Sachi has been dedicated to social justice issues from a young age and has participated in numerous programmes and trainings focused on restorative justice, social change and non-violence in India and in the US. She has been a fellow of the Oxfam International Youth Partnership Program, a venturer at Ashoka’s Youth Venture, a mentee at the Metta Center for Non violence education’s program called Metta Mentors and volunteered with organizations like Friends without borders, INspire and Service Space.
Sachi entered the children’s home in 2012 as a volunteer to paint the white walls of the home. She was so moved by the condition of the children in the home that she couldn’t help wondering what to do about it. A filmmaker by profession, she thought the best thing would be to create a film to raise funds to better the situation of the home. However, life had other plans. A deep believer in the power of inner transformation and the role of community in this, Sachi realized these young people needed something deeper and more powerful than what the current system was providing.
Sachi’s experience as a filmmaker, entrepreneur and social worker has led her to work on this big challenge with creativity. Today, Sachi drives Ashiyana’s unwavering commitment to shape holistic solutions that lead to children and youth achieving the potential that they not only desire, but also deserve. She is committed to enabling young people to change their path, and disrupt the systems that perpetuate their vulnerability. She is happiest sitting in circles with the children to empower them to dream and be positive.
Kadambari’s personal experience with a counsellor led her to pursue a career in Psychology. After her masters in Clinical Psychology, Kadambari worked in a school and college as a counsellor for children and adolescents. Since joining Ashiyana, she has enthusiastically jumped in the deep end to keep things running at the Child Guidance Clinic in Umerkhadi Home, Dongri. Her non judgemental approach, incredible patience and creative thinking, she is able to rekindle hope in every child and young person she meets.
A Masters in Clinical Psychology, Diana began her career as a Triage specialist and worked for Employee Assistant Program. She has also worked for relationship counselling and family therapy. As a counsellor for the girls in need care and protection in the Umerkhadi Home, she handled cases of children who were victims of POCSO Act, child trafficking, child labour and intellectually disabled children. Diana has an eclectic therapeutic approach and with her empathy and compassion she heals the most wounded heart.
Youth Development Coordinator
Pranita, having done her Bachelors in Sociology from SNDT went ahead in pursuing her Masters in Social Work in the area of Children and Families from TISS. As a result of her field work experience at a Children’s Home, Mankhurd she found her strengths in connecting with children and stakeholders in the Child Care Institutions. To fuel her passion of working with children within the juvenile justice system she joined Ashiyana where she keeps track of children’s trajectories and makes sure they are slowly but steadily progressing on their life path.
Assistant Youth Development Coordinator
Raj’s personal life story brought him to Ashiyana. As a child he went through his own struggles of trying to fit into the school system. His exposure in the field of social work at a young age and his curiosity for life and learning has led him to work with non profits like SAHER, and PUKAR. He has also worked as a mentor at PUKAR. Raj is the peer mentor and the bhaiya at Ashiyana who the boys not only consider as a friend but also confide in.
Sonali Ojha has been developing psychosocial programs for vulnerable and disenfranchised children and youth for the last 20 years. She is the founder and visionary of Dreamcatchers’ Foundation. Sonali didi constantly pushes us to find depth and meaning in the work we do. Without her, we would not have been able to come this far. She has helped us understand institutions and the needs of children in them. When we feel disappointed, helpless, lost or confused, we go to her and with a big smile, infinite patience and compassion she re-wires us and helps us find our path again.
John began his life of service at 21 when he led group therapy sessions for the County Probation Department, in the San Francisco Bay Area, US. He has now been serving some of the most vulnerable populations here for over half a century. He established “The Foundry School” for justice-involved youth and in the last 40 years has led free, intergenerational community support groups focusing on grief and trauma. Since 1980, John is the director of the ‘500 Mile American Indian Spiritual Marathon’. For us, John is an elder, a wisdom keeper who guides us so that we can go deep, stay grounded and work in the most aligned and natural way.
Dev bhai introduces himself as a”Volunteer”, but honestly he is the man who has inspired and transformed many young lives. He is the co-founder of Down To Earth and has worked at organizations like Akanksha, Indicorps and Unlimited India. He is also on the board of many young organizations like ours. Dev bhai is the first person we call when there is a problem. We trust him to ask the tough questions when we have strayed off our path and are not being true to ourselves and our vision. From designing operations, to filling in the gaps and helping us sail through rough times he has been there like a rock.
Advisor and Collaborator
Sonya initiated the Ahimsa Collective in January 2016. She has 20 years’ experience in social justice education and 10 years’ experience in restorative justice. She is an Associate Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She has trained hundreds of facilitators in trauma healing and restorative justice practices across the U.S. She’s worked closely with survivors of violent crimes, people who have committed violence, families impacted by violence and law enforcement. She is a survivor of sexual abuse and a first-generation immigrant from the North-western part of India. She speaks at national conferences, colleges and on the radio, and occasionally writes short articles in Huffington Post.