Our Team

Amita Deshpande

Founder & Director

Amita has worked extensively in sustainable development and corporate social responsibility since the past 8 years. An IT Engineer by basic education, she went on to do her Masters at the Purdue University, USA with a focus on Sustainability. Since then, she has worked with CSR teams of multinational corporations, consultancies, non-profits and community-based organizations in the United States and India and eventually founded Aarohana EcoSocial Developments with the rich experience she gathered. She brings to the table proficiency in designing our EcoSocial projects, managing them at the grassroots and ensuring their transparent operations. With her boundless energy, she is also an asset to our ‘EcoSocial Awareness’ team and strives to motivate the participants to a more sustainable lifestyle for a better future for everyone! Amita’s long standing dream is to develop a sustainable village and live in it herself, which she wishes to fulfill through Aarohana.

Nandan Bhat

Founder & Director

Nandan has over a decade experience working in Business Development and Procurement sectors of reputed companies like Tata Telecom, Sony, Future Group and Sify. With profuse experience in managing projects, large teams and market relations, he has co-founded Aarohana with long-time friend, Amita. Nandan brings to the table expertise in relationship development, be it with the grassroot villagers or with clients, and in making our livelihood projects sustainable by building forward and backward market linkages. From his interest in outdoor activities and experience managing and mentoring large teams of employees, he brings added competence to our EcoSocial Awareness programs as well. Nandan is an extremely enthusiastic and cheerful person who promises a sustainable future to Aarohana.

Jaee Garad

Operations Manager

An IT Engineer by basic education, Jaee's love for art and craft always has had a upperhand. Hence she quit her corporate job and started working on Handmade Paper products since  the past couple of years. 'It's my meditation' says Jaee.  A beloved Customer of AAROHANA, Jaee wished always to someway contribute to the cause. And now feels fortunate to be part of our team! Jaee manages operations and marketing for Aarohana. 
 
 

Kumbha Mashura

Trainer and Supervisor

Kumbha is from a tiny village in Gujarat, who stepped out from his family home to pursue his desire to work in the social sector. An undergraduate degree holder, Kumbha has a very strong technical and social aptitude, a rare skillset, apt for the work Aarohana does. He supervises and trains our tribal youth and women to produce the craft efficiently and with a quality that is readily acceptable in the market. A quiet and mature young man, Kumbha accepts all work, skilled or unskilled, as a part of his duty to fulfill the goal of Aarohana!

 Muhammad Shaikh

Craftsman

Shaikh, a migrant from Eastern Maharashtra, heads his family of 4. With this responsibility, he learnt the skill of bag making, to earn a living and support his family. After working for 30 years in this trade, he came across our work of making bags from upcycled-handwoven fabric. He loved the concept and joined Aarohana as a master craftsman. He enjoys his work as he gets to design and craft innovative products every day!

Kiran Baddha

Craftsman

Kiran is a tribal youth, belonging to the Warli tribe of Western India. Due to low educational standards of the local school, he dropped out of school after 9th grade. His 8 member-family is mostly dependent on rainfed agriculture, hence, being the eldest son, had to start earning to support the family income. Lack of employment options in his village, Kiran had to move his base to a nearby town in search of work, where he worked as a mere laborer at a snack selling hawker. When Aarohana came to his village with an opportunity to work, he immediately joined us and is now our lead weaver. He is a bright and funny young man, who loves to crack jokes and all the team mates everyone laugh and have fun, while working equally hard.

Vandana Vartha

Craftsman

Vandana is a tribal youth, belonging to the Warli tribe of Western India.
Due to low educational standards of the local school, she dropped out of school after 9th grade. Being the eldest girl of her family, she started helping her mother with house work and stayed mostly at home in her village, with limited exposure to the outside world. When Aarohana came to her village with an opportunity to work, she immediately joined us. She joined as an assistant artisan, and soon picked up weaving as well. She now does other processing work as well as weaves fabric. Despite of her petite structure, she is a strong young woman and doesnt get tired with an all day’s work. She is always cheerful and given a chance, loves to design her own patterns in the fabric.

Amol

Craftsman

Amol is a tribal migrant, now settled in the city of Pune. He lost his father at an early age and has been living with his mother and brother. He had to take up a job at a very early age, and was fortunate to learn the skill of bag making as an assistant. Today, he is an adept bag maker himself, and can make any design you name! He himself is inclined to social work since childhood, hence enjoys being a part of our work!

Bharati

Craftsman

Bharti is a migrant from a neighbouring state, and now lives in the city of Pune with her husband and three children. Bharati learnt tailoring from her husband and had to take up a job to support her family income. She is always the first to arrive at office every morning; ofcourse, after finishing her duties towards her family! She works very hard to balance her work and family, and all that with a consistent pleasantness on her face!

Pratika

Craftsman

Pratika belongs to the Warli tribe like most of our other artisans. Her parents work as farmers and her brother has migrated to a nearby town for work. She is a school dropout and had to leave school after 8th grade as there is no source of education in her village. Being a girl child, she was not allowed to go to a nearby village for further education by her family, so she stayed home for several years to help he family with household chores. Now, she works with us and is trying to build an identity for herself

Jalli

Craftsman

Jalli belongs to the Warli tribe like most of our other artisans. Jalli lost her father when she was younger. Her mother took care of Jalli and her brother. However, Jalli had to leave school after 7th grade due to economic issues. She stayed home to take care of household chores while her mother had to go out for work. Now that Jalli works with us, her family has found an extra source of income, that too in her own village.

Gajri

Helper

Gajri is the grandmother of our team. Very hardworking and funny in her own way! Gajri is a Warli tribal. She lives with her husband, and has no children or any relatives. She and her husband have been dependent on rainfed agriculture and daily wage labour to earn their living, but now with age, physical work has become too tedious for them. With Aarohana, Gajri has found work in her own village. She loves working with our team of young girls and boys, who are now like her grandchildren!

Fattu Ben

Helper

Fattu is the grandmother of our team! Having spent her entire life living in this village in the forest, she is very strong for her age! Fattu is a Warli tribal and lives with her husband and an adopted son and his family. Her husband has been an alcoholic for many years and doesn’t have any stable job, hence, Fattu is the one working hard and earning for her family. With Aarohana, Fattu is happy to have found work in her own village! She loves working with our team of young girls and boys, who are like her grandchildren!

Manisha Kale

Office Assistant

Manisha belongs to a migrant family, who moved to the city of Pune in search of work. Her mother works as a housemaid in urban households and her father works as a daily wage labor. She being the eldest of the 3 siblings, decided to pursue her education after 12th grade.Along with her college, she works with Aarohana managing her class timings. She is an all-rounder and supports all of our office work, be it assisting the sewing process, administration and even sales. She is a very honest young girl and has an eye for detail in all the work she does!


Mentors

Ajit Deshpande

Mentor - Business

Ajit mentors Aarohana in all of our business and social decisions. He has over 35 years of experience working in diverse sectors of the industry, as well as in the social sector. He has founded and operated multiple businesses successfully throughout his life and has acted as a business consultant for multinational companies as well. With his interest in the social sector, Ajit is engaged in several social sector organisations working for tribal welfare, education and health.

Vasant Vaidya

Mentor

Vasant is a retired Additional Divisional Commissioner of Pune. He was the Municipal Commissioner of Aurangabad, Additional commissioner (Pune, Satara), Deputy Collector (Pune), Deputy Commissioner – Supply (Nashik) and held many more posts in his 34 years tenure in the Maharashtra administrative services. He held the post of Project Director for Maharashtra Agricultural Competitiveness Project (MACP), which is a World Bank supported project. He is now mentoring Aarohana’s core team to ensure efficiency in administration, finances and processes.

Ranjana Dani

Mentor – Communications and Design

Ranjana is the Head of the Graphics Department at MIT Institute of Design, Pune. She has an experience of over 33 years in the field education, teaching Graphic Design, Visualization, Advertising, Marketing, Branding and Innovative Strategy. Ranjana has also established the status of a Professional Artist by developing a distinctive style and has also held numerous exhibitions in India and abroad. Ranjana supports team Aarohana in branding, communications and design of our products.

Mukund Kulkarni

Mentor

Mukund Kulkarni is the founder of Arya Biotechnologies, an organic farming solution provider. His company manufactures organic agriculture inputs such as soil conditioners, biofertilizers, biopesticides and a lot more. Mukund actively works with farmers in the rural sector and provides them with timely guidance and farming techniques. He is a chemical engineer by education and has a vast experience of 25 years in the manufacturing and social sector. He is a technical mentor to our social sector projects.


Contributors

Prasanna Kulkarni

Digital Marketing Consultant

Prasanna looks after digital marketing at Aarohana. Prasanna is a Mechanical Engineer by education and has professional experience in web analytics. Currently working as a Analytics & Experience manger in Boston, USA,  he is engaged with Aarohana remotely and contributes by designing and implementing communications and online marketing strategy along with our digital marketing agency MangoBlogger.com. His passion for environment conservation and sustainable livelihoods makes him a good fit for the team.

Saniya Shete

Design Intern

Saniya worked as an intern for Aarohana in June 2016. She supported our team in designing our brochure, new logo, innovative illustrations articulating Aarohana’s concept of upcycling. Saniya also conducted a photoshoot of Aarohana’s products. She is currently looking forward to her third year at the Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology. She’s majoring in Visual Design and Strategic Branding.

Tanmayi Gidh

Communications Intern

Tanmayi is an Arts graduate from Fergusson College, Pune. Tanmayi is fond of writing and adventure. She is associated with team Aarohana as a content writer and hopes to make a difference to the community through “rural upliftment” and “sustainable and simple living”. Tanmayi also volunteers with us at exhibitions and other operations!

Nikita Deshpande

Product Design Intern

Nikita is 2nd year student of Product Design, from Srishti Institute (Pune). Nikita is on our product design team and helps us design and implement new products. Nikita also looks after our product photography along with Tanmayi, and is our brand’s formal MODEL!

Tanvi Bamb

Product | Textile Design Intern

Sai Powar

Website Design intern

Sai is a student pursuing B.S. in Biology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA. She supported Aarohana to develop and design our new e-commerce WordPress website and also assisted with certain social media management tasks. She is very passionate about environmental sustainability and environmental justice and wants to pursue her Masters in sustainable development.

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