The Team

Vidya Shankar, Chairperson

In her previous avatar, Vidya was a Chemical Engineer. However, she has since swapped those robes in favor of a more rewarding one which seeks to create safe spaces and communities for children.

In the last fifteen years, she has been a part of an Adoptive Families Support Group, SuDatta, a Member of the Juvenile Justice Board and has served as the Chairperson of Chennai District's Juvenile Welfare Board besides being an active proponent of Children's issues especially quality and meaningful education.

She continues to conduct workshops on Juvenile Justice, Laws related to children and is experienced in training teachers up to middle school level on child rights and school reforms to make them child friendly and parent participative. She also offers parenting and educational counselling sessions over Skype and in person.

She has completed her AMI Elementary Montessori (for 6-12 years old children) Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma in Child Rights Law from National Law School, Bangalore.

S.S.RAJASEKAR, Patron Advisor and mentor

Mr. Rajashekar has served in our Committee right from our earliest days. He is the Managing Trustee of National Agro Foundation an organisation dedicated to rejuvenate agriculture with training of farmers by experts and experimenting with local knowledge. He offers his time to bring technical and funding support for our foundation through his contacts and the Rotary Club of Madras East that he is a member and was the past president.

Relief Foundation was extremely fortunate to have the blessings and guidance of his late father - the illustrious Shri. C.Subramaniam in conceiving and launching our mission for children.

Shri. Rajsekar is our Patron Advisor and mentor.

BALA J. RAMAN, Trustee

Bala J Raman is an entrepreneur and an investor on the Board of four companies in the IT and ITES space. As a Co-Founder and President of Congruent Solutions since 1999, Bala is steering the company to scale new peaks every year.

Bala is an alumnus of the premier business school, The Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIMC), where he did his MBA specializing in Marketing & MIS. He is also a Mechanical Engineer from the Delhi College of Engineering and has been invited for guest lectures in several leading Management Institutes, including IIMC.

He is an active member of the Rotary Club and is a Past President of Rotary Club of Madras East. During his tenure, the Rotary club raised funds and supported a number of significant projects for underserved communities, health and education. He brings the goodwill of his contacts and guides us in the path towards our vision with his entrepreneurial and administration experience.

R Venkatakrishnan FCA DISA(ICAI), TRUSTEE and Hony. Treasurer

Over 30 years of post-qualification professional experience in industry and consulting with substantial experience working with growth stage and SME in consulting and funding Hands on approach with solution orientation. Specialties: Finance, Business and Strategic Management consulting, Debt Funding, Venture Capital & Private Equity, Mergers & Acquisitions, Quality & Information Security Management, Risk Management, Audits, Tax Advisory, Strategic Management Advisory, Start-Up Advisory Rich hands on experience in corporate advisory, including structuring transactions, audits and taxation across industries and organizations of different sizes in the SME sector in areas of fund raising, debt & equity, acquisitions, merger and exits. Hands on experience in management of Family Offices including strategic investments, Family Trusts, Succession Planning.

As a qualified assessor in quality and information security management systems facilitated a number of organizations in their pursuit to certifications in conformance to International Standards. This has been across industries with a majority of them in the Indian Healthcare space with specific reference to Medical Diagnostics Services and Hospitals. On the panel of some of International Certification Bodies as Subject Matter Expert. A regular contributor to articles on finance, quality and banking in business newspapers and magazines. Charter Member and Member - Governing Council TiE Chennai and Member - Management Committee, Madras Management Association

C.V.VINOD, Trustee

Vinod is an electronics engineer serving the Dept of Telecom in the capacity of G.M currently in a posting at Riyadh. His interest in serving underprivileged was channelized when we started Relief Foundation.

Vinod brings years of administration experience and a goodwill network due to which Relief Foundation is benefitting in its current expansion projects in rural areas.

He is also in the board of trustees of Anbagam TERDOD, an NGO dedicated to the cause of rehabilitation of the mentally ill abandoned persons.

P. K. Raghunathan , Advisor

Raghunathan is a Strategy consultant and a performance coach. He has been associated with Relief Foundation for the past 3 years in a capacity of an advisor and provides us with immense mind training inputs on how to evolve and execute Score cards to measure performance of each member of our team.

He is a Corporate consultant with a background in the aviation and banking industry. His contributions to the Foundation include scaling up and recording performance while keeping the mission on track.

Murali J. Krishnan, Core member

Murali Krishnan is a post graduate in English and Computer Applications. During his tenure in the Software Industry, he had volunteered for many years in the child welfare sector, especially the Juvenile and Observation Homes in Tamilnadu.

After volunteering with Relief Foundation for 3 years from 2003-2006, he became a core member in 2006. He plays a key role in initiating dialogues with potential schools that are looking for change and support in scaling up, teacher development and adopting best classroom practices that will make learning meaningful for children.

His core strengths are in creating leaders and providing opportunities for youth to bring out their potential to become self reliant. Murali is associated with Relief Foundation for the past 12 years from a volunteer to a core group member and is spearheading our CASCADE rural project in Thiruvannamalai.

He stays in close connect with students to understand and implement their needs in the classroom as well as in their families and communities. His areas of expertise built over years of experience in the education sector include, school administration system reforms as well as enshrining good practices for child friendly schools.

T.V . Champakalatha, Core member

Born, brought up, educated in Chennai, now residing in Mumbai. A Chartered Accountant and a Graduate from the Indian Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India( ICWA) by profession. Presently working with the Chennai based Shriram Group for almost 20 years now as Vice President. She has worked in various companies of the Group in senior positions. She is presently heading the Gold Loan Division of the company in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Having worked for long in a Group which targets the micro finance group, she has understood the strengths and weaknesses of the middle and lower class of the society.

She is a versatile and fun loving person having a great interest in travelling and meeting new people. She values our culture and society. Having had an opportunity to visit the rural part of India constantly and having been associated with the people in these areas, she felt it a social responsibility to improve the social conditions of them in terms of personal hygiene, basic education, culture etc, and especially of the disadvantaged, by getting involved in some sort of psychological counseling, child welfare and community development programs and women empowerment.

Juliette Viard- Gaudin, Core member

Juliette has completed a BA in European Studies and Modern Languages, from the University of Bath UK. She started working as a volunteer with Relief Foundation on different projects, holding creative workshops for kids, documenting data, networking with other local actors, going on field trips, etc. Having seen the work in the field and the challenges it offers, she decided to become a member of the Foundation so that she could contribute in whatever way possible.

As a bi-national citizen - French and Canadian - and having enjoyed a multicultural education in various countries across the globe, she became aware of the infinity of ways of life and cultures. From her field experience, she understood the extremely uneven levels of development across the world and how it takes people who are willing to assume responsibility to work towards the development of more sustainable political, economic and social systems. She lived in Argentina for nearly 6 months as part of internship and worked with the NGO Un Techo Para Mi Pais (A roof from my country) building emergency cabins for slum dwellers. She believes that education in its broad and inclusive sense is a key element to trigger deep and meaningful change.

Ever since her last visit to India her interest for this field has been increasing every day.

Dipa Dixit, Core member

A lawyer by profession (LLM, Cambridge University, U.K.) with over 24 years of legal experience (litigation, corporate law & consultancy) at the national and global level. Was appointed as a Member (Law & Policy), in the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Government of India, and has served there for 6 years (2007 to 2013) under the Chairpersonship of Dr. Shantha Sinha, a well-known child rights activist. Has worked on many issues related to Children and their entitlements and continues to do so till date. Amongst other things, her experience entails:

  • Working on child related and gender issues, especially in civil unrest & insurgency affected areas.
  • Review of existing laws, policies, schemes, regulations, identifying gaps and suggesting effective changes as also recommending new ones; Eg. Comments to National Child Policy 2012; Right to Education Act, 2010, Food Security Act, Prevention of Sexual Offences Against Children Act, 2012; Amendments to Child Labour Act, Juvenile Justice Act, etc. Prepared a new Child Labour Policy & Child Labour Action Plan, Corporal Punishment Guidelines, Policy for Children in Civil Unrest Areas, Adolescent Policy; Protocols for Armed Forces for Arrest, Apprehension & Encounter Deaths of Children, etc.;
  • Field work, Conceptualising and operationalising Pilot Programs to address their needs. Developing a strategy and work plans for policy implementation at all levels; Developing, training and nurturing cohesive and collaborative teams, resulting in excellent results;
  • Organising public hearings across the Country to address child related issues;
  • Collaborating with multiple Ministries including the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to establish an organization structure to run multiple pilot schemes, which became the basis to recommend changes in Policies & Law.
  • Devising platforms for dialogue, inter se different Government Ministries, Central & State Governments, Government & civil society groups, academic institutions, experts, and community;
  • Participating in roundtable discussions and workshops nationally and internationally on issues related to children in civil unrest and armed conflict situations.

Continues to provide Consultancy on an on-going basis on Policy & Legislative framework to both Government & Corporate Sectors.

Veera, Core member

Veera is a father of two daughters and husband of a Montessori teacher. His whole family is a part of CASCADE resource center and Relief Foundation. He has been working as software programmer for the past 13 years. He realized the importance of living with nature during his 13 years experience of living in city. This experience has made him to move closer to nature by focusing on agriculture in every possible way. Veera strongly believes in the concept of 'Kaani Nilam' (1.33 acres). He says that Kaani Nilam is sufficient for a family (up to 7 members) to setup an ecological farm and create a sustainable living. His dream is to lead such a life. He is working with Relief Foundation to setup an ecological farm and a CASCADE resource center in the farm, which will not only cater to the needs of children but also to a small community of people. His aim is to make such a place to attain self-sufficiency and also a replicable model.

Shankar Anand, Core member

Shankar Anand is a post graduate from PSG Tech, Coimbatore. He is a software engineer by profession. He is a father to a daugher and a son. He is husband to an aspiring Montessori teacher. He and his family are a part of CASCADE FLC. He is passionate about education and overall well-being of children. Shankar thinks that his introduction to the Montessori world after becoming a part of CASCADE FLC has greatly influenced his idea of education and child psychology in general.

Charath, Core member

A Chemical Engineer from IIT Madras and an MBA from IIM Lucknow, Charath has had varied experience of over 20 years in the corporate world especially in the field of Textiles, Apparel & Manufacturing.

Presently as Managing Director & CEO of Celebrity Fashions Ltd. And Indian Terrain Ltd. a Garment Manufacturing and retailing company, he leads a team of over 5000 workers and staff, 80% of who are women and come from the rural villages and taluks in and around Chennai.

A strong believer in the Montessori System and passionate about the need to improve our Education system, he has been actively involved with CASCADE FLC and in trying to strengthen and expand the concept of CASCADE. Both his children are members of CASCADE and Vidya (his wife), is involved with CASCADE as a parent trainer.

In his Words "I see the 15-20 years of my life devoted to Children Education and Rural development and am thankful to have found Relief Foundation as a platform to be associated with to further this".

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