People Behind AASHA

Team Of Dreams

AASHA relies on a Core Team of dedicated and committed individuals who deeply believe in the cause and keep the organization functioning smoothly. Members of the AASHA Core Team have unique skill sets and experience that enable a strong and passionate organization.


Manjula Raj

Director, Kannada Department

Manjula is a UNICEF award-winning Kannada writer who has published 15 books and contributed more than 500 articles for many leading Kannada newspapers and magazines. She is an alumni of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan and has received several prestigious awards including – Karnataka women achievers award, Laadli Media And Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity, Kamala Ramaswamy Dhathi Nidhi Award by Karnataka Lekhakiyara sangha, UNICEF HIV/AIDS Kannada Journalism Award.AASHA’s Kannada Department and courses were started under her leadership.


Kanthi Lakshmi Meda

Director, Learning Department

Kanthi, a Director at MKR Group of companies, has been a guiding force at AASHA since its inception. Her love for English and passion for social service keeps her here. She has been instrumental in laying a strong foundation at AASHA in terms of content, curriculum and pedagogy that has enabled our early success and growth.


Core Team

Surekha Khambaswadkar

B.Com, MBA (HR) HR - Training and Partnerships, Volunteer Coordination Department @ AASHA

All India Employee Relations at Hindustan Unilever Ltd., 8 years HR Corporate experience.

Surekha developed Phonics workbook version 2 and trains teachers in the Phonics Program.

Surekha has been a volunteer with AASHA and a key contributor since its inception.


Poonam S. Iyer

B.Tech, M.Tech. Student Coordination Department @ AASHA

Poonam is a Perfumer and a passionate volunteer working with Home Sweet Home prior to AASHA where she has been a volunteer since its inception.


Ambika Pradeep

M.Com Volunteer Coordination Department @ AASHA


Ambika has 15 years teaching, working, volunteering experience in India, UK, and Bangkok.

She has been a volunteer at AASHA for over 5 years helping with planning.


Usha Gupta

M.A.(Economics), B.Ed. Spoken English Department @ AASHA

Usha developed AASHA’s Spoken English curriculum and currently teaches & heads the Spoken English department. Usha has been a volunteer with AASHA since its inception.


Apurva Vartika

B.E, Information Science & Engineering.Marketing Department @ AASHA

Software Engineer – Accenture, Application Developer.

At AASHA Apurva manages AASHA’s digital marketing campaigns, raising awareness of AASHA’s work on social media.


Meera Hegde

Volunteer - Non profit sector. Student Coordination Department @ AASHA

Worked at Christian Children’s Fund for 14 years. Volunteering for 25 years with Ashwini Charitable Trust, Spastics Society of Karnataka, Helping Hand, Sahai. AASHA students and their families benefit from Meera’s wealth of experience working with underprivileged children.


Anupama Hegde

B.E, M.S. Strategy & planning @ AASHA

25+ years experience in the IT industry predominantly in Product management.

Taught middle school science, Elementary Montessori trained.

At AASHA Anupama teaches and works on strategy and planning.


Vini Maheshwari

B Com, Dipl in HR. Volunteer Coordination Department @ AASHA

Vini runs her own consulting firm and has volunteered with AASHA since 2017


Nalini Padegal

B.Com Computer Science, Volunteer - Student Coordination Department

Volunteer – Student Coordination Department


Vaishali. U. Palsikar

M.A (Philosophy) Internship Coordinator @ AASHA

With over two decades of experience, I have proudly served as a French instructor, imparting language skills and cultural understanding to my students.