Hundreds of volunteers across India evangelise the idea of the festival and make it possible. There are so many involved now, that even a list of all volunteers doesn’t exist, and no one knows all the volunteers :-)! A few examples of #DaanUtsav volunteers are given below, just to share a flavour of the diversity of people involved.
Rani Sasikumar, graduated in English language and Literature from the University of Calicut and went on to do her Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism. She worked first in advertising and then went on to work in Television as an Interviewer, Programme Anchor and News Anchor with Asianet, Kairali TV and Doordarshan.
A recipient of the Kerala State Government’s Best Television Anchor Award in 2005, Rani took a break from television and joined the corporate world. She now heads the Corporate Communications practice in the Trivandrum Offshore Centre of an MNC.
Passionate about working in the area of women empowerment, she co-founded the Trivandrum chapter of e-WIT(Empowering Women in IT), a voluntary organisation that works to expand the women workforce at all management levels in the IT industry, enabling women by equipping them with necessary skills and support, and facilitating women’s quest for a better work life balance in IT Sector. As part of this work, she has co-founded a Creche, the first of its kind in Technopark, a 25 year old IT park.
Now, alongside her day job, she volunteers for DaanUtsav and aims to expand the festival’s footprint across Kerala.
With a journalism career that has spanned almost 30 years, Sara has worked for leading newspapers in India, the UAE and the UK, including the Times of India in Delhi, Khaleej Times in Dubai and The Sun in London.
She returned to India in 2012 with a deep desire to use her skills to change the way NGOs are generally viewed in India – believing that too much of the good work being done by them is lost in a fog of miscommunication and distrust. In 2013, she set up Small Change, a trust that offers communications services to the non-profit sector.
Ashish Kumar Shrivastava
Ashish is an electronics engineer from Bhopal University. He first worked with Infosys and then moved to pursue 2 year Teach For India Fellowship in 2009. Post fellowship he worked with NIIT to set up their information systems and operations for their new business in skill development across 1500 centers in 1000 rural areas.
Currently he is based out of Dantewada working as a co-founder of the Bachpan Banao Fellowship. Bachpan Banao works with the education administration in Naxal affected Dantewada, Chattisgarh with an aim to improve school education system by community empowerment. Ashish has recently been awarded the Acumen India fellowship. In 2006 along with his friends he set up Prarambh, a voluntary organization working towards minimizing student dropout rate in slum areas of Pune. He also co-founded AwakIND which is India’s first socio political platform for political awareness and discussions.
He engaged with DaanUtsav as a participant first, in 2009 and 2010 and has been working as a volunteer since 2011.
Promila is a post graduate from the first batch at IRMA (1982). Her career, beginning as EA to Dr Verghese Kurien, the father of the white revolution in India, shaped her lifelong commitment to empowering the poorest, the weakest and the women through economic and social development. A casual curiosity about how technology was changing the world rapidly around her took her to work in NIIT Education and Software Services. She spent the next 18 years in India and UK growing business and experiencing the flattening of the world firsthand.
In 2010, she chose to start the next curve by moving into the Org Design and Leadership development space. An executive coach and a practicing OD consultant, she helps organizations and senior leaders turn around into high performing entities.Promila serves on the committees of a number of organizations as the external expert on their ICC under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act.
In 2009, as DaanUtsav (earlier called Joy of Giving Week), was taking baby steps, she joined the founding group of volunteers and has been a volunteer focusing on the corporate space since then.
KN Chandrashekaran (Shekar) graduated from IISc, Bangalore in 1976. He worked in various organisations before starting his own structural consulting firm, Indraprasta Consultants in 1988. He is a Rotarian and involved in various community development activities.
He’s a volunteer with Daan Utsav based in Hyderabad.
After working for different corporates and institutions on Sales and Marketing, Bipin focused on communication (both print and digital) for companies like Eureka Forbes, Sterling Group, Indiacom at Hyderabad, Odisha and Ahmedabad. He started his own venture, MMA Information Systems in 1999. He had started publication of a tabloid ‘Twin City+’. In 2000 he started a unique tour concept named ‘Sunday Express’ followed by publication of ‘Yellow Pages’ for different cities of Odisha (Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Anugul, Talcher and Kendrapada). With a keen interest in promotion of tourism activities, he started designing maps for cities like Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Puri which are available on stands. The map of Shirdi, Maharastra is now ready for publication.
For the last few years he has been working independently for the publication of ‘Welcome to Odisha’. It is a 400 page guide for tourism and hotels of Odisha, having the information of 30 districts in its 30 chapters. Each chapter will have the districts’ Maps, tourist information with photographs of culture, people, food, handicraft, handloom, and places to stay – hotels, resorts, lodges, Govt. shelters of that district etc. Bipin continues to support some corporates, institutions and industries in design, printing and digital communication & marketing.
He is also into social work and a volunteer of ‘DaanUtsav’ (India’s festival of giving) and zonal partner of Design for Change World Contest (world’s largest challenge among school children spread over 38 countries).
Jayashree Venkataraman has 20+ years of Global experience delivering Engineering and Operational excellence in advanced and emerging markets in the US, India and China in key leadership roles with Microsoft and General Electric. She has also worked in TCIL Bellsouth, TCS, Syntel and Extricity/Peregrine Systems. Jayashree holds a MBA from Williams College of Business, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, a Certificate in Project Management from University of Cincinnati, OH and an MCA from University of Madras.
Jayashree along with co-authors has published a book on Project Leadership. Jayashree has been passionate about Diversity and especially in professional development of women. Jayashree was the hub leader for GE Women’s network in Hyderabad. She also started the Women in IT in Microsoft, Hyderabad. She is currently working on launching her own startup.
Jayashree has been a volunteer of DaanUtsav, India’s festival of Giving from 2009. Jayashree is an active Rotarian and been board member of Rotary Club of Hyderabad North from 2011. is currently working on launching her own startup
Popularly known as the Clothing Man, Anshu Gupta started his career as a freelance journalist and left a corporate career in 1998 to start GOONJ. Anshu’s mission in Goonj is to make clothing a matter of concern, to bring it in the list of subjects for the development sector. While introducing a new model wherein city’s discard is turned into a rural development resource, he adds a new perspective which looks at the giver’s dignity rather than the donor’s pride.
In the last 14 years GOONJ, the organisation he founded has been able to demonstrate, how a parallel trash based (as opposed to cash based) economy is possible. An Ashoka & Schwab Fellow, he and his organization Goonj, has won many international awards and the work brings a lot of conviction and evidence to show the success of the idea.GOONJ has emerged as the largest non -monetary resource agency while people also call it one of the largest civic participation movements!!
Madhukar Shukla is a professor of Organizational Behavior at the Xavier Institute of Management (XLRI). He has a keen research and teaching interest in social entrepreneurship and is also the Chairperson of Fr Arrupe Centre for Ecology & Sustainability. He also oversees initiatives like the SIGMA club in XLRI.
Aarti Madhusudan is passionate about getting people to engage with social causes. She works with NGOs helping them strengthen their Boards, to become more effective and efficient at what they do. She is also associated with iVolunteer through an initiative that she runs called the Whiteboard which encourages senior corporate professionals give time probono to NGOs in their city, in a structured manner.
Aarti has volunteered with Daan Utsav since 2009 and lives in Chennai. She is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and NIMHANS, Bangalore.
Dr K K Prahalathan
Dr.Prahalathan KK is one of the co-founders of Bhumi, one of India’s largest youth volunteering organisations. He is currently involved in programme management, communication, fundraising and strategy at Bhumi. He is passionate about promoting the habit of volunteering among young people and strongly believes every child deserves quality education. He started a successful campaign on Change.org with the Bhumi team to bring back meters to auto-rickshaws in Chennai after seven years in 2013. A doctor by profession, he is currently a consultant Ophthalmologist at a leading Eye Hospital in Chennai, India.
Rahul Nainwal, founder India Fellow program, is a serial social entrepreneur. In 2001 he co-founded iVolunteer and introduced the concept of formal volunteering in India. In 2004, Rahul created iVolunteer Overseas, a first of its kind in India that sends Indians to volunteer in other countries. Till 2012, Rahul was responsible in creating the learning systems for the ICICI Fellows program. Rahul is an alumnus of Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) and THNK – The Amsterdam school of creative leadership. He is also founder of UnLtd Delhi – a launchpad for social entrepreneurs.
Sukanya completed her MCA in 1993 from University of Madras. She first started working with American Express Bank – Technologies, supporting the core banking system for Japan Asia Pacific Australia Region; then moved to Electronic Data Systems – American Express Account in 1995, handling a variety of roles from PMO to leading technology projects to setting up off EDS offshore center in Chennai; In 2000, she moved to American Express Cards Division, NY and as Director – Card Acquisitions and was responsible for delivery of all technology programs in the Acquisitions vertical. In 2003 Sukanya joined SunTrust Bank, Atlanta – as Technology Program Manager, where she successfully led and delivered large transformational, mission critical programs for the Bank ($25+MM / 250+ resources across the globe and at times working on 5+ concurrent projects).
Sukanya moved back to Chennai in 2011 and since then volunteers / consults actively in the social sector (NGOs and CSR projects); she also conducts fun learning programs and a book club for children. She has been a volunteer for Daan Utsav since 2013.