Akkai Padmashali

Ashoka Fellow
Bangalore, KA, India, South Asia
Fellow Since 2016
Related TopicsSocial Entrepreneurship


This profile was prepared when Akkai Padmashali was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
The New Idea
Akkai is empowering members of minority groups, such as sexual minorities (LGBTQI community) to become leaders; thereby creating a domain for discussions on issues of national importance to become more convergent. Currently consultations on public issues in India are restricted to the voices of a very few, including the urban elite and those with existing power, influence and networks. Through her organization Ondede, Akkai is taking individuals on a transformative journey in leadership to lend the unique perspective of their minority community to larger discussions, thus facilitating access to fundamental human rights that have previously eluded these groups. Akkai envisages emergence of societal norms and legal provisions that are holistic/universal, which then put an end to discriminatory provisions that have been blind to minorities. For example, in hospitals there is no norm to discuss which ward to admit transgender patients.

Akkai also recognizes that sexual minorities need to be made visible by distilling stereotypes and prejudices towards this community. She is thus simultaneously engaging with stakeholders such as the Media, Law Enforcement and Policy Makers to help prepare an environment of acceptance and wider discussion on issues such as Human Rights and Domestic Violence. Her intervention through trainings, workshops and representation at various judicial cases is paving way for convergence from many individuals and institutions through dispelling barriers and keeping traction to sexual minority group rights.

Akkai has been able to create coalitions of community dialogues that bring together diverse voices of individuals, civil society organizations and other key stakeholders to discuss diverse issues. Through these dialouges, Ondede has been able to identify and train 30 leaders in the State of Karnataka. These leaders successfully played a significant role in extending the definition of ‘privacy’ under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) – Section 377 (Act on Homosexuality). Akkai plans to replicate this success to every district in India across a cross section of religious, sexual and caste based minorities.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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