Kavita is the Executive Director of Action Village India. She has over 16 years of rich experience working with Civil Societies and Research and Academic Institutions in India and the global south.
Kavita is a seasoned development practitioner with substantial experience in empowering communities especially underprivileged women, to lead the transformation. She has a strong background in conceptualising development-based interventions, managing various social development programs, efficient resource mobilisation, stitching collaboration, and developing partnerships mostly towards women’s economic empowerment and issues impacting women’s access to basic human rights. Her work is the amalgamation of implementation at the grassroots level and strategic planning at the leadership positions specially focused on designing and implementing livelihood generation and poverty reduction approaches.
Her decade long association with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) India, her work on social development programs with multi-lateral, bilateral, Government Institutions, and Corporates, and her research work with Academic institutions of prestige from the global north have added to her vast experience. She demonstrates the capacity to develop evidence-based strategies on various issues that deal with development challenges in some of the most challenging contexts. She is a social impact enthusiast and wants to bring lasting changes in the lives of the less privileged.
Communications, Fundraising and Operations Manager
Aneeta started working with Action Village India in 2018. Aneeta is a great believer in making a difference on a personal level and that’s one of the things that most attracted her to AVI’s work. Originally trained as a painter she has over 20 years’ experience in reception/office administration/secretarial roles and has run her own business for over 20 years as a knitting teacher and author. Her enthusiasm, organisational skills and random life experiences have become invaluable for the AVI extended family.
Andy Rutherford has worked with community-based and people’s organisations internationally over the last 40 years. First, researching the social, economic and environmental effects of the Green Revolution in rural Tamil Nadu and then from 1985 to 2011 working with grassroots and women’s organisations across Asia, Africa and Latin America as Head on International Partnerships with two UK based organisations, War on Want and then One World Action. He is a founder and member of the Asia Europe People’s Forum, co-organising bi-annual People’s Forums since 1996. Currently, Andy is Director of a not-for-profit tour company, Fresh Eyes – People to People Travel. This is encouraging thoughtful, socially responsible travel.
Elanor has worked in international development for 30 years, 23 of them working on children’s rights and, women’s rights and gender equality. Elanor has been involved with AVI since 1994 as a former Trustee and long-term volunteer with Madras Cafe. Working as a consultant over the last 12 years, she has supported organisations to improve learning and programme quality and facilitated project evaluations, gender reviews and gender equality training. She has experience of living and working in India, Costa Rica and Ethiopia and has worked in several countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Recently she co-founded a consultancy – Genderflection.
Tracy is a Chartered Accountant with significant experience in the not-for-profit and housing sectors. Recently she has worked for London Borough of Hackney, London Cyrenians and Barnardos. She initially trained and specialised as an external auditor in the not-for-profit sector, before spending three years as a VSO volunteer in Zambia building financial capacity at a rural hospital. Tracy has always been very interested in India. After university, she spent some months travelling and teaching English in Tamil Nadu and has been a regular visitor to AVI’s Madras cafe at Womad festival.
Born and brought up in Mumbai, Adi moved to the UK in 2010. He is a Chartered Accountant and currently works in an oversight function within the financial services industry. Although Adi has been away from India in recent years, he has always had a keen interest in the happenings on the ground. Adi is passionate about a wide-range of social topics including the issues of opportunity gaps in society, minority rights, sustainability and climate action, animal rights. Adi will look to add to AVI’s governance and oversight framework as a member of the Board of trustees.
Dr Mukul joined AVI as a trustee in January 2020, and he has extensive experience in Internal Medicine, Primary Care, Rehab and Sports Medicine. He has been working for the last 15 years at some of the most notable institutions in the field. In 2010, Dr Mukul joined the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi – the largest Commonwealth Games to date – as the sports physician for the England team of Rugby 7’s, tennis and weightlifting. His most significant interests are medical education, disability sport and remote expeditions.
Originally from Italy, Beatrice lives in the UK. She studied Foreign Languages and Literature at university and fell in love with India and its culture during her first trip there in 2011. She has been working in the charity sector in fundraising and marketing, for both large and small organisations, in the UK and India. In her spare time, she loves to travel, scuba diving, take a good walk, gardening, listening to music and cooking. She regularly practices yoga and enjoys teaching it too. Beatrice is passionate about topics such as women empowerment, education access for all and supporting people living in underprivileged communities.
Pallavi Modha is an IT professional volunteering and supporting various activities at AVI since 2005. Born and brought up in India, and having lived in Britain through her adult life, Pallavi is passionate about the synergistic role of AVI between both cultures. Cooking delicious food at Madras Cafe and organising the annual event, ‘Walk For Women’ at the Virginia Water, Surrey are some of her proud AVI moments.
Elaine has worked on environment and development issues for more than 30 years, at the International Institute for Environment and Development. Whilst at IIED, she was involved in forest policy and governance research in India, working alongside researchers from Indian NGOs and Forest Departments. Latterly, with aid budgets focused elsewhere, she concentrated on the financial management of large, multi-country forest research projects. She now devotes much of her time to practising and teaching Iyengar yoga. Elaine joined AVI during its former incarnation as Friends of ASSEFA, and was involved in AVI in various capacities. She first visited Lakshmi Ashram in 1984, when she also volunteered on an organic farm run on Gandhian principles, in central India.
Theroshene is a Deputy Head(Academic) at a boys Prep School in the UK. She was born in South Africa and lived there till 2002 when she moved to the UK. Theroshene is very passionate about education for all because she believes that every child has the right to a good education and good education should not be a privilege. She is also a strong advocate of female empowerment and gender equality.
Meera is a kathak dance artist based in London. Meera first discovered Action Village India through Madras Cafe at the WOMAD Festival in 2010 and has been volunteering at the café in subsequent years. In October 2018, she became involved in supporting AVI with their bookkeeping and management accounts alongside becoming a full-time dance artist.
Meera currently trains and teaches dance across London and performs regularly with Pagrav Dance Company and as an independent artist. Much of her current artistic practice is driven by an urgent need to redefine her own and wider practices across making, facilitation and performance to counter normative ideologies around marginalised perspectives of movement and choreography.
Rose became a trustee this year following time spent as an intern at AVI. She has a master’s degree in International Development and Social Anthropology with a particular focus on violence against women and gender equality in India. Rose currently works as an Operations and Project Coordinator at a small mental health charity.
Ivan had a close connection with people in India ever since his first stay in India aged 21. Many of the people he got to know then were followers of Mahatma Gandhi and they enabled him to see Gandhi’s Constructive Programme and non-violent approach in action.
Ivan was a founder member of Action Village India, became its paid Coordinator in 2000 and finally retired in 2018. Ivan is now a Founder Advisor specialising in introducing supporters to rural India.
Founder, Director Sensetrade/Madras Café
Bryan is one of the founders of Action Village India. He started his relationship with India in Tamil Nadu in 1968 and joined Chris Wilde in supporting ASSEFA in 1989. Bryan and Chris are the original ‘Madras Café’ (affectionately known as MadCaf) having started at WOMAD in 1993 with a chai and leaflets stall.
MadCaf went from strength to strength at WOMAD. By 2018 they were serving at least 800-1000 people a day at WOMAD, with a faithful team of cooks & bottlewashers of around 100+ volunteers each year. 2023 will be our 30th year at WOMAD, no doubt with a huge celebration for all involved.
Bryan is an ongoing part of Action Village India and an invaluable member of the AVI and MadCaf family.