Usha Narayanan, (1923 – 2008)
Usha Narayanan, was born in Yamethin, Burma. She completed her Master is Social Work with a specialty in juvenile delinquency. She was married to K. R. Narayanan, the tenth President of India and was the First Lady of India between 1997- 2002. Usha Narayanan worked on several social welfare programs for women and children in India. She played a key role in women’s social welfare activities initiated by the presidency.
Geeta Verma Kapila completed her Maters in Social Work in 1974. She started her professional career as a Counselor and Head of Social Work Department at Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan. She served as an honorary consultant to other public and private schools interested in initiating counseling and social work activities. Geeta has worked for over 30 years with the UN. She held various leadership positions at Unicef in countries across different continents – India, Iraq, Sudan Somalia and Kenya and made her contribution especially to the education sector. She worked with UNOPS in Sudan and successfully led its operations despite the challenging socio- political situation that prevailed at that time. She led the sub regional hub of UNOPS located in Kenya with oversight functions for 8 countries. Geeta is also one of the founder members of “Sanjivini Society for mental Health.
Feisal Alkazi is an educationist, theatre director and activist. After his Masters in Social Work, he headed Ankur, a society for alternatives in education and taught at the Jamia Mass Communication Research Centre. His group, Ruchika, has directed over 200 plays in Hindi, English, and Urdu. He has written over 20 books, including Rang Biranga Rangmanch
Kiran Bhatia is an alumni of 1973-75 batch of DSSW. She was founding director of Sanjivini, a pioneering mental health NGO in India, and held regional positions in South Asia with the Ford Foundation and UNICEF as the Regional Child protection and Gender Advisor. She worked with the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK to strengthen Indian State Institutions capacity on gender. She was also a founding executive secretary of Udyogini, an NGO to provide resource-poor women with entrepreneur management competencies in India. She has worked with UNFPA. Her key areas of work have included high level policy advocacy on taking forward commitments to the Beijing Platform for Action and the International Conference on Population and Development agenda.
Panduranga Hegde worked as a Chartered Accountant at Delhi and later trained himself in Social work at Delhi School of Social Work. He spent four years in Madhya Pradesh among rural people with Damoh. He was attracted by Chipko Movement led by Sundarlal Bhauguna and got involved with protection of forests and environment. He has been opposing high rise dams constructed for hydroelectric production, in view of environmental damage. Panduranga Hegde is recording the biodiversity of Western Ghats for past several years. He is actively involved in Save Western Ghats campaign. The traditional knowledge of tribes like Siddis are studied and propagated by Panduranga Hegde for conservation of environment.
Martha did a Master of Social Work in 1981 and her Ph.D from Jamia Millia Islamia in 2013. She began her career in 1981 as a literacy worker at Ankur and later broadened her focus into adult education, where she began her lifelong practice of participatory learning methodology. As Director of PRIA’s program on Gender Mainstreaming in Institutions, she trained thousands of grassroots women leaders and professionals from different walks of life on issues related to citizen engagement in local governance, gender mainstreaming and sexual harassment. She has also authored several books on subjects like sexual harassment at the workplace, Adult Education, Environment, Occupational Health and Safety, Gender mainstreaming, and Women’s empowerment. Unfortunately, she was among 14 people killed in a terror attack on a guest house in Kabul, Afghanistan while conducting a gender training. A Foundation set up in her memory continues to carry forward her pioneering work on gender mainstreaming and adult education, with the overall goal of achieving gender equality in India and around the world.
An acclaimed writer and film director, Sagari Chhabra’s work focuses on social issues that include inter-religious strife and violence, hunger, and human rights. She has been published in South Asian Refugee Watch, Mainstream, The Book Review and The Times of India, among others. Her films are acclaimed globally with the likes being Global Warming for which she was awarded United Nations World Food Day award. She runs ‘Towards Alternative Thought and Vision’ (TATV) from New Delhi. In 2004 she was awarded the Asia Fellowship and spent a year in Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore researching the surviving Indian freedom fighters in South-East Asia. She is currently engaged in creating the region’s first audio, photo and video archive of the freedom struggle.
Prof. Manoj Jha
Prof Manoj Jha completed his Masters from Department of Social Work from Delhi University in 1992 and a PhD in 2000. He has been a Professor at The Department of Social Work, University of Delhi. He is an Indian politician who is a member of Rajya Sabha in Indian Parliament and also the spokesperson of the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
Nandita Das is an actress cum director, acted in over 40 featured films in ten different languages. Das was the first Indian inducted into the International Hall of Fame of the International Women’s Forum in Washington, DC. She was appointed as Chairperson of the Children’s film Society of India in 2009. She was recognized in 2011 for “her sustained contributions to the arts and to the world as one of the most gripping cinema arts leaders of our time. Apart from this she also gave several TEDx talk pertained to social causes. She has been awarded with various National and International Awards which include Filmfare, Film festival etc. for her diverse work.
Jeeja Ghosh is a qualified social worker (MSW) from the Delhi School of Social Work, Delhi University (Batch: 1993-1995). was born with Cerebral Palsy. She has been a part of the disabled people’s movement and is connected to other disability rights activists across India. Her special interest is women with disabilities. She has been felicitated by the West Bengal Commission for Women on the International Women’s Day. Ghosh’s interests also lie in writing and creative arts especially poetry. A documentary film named I’m Jeeja has been made upon her life which won the National Film Award 2016 from Govt. of India as the best film for social issues in the non-feature film category. She now works for the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy as the Head of Advocacy and Disability Studies.
Malvika Iyer is a bilateral amputee, a bomb blast survivor, a social worker, and a National Awardee. Iyer completed her Master’s in Social Work at the Delhi School of Social Work (Batch: 2009-2011). She is an international motivational Speaker and a disability rights activist, advocating for building an inclusive society. She is also a model for accessible fashion. She has been the recipient of multiple awards, including the Nari Shakti Puraskar, the Highest Civilian Honor for Women for outstanding contribution to women’s empowerment on the occasion of International Women’s Day. She was recognized as one of the 100 Change Agents and Newsmakers of the Decade by Deccan Chronicles in 2015.