Director-Community Arts and Crafts Foundation
Sharada Kerkar is a development practitioner working at the intersection of arts, culture, and education. She has over seven years of work experience in digital education, social entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment. She is the Director of Community Arts and Crafts Foundation and a Program Lead at the Museum of Goa where she specializes in organising skill development projects and the integration of art into livelihoods. She is also a freelance illustrator with a strong passion for visual storytelling. She holds a Master’s in Public Policy and Human Development from the United Nations University in the Netherlands and is a Policy and Design Consultant at Justice Adda. Her strong commitment to social justice and creativity fuels her drive to empower marginalized communities and improve lives.
Founder-Director and CEO
Protsahan India Foundation
Sonal Kapoor is the Founder & Board Member, of Protsahan India Foundation – an organization based in New Delhi, India, that enables girls facing sexual and gender-based violence to regain control over their lives. She is an esteemed Ashoka Fellow, Vital Voices Fellow & World Bank Fellow. She has pursued Child Protection Law from the National Law School of India University. Sonal has served as Member, of the Expert Committee on Anti-Child Trafficking (Delhi Commission of Women) and Member, the CSO Coalition to End Child Marriage in India. She often engages with training educators, and policymakers on the intersections of child rights law & child psychology to birth sustainable systems change in child protective services.
Protsahan, under her leadership, has rescued over 1148 girls from violence and abuse and reaches out to more than 81,000 vulnerable adolescent girls every year in impoverished slums by ensuring robust social protection linkages to strengthen their families so that these girls don’t end up institutionalized in shelter homes in the first place. Through Creative Arts and Technology based mainstreaming programs in forgotten corners of the world for invisibilized girls and children, Sonal’s work is breaking intergenerational cycles of gender-based violence with trauma-informed-compassionate care models of healing. Protsahan works tremendously to create sustainable care linkages for vulnerable child orphans by linking them with critical government benefits & long-term psychosocial counselling. Gender Transformative & Trauma-Informed Child Rights Policies, Integrated Child Protective Services and Strategic Social Media Communication for Nonprofits are her core areas of interest. She tweets at @ArtForCause.
Head of Programs,
Youth ki Awaaz Media Private Limited
Gurkirrat Sachdeva is the Head of Programs at Youth Ki Awaaz (YKA), which is India’s largest writing platform for young people to speak up and create impact. Her expertise lies in building strategies for social good, digital media campaigns and programs to mobilize and engage young people, at scale, on critical issues. Over the last 8 years, Gurkirrat has worked across campaigns and content to establish YKA as India’s foremost digital campaigning platform creating impact, and has been leading capacity building programs and data mobilisation efforts on the platform. She has led several campaigns on issues ranging from menstrual hygiene management, climate action, road safety, to equity in education, good governance, and internet safety and access. She’s also a Malala Fund Education Champion since 2020.
CEO, Digikargha Foundation
Shobitha Kedlaya works at Digikargha Foundation, an organisation that aims at empowering artisans by digital training, and equipping them with tools and skills that can help them live a life of pride and dignity. She is part of ProtoVillage, an intentional community built by the villagers for the villagers, to be the prototype of a resilient rural community based on principles of mutualism.
Shobitha Kedlaya followed the usual path of joining corporate life after doing her BSc. Textiles and a management degree in Marketing. She worked with corporates like J.K.Bombay ( Park Avenue) and Huhtamaki Van Leer. She quit to set up two companies, one a corporate gifting company and then a designer label called Inspira, which she sold off to move to a village to join her husband in setting up ProtoVillage. In the village, she learnt farming, permaculture and other aspects of sustainable living. Her work with the villagers and understanding of rural ecosystems, combined with her business experience is now coming together to bring life to Digikargha.
Shobitha is an accomplished Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancer; has dabbled in folk dances and is also trained in martial arts. She loves trekking, cycling (strictly on plains) and her intermittent fasting from work with her do-nothing breaks and self-studies in philosophy. She has authored two books and conducts sessions on collectively gaining a deeper insight into the Self.
Mithila has been working as a consultant in the space of content, strategy, partnership development, and communication within polity & sustainability with a focus on digital. And leads digital content for various high-impact organizations in the city and globally.
At KhaanaChahiye Foundation – a civil society-led relief effort in Mumbai, she is working to develop a sustainable model of livelihoods focused on combating hunger in urban cities. Her work since the pandemic has been focused on creating a humane approach for crisis management with women and children at the heart of this initiative. She also provides pro-bono strategic consulting to grassroots organizations.
She is passionate about lending voices to people and bringing stories from the ground and documenting stories both visual and written.