Founded by Bill Drayton in 1981, today Ashoka is the world’s largest network of leading social entrepreneurs and ranks among the top 5 NGOs of the world. The first-ever social entrepreneur to be selected as an Ashoka Fellow was Gloria De Souza from India, in 1982, who revolutionised the system of learning in classrooms.
Impacting millions of people and communities through their work, our Fellows include people like Nobel Laureates Kailash Satyarthi (Bachpan Bachao Andolan) and Magsaysay awardee Anshu Gupta (Goonj), among several others. Currently, we have over 400 Ashoka Fellows in wide-ranging fields such as farming, education, human rights, finance, local media, and women and youth empowerment, across India.
Ashoka India functions as a collaborative network that supports and amplifies change by bringing together these changemakers.
In the course of our work, having witnessed the changing patterns in society over close to three decades, and the way our problems are increasing at a pace faster than we can solve them, we have realised that to truly make things better for everyone we need to head towards a world where everyone is a changemaker. And just like social entrepreneurs, the world needs everyone to start practising skills like empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving.
To this end, we believe that changemaking has to start young, and through our programs like Youth Venture, Changemaker Schools, and Health and Nutrition, we find, develop, and support young changemakers, enabling them to be role models in their communities, and give them the skills to thrive in our changing world.
Our office also serves as the regional hub for Ashoka’s activities in South Asia. Find out more about our work in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. And to know more about our activities around the year, do read our latest annual report.
Jaya joined Ashoka in April 2015 as a part of the Integrated Technology Initiative team. She is a mother of two, multilinguist, Drupal evangelist who started her career as an Analytical Chemist and then a Russian Technical translator and Interpreter and now enjoys development of websites since 2007.
Yashveer leads the “Ashoka Young Changemakers” program at Ashoka. Ashoka Young Changemakers program was launched in the year 2018 to identify, select and build a global community of Teen Changemakers. Prior to this, he founded a youth non-profit to address talent inequity in the development sector and influence youth culture in India by inspiring and educating university students to pursue social innovation and entrepreneurship. Yashveer has co-authored a book #ChangeStartsYoung featuring inspiring stories of young changemakers from across India.
For his work, Yashveer has been recognized in "Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia" list in the year 2016. He was also awarded Youth Action Net 2012 Fellowship – as 1 of the 20 young social entrepreneurs representing 16 different countries by International Youth Foundation.
Yashveer earned his MBA at University of Oxford, where he was the only MBA student to receive Vice-Chancellor Social Impact Award 2014 for his initiatives as Co-Chair Social Impact, Oxford Business Network (OBN). As the President of Student’s Union BITS Pilani 2006-07, Yashveer co-founded the University VISION 2020 Plan.
Archana Sinha leads the Health and Nutrition Initiative at Ashoka. Through Nourishing Schools, the initiative aims to develop young changemakers who can take charge of their own nutrition and that of their communities. She also manages global partnerships at Ashoka India.
Prior to joining Ashoka, she was a management consultant with i3 Consulting, a firm founded by ex-McKinsey employees. She led engagements advising clients from industries such as financial services and e-commerce on business development, strategy and setting up new ventures. She’s been a journalist with The Asian Age and is a regular contributor for publications such as Huffington Post and Forbes. She has a Masters in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and a Bachelors in Economics from Sophia College, Mumbai University. She was elected as Student Body President at Sophia College and co-founded the student-run Economics journal at JNU.
She was awarded the Spotlight:Health scholarship by the Aspen Ideas Festival, USA in 2014. She was also selected as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence by the SELCO Foundation for the Kowdi Kutumba project in 2015. It aims to make the North Karnataka handicraft of Kowdi a sustainable means of livelihood for women with low incomes.
Nagendra joined Ashoka in October 2010 and is the Finance and Accounts Manager. He has over 24 years of progressive and significant experience in Accounts management and office administration.
His key skills include preparation of final accounts, income and expenditure statements, receipts and payments statement, balance sheet, funding and project proposals. Previously, he has handled statutory and internal auditing and income tax and sales tax assessments. He has also handled matters relating to statutory compliances like income tax, exemptions proposals, FEMA, RBI, VAT, PF, PT, central excise and customs independently. He also has experience in creating working capital proposals and liaising with banks as required
Nikitha Varsha joined Ashoka as Assistant Manager for Finance & Accounts. She comes with 12 years of experience in the field. Prior to joining Ashoka, Nikitha was specialized in the preparation of receipts & payment, income & expenditure accounts, profit & loss account, cash flow statement & balance sheet, payroll, budget & MIS reports, coordinating with the auditors for the finalization of accounts and also interacting with statutory work like ESIC, PF, PT, TDS and Service Tax. She is well-versed in accounting softwares like Tally ERP 9 & Netsuite.
Shruti leads Ashoka’s Youth Years program in South Asia. In her role, she leads the efforts to search, select and build a community of teen changemakers & institutional partners to help society re-imagine a world where every young person can grow practicing to be a changemaker. Prior to this, Shruti has helped various social enterprises and impact organisations in measuring and communicating their impact. In her previous role, Shruti has worked with Aavishkaar, one of the largest Impact Investment fund in India and Social Venture Partners, an international venture philanthropy organization.
Shruti has a Ph.D. in Media Studies from Florida State University, and also holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Divyadarshan works with the global Ashoka Young Changemakers team. At 13, Darshan and his friends launched a student club for environmental action in his hometown of Trichy and he has led several changemaking initiatives since. Prior to Ashoka, he worked with the Delhi University Research Council on improving the status of undergraduate education in the country. He did his bachelor’s in liberal arts and during college, he worked on a series of social innovation projects on issues like bullying, transgender rights, migrant labours, oral history, and higher education reform.