practitioner with a strong background in working on child protection issues with vulnerable youth populations. In addition, Nadiya has direct experience working with children and families in intensive conflict-affected environments. She has worked as a trainer for life skills and leadership for youth of various ages and adult professionals. She is also a trainer for the Play for Peace Initiative and has, since 2017, conducted Play for Peace sessions across Jammu and Kashmir.

Nadiya is also an advocate for childcare, employment, and educational training programs that benefit the communities she serves.

Nadiya Habib Sheik

Shilpi Singh

2022 Fellow, Director of Bhoomika Vihar

The journey of Shilpi started from a middle-class family belonging to the Katihar District of Bihar. Her early education was completed from the State Board in Katihar. She became a young volunteer with Bhoomika Vihar during her studies in 2001. She credits her father and the founding director of Bhoomika Vihar for helping her get an early start in working on the eradication of discrimination and gender-based violence in society.

The prevalent suffering and social taboos in society motivated her to devote herself to the transformation and empowerment of girls and women from marginalized backgrounds. Pursuant to her objectives, she upgraded her skill and completed an MBA. To strengthen the movement against gender-based violence, Shilpi also mobilized a group of CBOs under the net of C.A.C.T., where she holds the post of state convener. Following the remarkable impact in the society, her efforts were acknowledged by the US Embassy as being one of their most prestigious professional exchange programs, IVLP in 2015.

She was also honored by International Fellowships from Canadian Development International Agency and from The Hague Academy for Local Governance, The Netherlands. Her motto of community driven and girl-led leadership has been used in a specialized intervention program for adolescent girls called, Durga Jattha. This intervention approach has led to multiple national accolades, including Shilpi being named a finalist in the Stop Slavery Award from Thomson Reuters Foundation in London in 2020, and the Aspiration Woman honor from former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar.

In addition, Shilpi has co-authored a report on organized fake, forced and early marriages. The facts from this 2003 study report were referred to in the UK Parliament in 2008 to understand and mitigate social challenges in South Asian countries. Her work on preventing bridal trafficking was also featured in the national edition of Hindu in 2017.

Shilpi was also recognized as Secret Superstar by Legendary Bollywood actor Mr. Amir Khan in 2017. In addition to be a devoted social activist, she is a single mother of a 5-year-old child and a Kathak dance enthusiast.

shilpi singh

Kalyani Shinde

2022 Fellow, Founder and Managing Director of Godaam Innovations

Kalyani Shinde is the founder and managing director of Godaam Innovations. Godaam is an agri-tech company that works in the onion ecosystem to redefine warehousing and reduce post-harvest wastage for farmers in storage. Gadaam’s distinction is being the first company to work on an IOT-based solution to reduce post-harvest wastage in onion storage.

Kalyani belongs to Lasalgaon, which is known for Asia’s largest onion market. She is dedicated to helping the farming community.

She completed her schooling in Lasalgaon from an Adventist school. She completed her computer engineering education in 2018 from Amrutvahini College of Engineering, Sangamnerunder, Pune University. She has been working diligently for the farmer community since then. Kalyani has been awarded multiple grants from the government for her company, such as BIRAC, Pusakrishi and more. She has also been recognized in the business category as a woman entrepreneur by Lokmat Sakhi. Kalyani has been a featured speaker on various subjects at colleges to inspire and motivate students towards entrepreneurship.

Kalyani is an avid reader, and enjoys her work as a leader and communicator.

kayani shinde

Tripti Shinghal Somani

2022 Fellow, Founder of Womennovator and CEO of KGS Advisors

Tripti Shinghal Somani graduated from Shri Ram College of Commerce and did her master’s of business law from National Law School, Bangalore. She is a professional chartered accountant with 15 years of experience. But she is a social entrepreneur at heart.

Tripti started Womennovator in 2015, a social impact incubator and platform to foster women entrepreneurship. She has progressive experience in profit and non-profit organizations, both large and small to medium-sized enterprises, including business and financial advisory for various organizations, such as PwC, Grant Thornton (GT), The World Bank.

She is a CEO of KGS Advisors, a financial advisory firm. She is the founder and co-founder of Womennovator, Gvriksh, QueensXI Cricket League, and ex-chairperson and ex-co-chairperson of Women Entrepreneurship Committee and MSME Committee–PHDCCI from PHD Chamber of Commerce and industry, ASSOCHAM, MEPSC Skill Council.

Tripti has served on the governing council of NIESBUD, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and also acted as board member to companies like SMC food (Madhusudan), SquareYards, and many more. She is an active TEDx speaker and has been honoured as Economic Times’ Inspiring Leaders Awards 2022 and BMW Unstoppable Women Awards. In addition, Tripti was awarded the UN Women India: KGS Advisors honor for SME Champion in the community category.

Screenshot 2022 12 10 143959

Harsha Upadhyaya

2022 Fellow, Founder and CEO of Imperium Edutech Pvt. Ltd.

Harsha is a serial entrepreneur with more than 10 years experience in bootstrapping a company from zero to close to a half million US dollars. She is the founder and CEO of Imperium Edutech Pvt. Ltd.

Imperium Edutech partners leading non-profit organizations and government bodies by creating quality educational content in various regional languages to help bridge the quality education gap. As the CEO and founder, she is instrumental in strategy, business development, and finding new ways to help build and scale the organization. She successfully bootstrapped the company from 0 to close to 2 cr in the very first year of the company’s operations.

Harsha has a deep passion for education and is on a mission to make quality education accessible to all children across the globe through her organization. She has an MBA in finance from JBIMS and is an engineer. She is also an alumni from the Goldman Sachs and IIMB 10000 Women Entrepreneurs Program. I

Harsha Upadhyaya

Jolly Varghese

2022 Fellow, Associate Director - Curriculum and Training of Industree Foundation

Jolly is the Capacity Lead at Industree Foundation. She is responsible for training and curriculum development across all value chains in different states of India. She is involved in developing skills and knowledge to align with performance and organizational needs. She has extensive experience in a wide range of functions, including as an evaluator, trainer, facilitator, content developer, and coordinator for The World Bank. Jolly has also aided communications projects for the state government and legal operations at DXC Legal and ULX.

A geographer by training from Jawaharlal Nehru University, her area of expertise lies in communication and behavioral skills, research, and content development for ILT and Instructional Design. She has been most impactful as a transformation manager with IT majors working with young adults.

Jolly enjoys meeting new people, hearing new perspectives, and is passionate about geography, travel, and coffee.

Jolly Varghese

Vaidehi Vaidya

2022 Fellow, Founder & Managing Director for Women In Sport India

Vaidehi Vaidya set foot into the world of sports as a football player. Later as a coach, she was keen to connect with like-minded women and set out in search of an organization that would enable her to do so. However, she was disappointed to find that were was no group specifically catering to women working in the sports industry. Determined to support women in sports across all levels, Vaidehi founded Women In Sport India (WISI) in 2020. This decision stemmed from her resolve to address a significant gap in the market, which was an absence of an empowering community for women to exchange knowledge about building a career in sports, both on and off the field.

Women In Sport India is building a global digital community for women in sports and fitness called WISI Tribe. Vaidehi’s passion for sports runs strong and she has spent many years advising in the field. As a consultant with the Asian Football Development Project, she spearheaded key youth and women’s football development projects across Asia.

During her research on Women’s Football in India with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), she began to think about revolutionizing sports development in the country consciously. As a sportswoman herself, her goal with WISI is to create a strong community that supports and empowers women in sports.

Vaidehi has an MBA in Football Industries from the University of Liverpool. She is also a TEDx speaker and the first official FIFA Fan Forum member. She is passionate about connecting with people who have a flair for entrepreneurship, especially women who have opted for unconventional paths.

Vaidehi Vaidya

Aruna Vinodhkumar

2022 Fellow, Senior Director of Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust

An alumnus of Stella Maris College, Madras University, India, Aruna holds a masters in Social Work with a specialization in community development and a graduation degree in Sociology. Most of her three decades of professional experience is with Bharatiya Yuva shakti Trust (BYST), a not-for-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship development with  the disadvantaged youth.

Aruna is passionate about creating a change in the society and believes very strongly about the purpose and calling that she has on impacting and mentoring young disadvantaged people. Having grown her career with BYST, she considers herself fortunate to have learned the threads on the job right from starting her career as a mentoring officer, recruiting, inducting, training and engaging mentors. She then moved on to managing the operations at the regional and pan-India level, streamlining and putting together operations systems and processes and consolidating manuals.

Her penchant for spotting talent and natural flair in managing people helped position her to set up and manage the HR department. She is proud to have been an integral part in building the organization brick by brick.

Aruna is an extremely focused, hands on and results-oriented leader. Combining key strengths in relationship building, service representation, and the ability to perform in fast-paced, competitive environment. She has been managing and monitoring BYST’s other emerging and existing verticals and her professional qualifications entitles to partnership programs with corporates, banks, and educational institutions organizations at both national and global level.

Aruna Vinodh Kumar

Diksha Sekhri

2022 Fellow, Foundation Lead at the Royal Rajasthan Foundation

Diksha has worked with corporate companies like Directi & Provogue. Later, she decided to transition to the social sector with a goal of making a small difference in the world. She enjoys using her corporate experience in marketing and business development to bring innovation and scale to the social sector.

She has been part of some amazing projects, such as bringing farmers online, conducting research on financial inclusion for underprivileged women, and working on issues of child rights and protection, all while working with some of the most passionate and high-impact organizations.

Diksha Sekhri

Vinatoli Yeptho

2022 Fellow, Co-Founder and CLO at Hutah Industries

Vinatoli Yeptho is a young entrepreneur from Dimapur, Nagaland, India. She is the Co-Founder of Hutah Industries. Her start-up is currently working in the bio-energy helm in Northeast India. Through her work, she aims to address the impact of energy generation on the environment, especially in the states of Northeast India and on its indigenous population. Her vision is to mitigate the dependence of states of North East India on fossil fuel-based traditional systems of generating energy and help India transition into green and renewable energy generation.

She co-founded Hutah Industries in 2020 and is currently serving as the CLO of the company. Her start up primarily focuses on converting energy crop (bamboo) into renewable electricity and accelerate India’s rural sustainable development goals in the far ends of the North East.

She is passionate and focused on building India into a energy resilient nation, by creating a zero carbon, lower-cost energy future.

Vinatoli Yeptho

Manjula Dharmalingam

2022 Fellow, Director of World of Opportunities for Women LLP

Manjula is a founder of Her Second Innings, a tech platform to create financial freedom for sabbatical women professionals through career streams. Her dream is to adapt technology to impact society at large scale. Today this platform helps 30,000 women professionals  build their passion through in-demand IT careers.

Manjula has more than three decades of corporate experience in technology, business, and people management that includes setting up and managing enterprises. Previously, she was selected  India by US Consulate / Fortune 500 Global women mentorship program. She has been featured in Time of India, Your Story, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, and women’s forums for helping women restart their careers with financial freedom.

She also invests in and mentors budding women entrepreneurs to build their start-up businesses.

Manjula Profile Pic

Revathi Radhakrishnan

2022 Fellow, Director of Vanavil Trust

Revathi Radhakrishnan comes from a middle class, small-town background and she built herself into a crusader and for the Nomadic Tribes. A changemaker who keeps women and children in the centre of everything she does, Revathi finished her B.Sc in mathematics from Bharathi Women’s College in Chennai and has completed a Diploma in Theatre for Education and Social Transformation from the Shiv Nadar University.

Revathi has undergone leadership and social sector training and serves in the district committees for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers, SSA and ethics committee of the Nagapattinam Medical College Hospital. She started her career as a television journalist, producing shows and workimg in the movie industry. The Asian Tsunami of 2004 took Revathi as a volunteer to Nagapattinam and she ended up founding Vanavil for the betterment of the children and women of Nomadic Tribes through education and empowerment. Vanavil has now grown into an organization that has liberated more than 500 child beggars from that condition and has educated them. It is creating livelihoods to more than 500 Nomadic Women who are otherwise into begging. Vanavil runs a school, children’s home, and after school program reaching to 800 children and a higher education program for Nomads.

Revathi has transformed the lives of children and women in the Boom Boom Maatukarar community through her passionate and one-of-a-kind educational model and financial support program. She also runs an independent publishing house named Maitri Books specializing in feminist titles. She has also translated books on Ambedkar and written a book of poems published by Kaalachuvadu Publications in 2014.

Revathi R

Anne Eraplackal

2022 Fellow, Program Lead at Raabta - Voyage Educare Foundation

Anne is an educator with a passion for discovering and providing access to quality education to the remotest communities. Anne’s approach to taking on new challenges is to go forth with an abundance of research and planning.

Anne has a degree in journalism, but realized that news writing wasn’t something she wanted to pursue longterm. Thus, during her final year in college, she volunteered with Teach for India in Dharavi, Mumbai, where she identified her passion for teaching. Right after college, she joined the fellowship in Pune and taught kids through one year of in-person classes and one year of online classes. Through the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, Anne and her team worked to provide access and support to her students in any way possible. After the fellowship, she received an opportunity to the Voyage Educare Foundation as a Training and Impact Associate. The organization runs a school transformation program and she was in charge of designing the program’s first training
across several geographies.

Through the years, Anne has learned and progressed throughout the organization and is currently leading a team of managers in three key geographies as the Program Lead. Through her years, she’s learned about managing teams, setting organizational culture, coaching school leaders and teachers, and analyzing data.

Anne Eraplackal_Headshot

Artee Kumari Munda

2022 Fellow, Regional Co-founder of Aahan Foundation for Social Change

Artee K. Munda is a self-described “tribal girl” who comes from a village in Jharkhand state where child marriage, trafficking and domestic violence is seemingly in every house. No stranger to the issues, Atree, herself, has worked as a child laborer on road projects. She is not only the first-generation female learner in her family, but also the first girl to complete grade 12 and graduate in her village. All of her friends and cousins got married by the time they were 16 years old.

Artee credits her success to meeting the team Aahan Foundation for Social Change, where she currently works as its regional cofounder. She enjoys painting and found a platform within Aahan to fulfill her dreams, and say it is the reason why she was afforded the opportunity to pursue her education and ultimately graduate. During the course of her education, she was selected for the Udaan program of Aahan and then took Madhubani painting classes in Delhi which led to an opportunity to do exhibitions in corporate sectors.

Currently, Artee is also teaching Madhubani painting to other girls. She also goes to schools to teach painting because there are no arts subjects in government schools. Working for the girls of the village has become a part of her life. She also trains the girls who are trafficking survivors and/or grade-school dropouts with awareness programs tailored to suit their needs. Artee has trained 500 girls from one panchayat after becoming a part of the Aahan Foundation for Social Change.

After the WomenLead India Fellowship, she plans to become apart of Aahan’s grassroots team where she will conduct awareness workshops across Jharkhand.


Sridevi Mogilineedi

2022 Fellow, Director of Bhumi

Sridevi Mogilineedi is the director of Bhumi, one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organizations focusing on causes like education, environment, animals, and community welfare. All of the projects she has overseen aims to build a strong volunteer-driven movement across cities. Sridevi’s non-profit work also encourages the holistic development of young people by helping them to enhance their 21st century skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, problem solving, ethics, social responsibility, and digital literacy.

Sridevi Mogilineedi

Shraddha Gargatti

2022 Fellow, Assistant Project Manager at Pune Knowledge Cluster

An electronics and communications engineer by training, Shradda is a science and technology enthusiast who loves empowering people. She calls herself an “unconventional” lifelong learner, and says she believes in achieving the impossible by being a visionary.

Shradda works as an Assistant Project Manager at Pune Knowledge Cluster (PKC) established by the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India. PKC aims to bring together academia, R&D institutions, and the industry of Pune and its surrounding areas to address challenging problems of the region through innovative means, using scientific knowledge and engaging highly skilled-human resources. Her current work focus involves providing opportunity for school students and teachers to access and adopt digital content related to STEM education. The purpose is to empower teachers to use digital pedagogical techniques and support students in developing an inquiry-based and collaborative learning approach. The goal is to help them build critical thinking, collaboration, technological literacy, and problem-solving skills that are in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP).

Shradda’s fulfilling career as a science & technology enthusiast began with a seemingly impossible goal of traveling to more than 100 places in her lifetime and contribute to education in a creative way. She received the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to realize this goal as a science communicator with a prestigious Indo-German joint venture Science Express, a unique and innovative mobile exhibition mounted on a 16-coach, AC train, an initiative of NCSTC, Department of Science and Technology. Shradda travelled to more than 100 cities and towns across the country to promote awareness about S&T among millions of young people. Later, she managed the science outreach project, Exciting Science Group, by liaising with practicing researchers from two of India’s premier research institutes, CSIR-NCL and IISER-Pune to expose school students to the thrill of research and discovery by engaging them in inquiry-based programs aimed at conveying the excitement of science and technology. She strongly believes that every individual has immense potential to become an effective contributor to the development of a nation and the world.

Her vision towards 2030 and beyond is to empower socially disadvantaged youth to contribute effectively towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and to create employment opportunities for them. On the personal front, Shradda loves traveling and meeting people from different cultures, trekking snow mountains, listening to music and reading books on life philosophy.

Shraddha Gargatti

Powered by:

reliance foundation logo
Vital Voices Logo