Meet Our Team

Esther Trienekens

Esther Trienekens

Executive Director

Esther’s first connection with India started about 12 years ago when she volunteered for a small charity in rural Tamil Nadu. After finishing her bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology and Non-western Sociology, she returned to India to work on documentaries in Mumbai. In 2013 she moved to the UK where she graduated in Visual Anthropology after which she worked for a youth organisation as a project manager. She started working with Action Village India in 2017.

Aneeta Patel

Aneeta Patel

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 nearly 20 years’ experience in reception/office administration/secretarial roles and has run her own business for over 12 years as a knitting teacher and author. Her enthusiasm, organisational skills and random life experiences have become invaluable for the AVI extended family.

Meera Patel

Meera Patel

Accountancy Support

Meera graduated with a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Bath in 2016. Previous working roles of Meera’s include Research Assistant at the Anna Freud Centre and Statistical Programmer at Amgen. She became involved in AVI’s accounts in October 2018 when she began alongside becoming a full-time kathak dance artist. Meera currently trains and teaches kathak in London and performs regularly with Pagrav Dance Company and as an independent artist.

Esther Trienekens 1

Marcella Bruno

Cover Communications, Fundraising and Operations Manager

Marcella holds a BA degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Naples and an MA in Gender, Media, and Culture from Goldsmiths University of London. Since 2015, she has been working in different capacities in the charity and arts sectors with marginalised communities and young people born into disadvantage. She became involved in Action Village India in September 2019 when she started on a freelance basis to cover Aneeta Patel’s role. Marcella is passionate about gender equality and women’s rights, as well as social and environmental justice, and she writes and performs poetry as an independent artist.

Meet Our Trustees

Andy Rutherford

Andy Rutherford

Chair

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 Jackson

Elanor Jackson

Vice-Chair

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.

Ellie Kellet

Ellie Kellet

Secretary

Ellie discovered Action Village India through a visit to Madras Cafe at the WOMAD Festival in 2008, and she has been an active supporter ever since. Ellie had just returned from living in South India, where she had been taking a great interest in the issues underpinning the work of Action Village India’s partners. Ellie contributes her public administrative, business, IT and communication skills to the charity.

David Smith 1

David Smith

Treasurer

David is a Chartered Accountant who has worked in development organisations for over twenty-five years including four years in India with the CDC Group and also with the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University. For the last decade he has been a financial consultant working with international NGOs working on among other things risk, donor compliance and accountability and financial systems. He first visited India in 1970 and has had an interest in its culture and development since. He has been involved with AVI since 2016.

Tracy Adams

Tracy Adams

Trustee

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.

Dr. Mukul Agarwal

Dr. Mukul Agarwal

Trustee

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.

Rose Bradbury

Rose Bradbury

Trustee

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.

Beatrice Crestini

Beatrice Crestini

Trustee

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

Pallavi Modha

Trustee

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 aresome of her pride AVI moments.

Meet Our Advisors

Ivan Nutbrown

Ivan Nutbrown

Founder Advisor

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.

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