About Ashoka India
Founded by Bill Drayton in 1981, today Ashoka is the world’s largest network of leading social entrepreneurs and ranks among the top 5 NGOs of the world. The first-ever social entrepreneur to be selected as an Ashoka Fellow was Gloria De Souza from India, in 1982, who revolutionised the system of learning in classrooms.
Impacting millions of people and communities through their work, our Fellows include people like Nobel Laureates Kailash Satyarthi (Bachpan Bachao Andolan) and Magsaysay awardee Anshu Gupta (Goonj), among several others. Currently, we have over 400 Ashoka Fellows in wide-ranging fields such as farming, education, human rights, finance, local media, and women and youth empowerment, across India.
Ashoka India functions as a collaborative network that supports and amplifies change by bringing together these changemakers.
In the course of our work, having witnessed the changing patterns in society over close to three decades, and the way our problems are increasing at a pace faster than we can solve them, we have realised that to truly make things better for everyone we need to head towards a world where everyone is a changemaker. And just like social entrepreneurs, the world needs everyone to start practising skills like empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving.
To this end, we believe that changemaking has to start young, and through our programs like Youth Venture, Changemaker Schools, and Health and Nutrition, we find, develop, and support young changemakers, enabling them to be role models in their communities, and give them the skills to thrive in our changing world.
Our office also serves as the regional hub for Ashoka’s activities in South Asia. Find out more about our work in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. And to know more about our activities around the year, do read our latest annual report.
Ashoka Young Changemakers (AYC) is a global network of powerful young people who are creating an Everyone A Changemaker world. Each Ashoka Young Changemaker has launched social initiatives, formed peer-led teams, and created solutions for the good of all while activating others to join in. Now, they are stepping up to shape a global conversation in redefining what it means to be a young person growing up in today’s world.
Jaya joined Ashoka in April 2015 as a part of the Integrated Technology Initiative team. She is a mother of two, multilinguist, Drupal evangelist who started her career as an Analytical Chemist and then a Russian Technical translator and Interpreter and now enjoys development of websites since 2007.
Yashveer leads the “Ashoka Young Changemakers” program at Ashoka. Ashoka Young Changemakers program was launched in the year 2018 to identify, select and build a global community of Teen Changemakers. Prior to this, he founded a youth non-profit to address talent inequity in the development sector and influence youth culture in India by inspiring and educating university students to pursue social innovation and entrepreneurship. Yashveer has co-authored a book #ChangeStartsYoung featuring inspiring stories of young changemakers from across India.
For his work, Yashveer has been recognized in "Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia" list in the year 2016. He was also awarded Youth Action Net 2012 Fellowship – as 1 of the 20 young social entrepreneurs representing 16 different countries by International Youth Foundation.
Yashveer earned his MBA at University of Oxford, where he was the only MBA student to receive Vice-Chancellor Social Impact Award 2014 for his initiatives as Co-Chair Social Impact, Oxford Business Network (OBN). As the President of Student’s Union BITS Pilani 2006-07, Yashveer co-founded the University VISION 2020 Plan.
Shruti leads Ashoka’s Youth Years program in South Asia. In her role, she leads the efforts to search, select and build a community of teen changemakers & institutional partners to help society re-imagine a world where every young person can grow practicing to be a changemaker. Prior to this, Shruti has helped various social enterprises and impact organisations in measuring and communicating their impact. In her previous role, Shruti has worked with Aavishkaar, one of the largest Impact Investment fund in India and Social Venture Partners, an international venture philanthropy organization.
Shruti has a Ph.D. in Media Studies from Florida State University, and also holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Venture, Fellowship & Climate team at Ashoka South Asia. Raghav will be based out of our Bangalore Office.
Raghav started his changemaking journey as a teenager and brings an amazing entrepreneurial track record through his various initiatives. He graduated from the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) in 2015 with a degree in Law and Politics of South Asia. He has been working in the Impact Space from last few years through various organisations in areas as diverse as Governance, Health, Agriculture and Development. This experience has seen him spend time in different states & regions across India. Prior to this, Raghav also worked with SELCO, run by an Ashoka Fellow Mr. Harish Hande, which influenced his thinking to work at shifting mindset across various corporations.
Raghav is particularly passionate in engaging & mobilising communities to take ownership and bring behavioural shift to improve their quality of life. He is one of the youngest Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum in India, through which he continues to design strategic initiatives to better his city, Bangalore.
Outside of the impactful work that Raghav is doing, he has strong interest in Reading, Golf and spending time with his friends.
Raghav is excited to be part of our Global Team of Teams to help achieve our mission of creating an Everyone a Changemaker world. Kindly feel free to reach out to Raghav at [email protected]
Venkata has over 10-years of experience in Accounting, Finance analysis and Reporting. Venkata works with Ashoka Finance Team on Ashoka consolidated audit, Finalizing GL, Grant analysis, Forex analysis and Data Screening. He did his bachelor’s in Finance & Accounting and pursuing CA & MBA. Venkata Speaks Telugu, Hindi, Kannada and English with varied degrees of fluency.
Nikitha Varsha joined Ashoka as Assistant Manager for Finance & Accounts. She comes with 12 years of experience in the field. Prior to joining Ashoka, Nikitha was specialized in the preparation of receipts & payment, income & expenditure accounts, profit & loss account, cash flow statement & balance sheet, payroll, budget & MIS reports, coordinating with the auditors for the finalization of accounts and also interacting with statutory work like ESIC, PF, PT, TDS and Service Tax. She is well-versed in accounting softwares like Tally ERP 9 & Netsuite.
Divyadarshan works with the global Ashoka Young Changemakers team. At 13, Darshan and his friends launched a student club for environmental action in his hometown of Trichy and he has led several changemaking initiatives since. Prior to Ashoka, he worked with the Delhi University Research Council on improving the status of undergraduate education in the country. He did his bachelor’s in liberal arts and during college, he worked on a series of social innovation projects on issues like bullying, transgender rights, migrant labours, oral history, and higher education reform.
David Menezes currently leads the Venture & Fellowship initiative for Ashoka South Asia. Prior to Ashoka, he specialized in monitoring and evaluation prior to joining Ashoka, managing impact studies and change strategy for sectors like Livelihoods, Youth Development, Employment Skilling, and Environmental Sustainability. He holds a Bachelor's in Economics from Mumbai University, a Master's in Economics from Symbiosis International University, and a degree in Development Leadership from the Indian School of Development Management. He also founded a content development agency called TZED Collective.
Gopal Garg is ASPI-Re´s Ecosystem and Partnerships Director. Last 20yrs he has led many social impact initiatives with a focus on Youth. Innovation, big thinking, and systems change has been his strength. He co-founded Youth4Jobs Foundation, an organization mainstreaming persons with disabilities in the job market. His innovative programs on ecosystem building for inclusion of people with disabilities in corporate has changed mindsets and influenced many policies in corporate which was recognized as a global best practice. He scaled the program across India, Mauritius and Kenya through knowledge sharing and partnerships. During his work with the Government as part of the World Bank programs, he was instrumental in designing and implementing the one million jobs mission for the unemployed youth and changing policies for systems change in this field. He is a Vipassana meditator and a trekker. Gopal holds a Master's Degree in Management and is an Acumen and UnLtd India Fellow.
Rajesh leads the admin and talent efforts for Ashoka in India. Rajesh has been with Ashoka from November 2014. Before joining Ashoka, he has worked for international not-for-profit organizations and various corporate sector organizations in Administration and Finance Departments.
Deepali works as a Change Manager with the Globaliser team under their ASPIRe program. She comes with six years of experience in the development sector working with youth & women in rural India and a master’s in development studies. Through ASPIRe Deepali is keen on understanding how technology especially digital platforms can support social entrepreneurs reach scale and higher impact. She is also an avid reader and a traveler!
Avantika’s role includes fellow research and evaluation under the Venture arm at Ashoka India. In her role, she digs deeper into different social ecosystems and keeps up with upcoming changes and innovations in the social sector.
With a diverse background, she brings an understanding of local cultures and cross-sectoral experience with non-profits, politicians, government officers, marketing, and PR.
Avantika is passionate about animal welfare and has been working on stray animal rescue in India since 2012. She is a keen climate activist and is also passionate about working towards livelihoods and criminal justice.
She holds an MSc degree in Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare, along with a BA degree in Psychology, English Literature, and Economics. Apart from this, she holds 2 certificates in Equine Behaviour and has been selected as a participant for the ClimateForce Leadership Expedition to Antarctica in March 2022.
Aravind uses data, UX, and digital communications to unlock value for Ashoka globally. He started his career in 2016, working with an Ashoka Fellow, and believes that empathy can positively impact our world. With this mindset, Aravind has delivered social impact in education, clean energy, and waste management.
Dishika is working with teams globally to assist them in taking data-driven decisions in their respective digital strategies. With a natural instinct for numbers, her approach is to keep communication clear and unbiased - both within and beyond the Ashoka world.
Consultant – Project Manager for Law for all Initiative
Acheng leads the Venture and Fellowship for the Law For All Initiative at Ashoka.
Her journey as a changemaker started from a young age by serving her community in Manipur. She was instrumental in running campaigns for women's rights as part of a tribal women's group in her hometown, Ukhurl district of Manipur. Prior to joining Ashoka, Acheng worked in an organization that empowered the urban poor by enabling access to basic services, healthcare, education, and livelihoods. Inspired by her personal journey, Acheng is passionate about empowering young people to realize their full potential.
She holds a Master's in Social Work and has done a PGP in Development Management from the Indian School of Development Management (ISDM 2018 batch).