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ENGLISH | KANNADA

Team Management

Pushpa
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.”

Divya
Maths Resource Person, Akshara Bangalore

Divya has a Masters degree in Computer software, and has worked in industry for some time. Her work in an Indian International school in Singapore as Sanskrit and Maths teacher gave her a lot of exposure and awareness about the education sector. After returning to Bangalore, she kept herself busy by helping students of low income and government schools in their studies. As a member of the Math Resource resource team at Akshara for the past 3 years, she has had the chance to closely work with teachers, students and the community in improving the Math education. Her interest is in holistic education that develops the overall personality of the student, where the child learns the concepts in a joyful environment.

Nalini
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.”

Sindhu Malavalli Sudarshan
Maths Resource Person, Akshara Bangalore

Sindhu started her career in development five years ago as a Youth for India fellow in Rajasthan. From there she went on to lead a public, problem-solving initiative at Reap Benefit, a Bangalore based non-profit. It’s six months since she joined Akshara and is already involved in many of its key activities like developing maths content and curating the teacher reward programme, Pratibimba Podcasts. “I’m fascinated by the scale at which Akshara operates. Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA), the Maths Programme, impacts a few million children. It’s very inspiring that the programme reaches rural children in remote villages. It is unique, not an easy thing to do for an NGO.”

Prakash Kumar Sahoo
State Lead – Odisha, Bhubaneswar

Prakash’s journey at Akshara is in its nascency. He has completed six months and brings with him the experience of working with the Chief Minister’s Office, Odisha. Prakash leads GKA in Odisha, working jointly with many government departments to implement it. “I enjoy the autonomy at work and the open organisational culture at Akshara.” Prakash sees a corporate-centric trend emerging in the development sector and says that in such a scenario, “it is hard to find organisations that welcome people with the right kind of mindset to work a reform-oriented maths mission in government schools that can have a lifelong impact on children. Akshara is one such organisation.”

Shankar
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.”

Naveen Shetty
District Field Coordinator, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, Karnataka

"I like the fact that I’m working with children,” says Naveen of his two years at Akshara. The support he gets from the GPs and the people boosts his morale. It motivates him when he gets guidance from his seniors in the organisation, but what he most enjoys is GKA. “I do work that advances GKA,” he says of one of his principal planks of effort at Akshara. “It’s a very good concept. It supports teachers. The Department of Education is involved. Students love the kit. GKA is famous in my districts for building focus and because it has all the tools in it to teach maths.”

Prasanna Kumar K.P
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.

Prashant Naik
Field Coordinator, Dharwad, Karnataka

Prashant worked in marketing before joining Akshara in 2009 where he’s an administrator keeping the flow of office work running smoothly. He enjoys going on field trips, visiting schools and communities. “It is a matter of pride for me that we’re able to reach so many children,” he says.

Raghu G
District Field Coordinator - Tumakuru and Madhugiri districts, Karnataka

When he came to Akshara in 2017, Raghu had behind him a stint as subject instructor and district in-charge at Edutel Technologies and a one-year period as teacher at Agastya International Foundation. He builds up a cadre of Education Volunteers for Akshara, conducts GP Maths Contests, promotes the Wall Writing Programme in villages, propagates the use of Building Blocks, interacts with the Department of Education at all levels and trains teachers in GKA. “What I enjoy at Akshara is that I get to organise the GP Maths Contests and use the tools in the GKA kit to help children understand the basic functions and concepts of maths.”

Ranganath
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.”

Ravi D.
District Field Coordinator - Chitradurga, Davanagere and Shivamogga districts, Karnataka

In the three years Ravi has been at Akshara, moving here from the NGO Prajayatna, his work has included a range of activities. He conducts the GP Maths Contests, moves forward the Wall Writing and digital learning programmes, identifies Education Volunteers, and trains teachers and education officials. Ravi enjoys building bridges of cooperation with the community and having effective discussions on GKA with the Department of Education and the Gram Panchayats. “I like the guidance I get from Akshara Foundation’s administrators from time to time,” he says. “Akshara Foundation understands that if a person is engaged effectively, they can work in different areas and in various capacities without being confined to a block.”

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.”

Shivkumara Swamy K.C.
District Field Coordinator, Mandya district, Karnataka

Shivkumara Swamy came to Akshara from Agastya International Foundation where he worked as Field Coordinator. It’s been three years at Akshara and he enjoys working with the community. His work takes him to schools where he monitors the usage of the GKA kit in classrooms. In the community he identifies Education Volunteers and trains them. He conducts the GP Maths Contests and takes forward the Wall Writing programme.

Srikanth
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.”

Vaijayanti
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.

Asha
Fundraising, Akshara Bangalore

In ten years, Asha has accomplished many a fundraising success for Akshara. She was at a difficult, but decisive intersection in life a decade ago when she was faced with the choice of continuing with a lucrative IT job or getting out of the comfort zone and giving back to society. “I’m glad I went with my heart.” Asha respects Akshara’s “core principle of humility and the enthusiasm to share and help everyone who can benefit from its work.” She ranks high the fact that “Akshara is motivated by purpose, not incentive.” Most of all, she says, “I love the open culture of innovation and disruptive thinking. Everyone is encouraged to try and it’s OK to fail!”

Soumya
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.

Shwetha
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."

Prema
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.”

Sushmita
Head, Communications

After spending many years in the creative corners of the advertising world, Sushmita moved to Akshara in 2014 to build our community on social media. What started off as plans for an architect in the making, ended up with a Masters Degree in Communication. She is also now a part of our Strategic Partnerships team and also helps in conceptualising Akshara's outreach events and campaigns.

Lakshmi
Documentation

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.

Sheela
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.