Members Of the Board
Madhavi Kukreja

Madhavi Kukreja is a founder member of Vanangana, and was part of the organization as a team member from 1995 till 2004. Since then, she has continued to be a board member and provide intensive support to the organization. Prior to founding Vanangana, Madhavi was the District Coordinator of the Mahila Samakhya (MS) program in Chitrakoot from 1990 to 1995. She moved to Lucknow in 2004 and is now an entrepreneur, running Sanatkada, a craft and weaves shops that market products of NGOs and craft persons from across India. She also supports/mentors womens community based organizations  and is an Ashoka Fellow.  

Martin Macwan

Martin Macwan is a Dalit human rights activist working in Gujerat. He founded Navsarjan, an community based organization working on Dalit Rights and Dalit Shakti Kendra a training centre for technical skills for marginalized communities.    He has been working tirelessly to highlight Dalit issues . The U.S. based Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights presented him its Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000. In the same year, Human Rights Watch named him one of the year's five "outstanding human rights defenders".

Deepa Venkatachalam

Deepa Venkatachalam is director of the Sama-Resource Group for Women and Health based in Delhi.  Deepa is a trainer, researcher and advocate on issues of womens health and public health. She has worked on propogating violence against women as a issue of public health. Deepa started her career with a community based organization RULEK in Tamil Nadu. 

Dipta Bhog

Dipta Bhog is a founder member of Nirantar, a centre for gender and education. Nirantar designed and supported the first residential learning centre for adult women in Chitrakoot (then Banda district), the Mahila Shikshan Kendra (MSK) in 1993. Many of the women who later became part of  Vanangana where participants, teachers or wardens at the MSK. She has been a board member of Vanangana since 2000 and has worked very closely on perspective-building on caste and communalism. She has facilitated the transition of Vanangana’s  leadership, and worked intensively on building a collective leadership in the organization.  


Pushpa has journeyed from being a survivor of domestic violence to being a teacher and then a caseworker on violence against women. She began working with Mahila Samakhya in 1993. She was keen on acting and became part of creating a play on violence against women and also performed in different villages. In 2000 she joined Vanangana in the violence programme and in 2002 took the bold decision to work in Ahmedabad, after the Gujarat riots to support the rehabilitation of Muslim women affected by the riots. After spending a few months there, she returned to work in Banda District, establishing the organization there. In 2008 she became part of the leadership team handling the expansion of the programme  At present Pushpa is the senior member in the leadership group. 


Meena, is working on the issue of women literacy and empowerment for over 20 years. She has a good grasp and understanding on the ground level realities of the issues.  She started her career with the Mahila Shikshan Kendra the residential School in Tindwari in 1992. She was part of the team that  initiated the work in 2002  and  now heads the Sahjani Shikshan Kendra based in Lalitpur District, Uttar Pradesh.   

Shahira Naim

Shahira Naim, with over 30 years of journalistic experience at the state and national level, Shahira is at present a senior orrespondent working with “Tribune” (Chandigarh). She reports on a range of issues, including volatile state politics, special stories on society and culture with a special focus on the development sector. Shahira received the 2nd International KCK Merit Award for Excellence in Journalism 2009. She is also the founder of Hum Safar an organization working on urban youth and violence against women in Lucknow


Pachiniya a farmer has joined as Board member in 2007. She has a had a long association with the organization since 2000, as a member of a savings group. She had taken on a leadership role at the community level early on, raising issues at the heart of the community, including those of caste-based violence, and mobilizing and building the leadership of Dalit women towards the establishment of a strong Dalit Mahila Samiti in Chitrakoot. 


Rajkumari, a daily wage labourer and farmer and  an ardent social activist,  is a district level member of Dalit Mahila Samiti and one of first  women handpump mechanic, trained in 1993 who still repairs hand pumps in Manikpur Block of Chitrakoot District. She has trained hundreds of rural men and women as hand pump mechanics.

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