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Team Management

Programme Head - Maths Resource Team, Akshara Bangalore

For over three years now Pushpa has been taking forward new projects at Akshara. She was part of the design group that created Building Blocks, Akshara’s Maths App, and oversaw its emergence and positioning. Her 17-year technology background at IBM helped and her two years at Teach for India exposed her to development sector work. Pushpa is currently responsible for overall leadership of the Maths Resource Team, scaling GKA to other states and support with content and curriculum which also involves developing e-content for maths. “I enjoy the opportunities I get to design solutions to scale and create meaningful impact by imparting quality education to all children".

Maths Resource Person, Akshara Bangalore

In the eighteen years that Nalini has been with Akshara, she has steered many key roles, more recently as Resource Person for the Library Programme, English Programme and Building Blocks. Now she supports the maths team with GKA, coordinates its functioning, documents it and reviews programme reports. “I enjoy the opportunity to work with children,” she says. “I get job satisfaction and recognition for my work here. There’s a belief in our strengths and I get to explore those strength areas. I get the opportunity to work with a wide set of stakeholders from various backgrounds and all walks of life, which is inspirational.”

Shivakumar CG
Maths Resource Person, Akshara Bangalore

Shivakumar has been with Akshara for the last 6 months. Despite being here for such a short time, he has contributed to the foundation’s work in a big way, helping to develop teaching manuals and teaching-learning videos. His prior experience as a high school math teacher means that he can develop resources for teachers in a way that makes it easier for them. He enjoys both his work and the working environment, considering himself part of the Akshara family. Despite having been a teacher, here at Akshara he says that he’s a student learning valuable things about education.

Ranjita Pattnaik
State Lead, Government Relationship, Bhubaneshwar

Ranjita had joined Akshara 5 months ago, bringing with her 15 years of experience working in various capacities as consultant and coordinator for children’s education. In those long years of work, she built a strong network with education officials, which she uses to her fullest for Akshara’s advantage. In her short tenure, she has ensured smooth implementation of the foundation’s programs. She enjoys the organizational working structure, and loves how responsive and receptive the Akshara central team is to her problems.

Head, Operations & Community Initiatives

Shankar holds a Masters Degree in Kannada and started his career as a college lecturer. He later moved to the development sector. He has worked with Action Aid Karnataka Projects and is the founder of Social Initiative for Rural Empowerment, NGO in Yadgiri, Karnataka.

Adiveshappa Neeralakeri
District Field Coordinator - Raichur, Bellary and Koppal districts, Karnataka

The opportunity for in-depth community work is what Adiveshappa has relished most about his seven-year stretch at Akshara. It offers him scope for communicating with a broad cross section of officials and leading lights of the community, impressing on them the urgency for quality education. “GKA is an excellent programme,” he says. It brings everyone together, students, teachers, the community and Education Department officials. Adiveshappa used to be a high school maths teacher in private and government schools. It’s unparalleled, he says, the satisfaction he derives out of identifying idealistic village youth and grooming them as Education Volunteers to drive many of Akshara’s community-based initiatives.

Angelina Gregory
Divisional Field Manager, Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Belagavi and Sirsi districts and Chikodi and Kumta blocks, Karnataka

Eighteen years is a long innings and Angelina has completed it at Akshara. She used to be Headmistress at a private school in Dharwad for nine years. At Akshara she leads and supports the field team to implement GKA. She connects with the community and coordinates with Department of Education officials. While making presentations about Akshara’s work to the Zilla Panchayat CEOs and district heads of education Angelina seeks their support for its programmes. She engages with the media and shares the progress of Akshara’s activities with key stakeholders. “I enjoy working with schools and the community. I enjoy reaching so many children. It’s a big source of pride for me, a rewarding feeling.”

Hanamappa Masali
District Field Coordinator - Gadag, Dharwad and Belagavi districts, Karnataka

Masali remembers the first Akshara Children’s Camps 10 years ago and that evolving into the GP Contests of today. It’s in 2011 that he joined. He conducts GP Contests, shares the teaching-learning videos and implements the Alternative Maths Learning Programme. “I remember the first training I gave education officials and teachers as a Master Trainer.” It was a memorable occasion. “I enjoy my school visits, the connection with children, the happiness on their faces when they open the GKA kits or when they get prizes at the GP Contests. Their happiness feels like my own. We organise the contests transparently – I like that. I try to solve the community’s problems in education. I enjoy problem-solving.”

Kanni H.B.
Divisional Field Manager, Chitradurga, Davanagere, Shivamogga, Kodagu, Chikmagalur and Hassan districts, Karnataka

Kanni has a wide portfolio at Akshara. He moved here after working as a Senior Project Associate associated with Azim Premji Foundation under the Education Leadership Development Project. In May 2021 he will complete seven years at Akshara. His work encompasses Akshara’s two fundamental programmes, GKA and community initiatives. Kanni oversees GKA’s implementation in his districts in close coordination with the government. His community work covers the gamut – GP Maths Contests, the Wall Writing programme and identifying and training GP Team Leaders and Education Volunteers. “I enjoy facilitating teachers and supporting them to become better at what they do. I enjoy all the community activities Akshara has designed. I like working in the community.”

Kumara Swamy
District Field Coordinator - Kodagu and Hassan districts, Karnataka

Kumara Swamy’s work highlights are the GP Maths Contests he conducts, the promotion of Building Blocks among children, teacher training and looking out for recruits who would make ideal Education Volunteers. He has been at Akshara for three years after working previously at Agastya International Foundation. It saddens Kumara Swamy that children are lagging in learning and that their parents often ignore that important aspect. What he enjoys most are the GP Contests. “Children get motivated by it. It’s a new concept and I see the community supporting it. The contests touch every aspect of maths learning and involve the community fully. I am inspired by it.”

Maruti Mallapur
District Field Coordinator - Gadag and Chikodi districts, Karnataka

Maruti joined in 2014. There are many things that he likes about his Akshara job. “I feel very happy when the community participates in our programmes. It gives me great happiness that I’m able to generate awareness in parents about the benefits of education,” A Cluster Resource Person in the Department of Education goes to just one cluster. “We go to a whole block, a whole district, we get to know so many teachers and children.” He’s simultaneously working on many projects, but what is most satisfying is the Alternative Maths Learning Programme that the teams are propelling through in 100 days. “I feel very happy that in this coronavirus period children are learning.”

Prashant Kumar
District Field Coordinator, Chamarajanagar and Ramanagara districts, Karnataka

Prasanna Kumar’s earlier job as a Science Resource Person in Deenabandhu Teacher Resource Centre in a sense paved the way for his Akshara work. He has been here for four years, during which time he has enjoyed being part of the wider dissemination of GKA. Prasanna Kumar particularly enjoys the fact that the GKA kit makes maths simple and easy for children. Another enjoyable aspect of his work is the GP Maths Contests he gets to organise.

Divisional Field Manager, Raichur, Ballari, Koppal, Yadgir, Kalaburagi, Bidar, Bagalkot and Vijayapura districts, Karnataka

Ranganath joined Akshara in 2014. For eleven years he served in various capacities at organisations like SIRE, REACH, GRAMS and UNICEF. At Akshara he leads and supports GKA’s operations in his districts. GKA holds special significance in this educationally backward area. Ranganath coordinates with district education officials and conducts Akshara’s community activities. Those who are assigned community programmes vouch for the challenge and fulfilment it gives them. “I enjoy all the community work I do. I love to see children enjoying their maths learning with the GKA kit and participating enthusiastically in the GP Maths Contests.”

Sheshadri h. N.
District Field Coordinator, Mysore District, Karnataka

“Previously a Master trainer at Pratham Mysore NGO, Sheshadri joined us very recently, and has played an integral part in conducting the 100 days math learning programme in the district. Once schools open up, he will take care of Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA), our math learning programme on the ground. He says “This is a great opportunity for me, to work the village and community people.

Divisional Field Manager, Akshara Bangalore

“I have twenty years of experience as a member of the Akshara family,” says Srikanth who joined the Resource Team in 2000-01. He went on to coordinate Oduve Nanu in one district and Parihara Bodhane in three districts, two of Akshara’s earliest and highly successful programmes. Srikanth is part of the Operations Team and serves as liaison between Akshara and the Department of Education. “Working with the community and Education Volunteers for a cause is my passion,” he says, “and I gain insights and experience from it. Akshara’s programmes have spread across the state bringing larger benefits to students, and that I like the most.”

Manoj Kumar Panda
District Field Manager, Mayurbhanj, Odisha

Manoj joined Akshara last year, after 10 years of working at other prestigious NGOs such as Azim Premji Foundation and American India Foundation. He was closely involved in all stages of the implementation of GKA program, from coordinating with officials to ground-level work and teacher’s orientation. He also engaged in a state-level program to create a numeracy handbook for teachers. He is passionate about improving education, and loves working with children, teachers and volunteers alike for this.

Ganesh Behera
District Field Coordinator, Mayurbhanj, Odisha

Even before he joined Akshara last year, Ganesh’s life was already filled with charitable deeds. He helped progress the ‘mu bi padhibi’ (I will read) program of Mayurbhanj district collector Rajesh Patil, and rescued and rehabilitated children who were forced to work.Today, he trains and raises awareness among volunteers and teachers, bringing forth dozens of well informed people with a strong desire to do good. He is proud to work for the betterment of education, and is glad that Akshara gives him a platform to do so.

Lakshmi Kanta Tung
District Field Coordinator, Mayurbhanj, Odisha

A teacher for 12 years, Lakshmi is a seasoned educator well-respected in her district. In her one year at Akshara so far, she has made large strides. She convinced village heads of her district to support education volunteers, who now spend 2 hours per day on teaching students. She also spreads information about Akshara resources such as TLVs and GKA kit, and coordinates Gram Panchayat contests and training for teachers. Having been a teacher herself, she particularly likes the Building Blocks app as it removes the fear toward maths seen among children.

Sanjay Kumar Khara
District Field Coordinator, Dhenkanal, Odisha

Sanjay has had long experience working with educational NGOs for the upliftment of India’s adivasis, and knows rural Odisha inside-out. He has just joined Akshara this August, but already began to help with implementation of GKA. He hopes to actively involve children as he improves their education. He is glad to have joined Akshara, as the foundation supports him in his endeavours to work in education.

Madhava Acharya S.
District Field Coordinator, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka

Madhava was a high school teacher at GHPS Hangarkatta for several years before joining Akshara, making him well-suited to communicate with teachers as part of his job. He is a new face in the foundation, having joined in August 2022. Yet, he has began to make a difference, actively and enthusiastically involving himself in communication with district officials to implement GKA. Having dreamt of joining the education sector from his schooldays, he is glad to work with those who can mentor him.

Sudhir Kumar Patnaik
District Field Manager, Ganjam, Odisha

Sudhir is no stranger to charitable endeavours, having worked for the well being of truck drivers in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh for years. He had also worked as a project coordinator in the child helpline for over 2 years. Since joining Akshara, he has met all sorts of people, from district officials to the teachers on the ground, to understand and alleviate the problems. He tries his best to galvanise the community into action by hosting orientation and awareness programs for stakeholders, and joining monthly block-level meetings. He enjoys his work at Akshara, particularly relishing his interaction with children.

Satya Prakash Das
District Field Coordinator, Ganjam, Odisha

Satya Prakash entered Akshara from the totally unrelated field of electrical engineering. Yet his passion and drive for furthering education ensured that he faced no difficulties in his new field. For the past 1.5 years, he goes from village to village and block to block to encourage volunteers to join, and to train teachers in the use of Akshara kits. He is well-versed in the use of GKA kit, so he also encourages its use wherever he goes. Field work is his favourite part of the job, as he loves to interact with people.

R. Ganesh Reddy
DistrDistrict Field Coordinator, Ganjam, Odisha

Belonging to a business-owning family, Ganesh’s first exposure to education was running a home tuition for his village’s children. His desire to do more led him to join Akshara last year, where he fit in very well. He attends block and Panchayat level meetings, besides working to orient teachers with GKA at the grassroots level. He finds the work he gets to be very suitable, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Bikram Keshari Behera
Team Leader, Keonjhar, Odisha

Bikram came to Akshara over 15 years ago, bringing with him long experience of working with women and marginalized sections of society. This experience made him greatly valuable, and he had taken the lead in implementation of several of the foundation’s projects. Currently assigned to the tribal-dominated Keonjhar district, he hopes to improve the future of the children there. He considers Akshara to be a great place to work, with good peers who inspire him to go to new heights.

Director, Research, Resource & Evaluation

Vaijayanti heads the Resource and Research group in the Foundation. A trained economist, she holds an M.Phil in Applied Economics from the Centre for Development Studies, JNU. She has worked in the health sector and decentralisation prior to venturing into the education field. In education she has extensively worked on issues ranging from Early Childhood education to School education in the Indian context. Most of the research works have been evidence based policy research in education sector. She also heads ASER- Karnataka since 2009. She has been a member of several committees set up by the Government of Karnataka on Elementary education, Human Development and ECCE. Vaijayanti has also anchored the preparation of NCF for ECCE- Karnataka.

Anu Mathur
Head, Strategic Partnerships

Anu brings a rich and varied experience of working in strategy consulting and financial services. She is an IIM Bangalore alumnus and has worked with established organisations like PwC and Lazard India as well as start-ups. Education for the underprivileged is a cause very close to her heart. At Akshara, she is helping forge partnerships to fulfil our mission of making our education systems work for every child.

Head finance

Soumya is a Chartered accountant with close to a decade of work experience with ICICI Bank. She switched to the development sector to make use of her corporate experience in the development sector. Handling Finance and admin fit the bill. She wants to bring her practical outlook and finance skills to the sector. Education is one of the causes close to her heart and she loves meeting the eclectic mix of people in the sector.

Senior Finance Executive, Akshara Bangalore (Shwetha is an employee of Callens)

With a background as Financial Analyst at ZTC International Landscape Solutions, Shwetha was an ideal fit for the Akshara role. She supports financial operations, which include donor accounting and reporting, payroll processing, statutory payments and filings and the internal and external audit process. Shwetha has been with Akshara for three and a half years and enjoys its flexible working hours and congenial work atmosphere where everyone is a friend. “I enjoy the fact that Akshara is an employee-friendly organisation."

Administration Manager

Prema was an Accounts Executive at Electronik Tooling Solutions and CMR Institute of Technology before she joined Akshara a little over four years ago. Prema handles the crucial administrative and human resource functions here. She oversees office management and organises logistical support for programme teams. “I believe in Education for All,” she says. “I like it that I get to combine my passion and profession here. I take pride in being associated with Akshara.”

Creative Head

After spending many years in the creative corners of the advertising world, Sushmita moved to Akshara in 2014. What started off as plans for an architect in the making, ended up with a Masters Degree in Communication. Sushmita is the Creative Head at Akshara Foundation, and takes care of a wide portfolio that covers all our creative and strategic mar-comm needs. She is also a key member of the Strategic Partnerships team.


Lakshmi Mohan has been with Akshara Foundation for nine years, documenting programmes, doing monthly reports and reviews and writing on the many facets of the organisation’s work. She used to be a freelance journalist.

Housekeeping, Bangalore

Sheela used to be with Shanbag before she moved to Akshara. She has been here for 7 years handling housekeeping with skill and dexterity. It can rightly be said that day-to-day life at Akshara’s Bangalore office would grind to a halt without Sheela there to take care of it. She enjoys working with the team, she says.
Akshara Foundation