High School Achievers – Delhi 2017

External Speakers


Husain Dalwai - MP (Rajya Sabha)

Husain DalwaiMr. Husain Dalwai is a two time Rajya Sabha MP, having first been elected to the Upper House in 2011. He is a member of the Indian National Congress (INC).

He is a seasoned politician and has previously been a Member of the Legislative Council in Maharashtra and later a Minister for Labour in the Maharashtra state government. He is a diligent Parliamentarian with a high attendance record and actively participates in all debates and discussions on Bills. He is currently a member of three Parliamentary Standing Committees - Urban Development, Government Assurances and Welfare of OBCs. He also sits on the Consultative Committee on Steel.

Mr. Dalwai is a strong champion for the rights of minorities, dalits, adivasis and farmers. He holds a Masters in Sociology from the University of Mumbai. He is a trade unionist, journalist and writer by profession.

Arvind Ranjan - Former Director General, NSG

Mr. Ranjan is former Director General NSG (National Security Guard) and CISF (Central Industrial Security Force). He is a 1977 batch IPS officer of the Kerala cadre. A postgraduate in Physics and Electronics from Allahabad University, he has held many important and sensitive portfolios during his distinguished career spanning 36 years. He was ADC to Governor of Kerala and Director of BSF Academy, Tekanpur. He has been decorated with the Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 1997, Police Special Duty Medal in 2002 and President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 2006.

Purnima Ramanujan - ASER Centre

Purnima is a development researcher with experience of over ten years across the corporate and social sector. As a Senior Associate at the ASER Centre, she has worked on the ASER Survey for two years before moving to the Research Unit where she has been part of several studies. She plays an active part in devising dissemination activities for ASER to ensure that information percolates to the different levels of government and the citizenry.

The ASER Centre is a unit within the Pratham network that produces the Annual Status of Education Report. For this, the Centre conducts surveys to gauge the learning levels of children in schools across the country. In 2016, the Centre surveyed over 5,00,000 children in 17,000+ villages spread across 589 districts of the country. See: http://www.asercentre.org/

Sarika Panda - Raahgiri

Sarika Panda RaahgiriSarika is Manager, Cities and Transport with the World Resources Institute (WRI) India. She is based in Delhi and coordinates various projects and activities in the Delhi region. Sarika is currently leading the Raahgiri Day movement in the Delhi region, which is India’s first sustained car free day initiative. She is also helping other cities to replicate this hugely successful concept.

Sarika has about 10 years of experience in the field of urban development, transport and architecture. Prior to WRI India, Sarika worked with SMEC India and ORG Pvt. Ltd. and was involved in various prestigious projects around Master Planning, City Development, Comprehensive Mobility, Planning of New Townships etc. She has also worked extensively on Environmental and Social Impact Assessment projects.

Sarika has been formally trained as an architect and urban planner. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a Master’s degree in Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. Sarika also has a Master’s degree in Sociology from CSJM University, Kanpur.

Vishesh Gupta - d.light

Vishesh is the Director of Corporate Finance and Global Partnerships at d.light. d.light is a global leader in solar-powered solutions for people without access to reliable electricity. They are also the largest distributed solar lighting brand for households and small businesses in off-grid communities. d.light has impacted 75M lives so far and are on track to impact 100M lives by 2020.

Prior to d.light, Vishesh has worked in consulting firms looking at projects related to business transformation and finance in India and the Middle East and North Africa region. He is an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and College of Business Studies at Delhi University.



Partner organizations



Breakthrough logo BREAKTHROUGH is a human rights organisation that seeks to make discrimination and violence against women and girls unacceptable every-where and in all its forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, street harassment, early marriage, and gender-biased sex selection.

BREAKTHROUGH envisions a world in which all people enjoy their human rights and live with dignity, equality, and justice. Their mission is to prevent violence against women and girls by transforming the norms and cultures that enable it. BREAKTHROUGH carries out this mission by building a critical mass of change agents — the Breakthrough Generation — who will deliver irreversible impact on the issue of our time, in this lifetime.

BREAKTHROUGH's cutting-edge multimedia campaigns, community mobilization, agenda-setting, and leadership training equip men and women worldwide to challenge the status quo and take bold action for the dignity, equality, and justice of all.

Website: https://www.inbreakthrough.tv/

Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE)

CURE is a not-for-profit development organization working with urban informal and low-income communities to un-think, reimagine, innovate and de-engineer solutions to include and integrate people in the processes of city development.

Their work focuses on building resilient communities and cities. CURE helps cities with the preparation of citywide slum upgrading and environmental resilience plans. The plans are designed to do three things; level people up – ensure equality; connect all the dots – ensure comprehensive and sustainable ecological solutions; and integrate people within the city’s fabric – ensure inclusive development.

CURE's strength lies in its communitarian approach. CURE facilitates processes that enable people to come together, recognize their problems, articulate their needs and concerns, formulate shared goals and take collective decisions.

Website: http://cureindia.org


Haiyya logo Founded in February 2013, Haiyya was a reaction to the protests around the 2012 Delhi Nirbhaya case. Haiyya believes in people’s desire to create change and the power of grassroots organizing to support young people to create measured results. They do this through their campaigns, by coaching and supporting young leaders, campaigners and entrepreneurs and by consulting big companies on grassroots projects.

Haiyya is building a new leadership fabric in the country that can drive political and social shift through powerful grassroots campaigns.

Website: http://haiyya.in/


Started in 1988 with a magazine for children from the underserved communities, Katha’s work spans the literacy to literature continuum. By seamlessly connecting grassroots work in education and urban resurgence, Katha brings children living in poverty into reading and quality education. Katha Lab School, Katha’s Slum Resurgence Initiative (SRI), Katha English Academy (KENGA), Katha School of Entrepreneurship (KSE), etc. are some of the many programs Katha runs to ensure that children receive holistic learning.

Katha has been the recipient of the Millennium Alliance award 2013, the ICICI India Inclusive Award 2012 and the North India Winner of India NGO Awards 2009. Katha’s I Love Reading program has also garnered recognition for its work in the form of the Millennium Alliance Award in 2013 by USAID and Government of India.

On the other end of the creative spectrum is Katha's publishing program that bolsters the reading initiative by producing books that create space for culturally distinctive literature and celebrate the glorious polyphonous multiplicity that is India. With over 400 published titles, including quality translations of fiction for adults and children in 21 Indian and 12 foreign languages, Katha has ignited the minds of over 80,00,000 children till date.

Website: https://katha.org/


Praja logo - smallFounded in 1998, Praja Foundation is a Mumbai-based non-partisan voluntary organisation enabling accountable governance. Praja empowers the citizen to participate in governance by providing knowledge and perspective. The work of Praja aims to familiarize citizens with the different ways in which they can get politically active and involved beyond the ballot box, thus promoting transparency and accountability.

Praja conducts data driven research (on civic issues, health, crime, education, working of elected representatives and housing in Mumbai and Delhi), provides information to citizens, media and the government, and works with elected representatives to identify and address inefficiencies in their work processes, bridge information gaps, and aid in taking corrective measures.

Analysing data collected from surveys and Right to Information (RTI) applications, Praja reports its findings to the concerned constituents with feedback and recommendations. Praja engages the three constituents of governance in an informed dialogue that ultimately facilitates a better quality of life for citizens.

Website: http://www.praja.org/

PVR Nest

PVR Nest logo PVR Nest, the CSR initiative of PVR Cinemas is a pioneering endeavor in the Indian entertainment industry which rehabilitates the Children at Risk in the vicinity of PVR complexes, while establishing cinema and art as a viable and productive medium of education and living among urban children.

Through its Childscapes initiative, PVR Nest engages with the Children at Risk at 5 centers, based at PVR Complexes in Vasant Vihar, Saket, Naraina, Vikaspuri and Lajpat Nagar. Carefully planned educational, social and cultural activities are designed to engage and educate the children and to equip them for the future.

PVR Nest also runs other programs such as CineArt which bring together multimedia and other experiential forms of art like puppetry and theatre to educate children on issues of sustainability, heritage and leadership. Since its conceptualization in 2009, CineArt has involved over 2000 children in making films on various relevant issues, which further reach out to over 100,000 children annually.

The PVR Group was the first cinema exhibition company to set up a sustained and focused social responsibility initiative under PVR Nest in 2006. Initiated much ahead of the directives in the Indian Companies Act 2013, PVR Nest believes in educating, empowering and building a collaborative society to assist India’s developmental goals.

Website: http://www.pvrnest.org


Saajha works with public primary schools to enhance parental and community engagement. They build leadership in schools and communities by providing on-ground support, and workshops to ensure a collaborative approach for better learning outcomes for children.

The idea behind Saajha was conceived in 2012 by Abhishek Choudhary, and Saransh Vaswani, two Gandhi fellows, and class-mates at Hansraj College, Delhi. Saajha's first project commenced in 57 schools in North and East Delhi Municipal Corporation with generous funding support from the Central Square Foundation. In 2014, Saajha was registered as a not-for-profit organization and its co-founders received the Echoing Green Fellowship. The same year, Saajha entered into a partnership with the Government of Delhi to scale its interventions to 1,000 schools.

Today, Saajha's school interventions and workshops have resulted in a marked improvement in both the leadership capabilities of the School Management Committees as well as the learning outcomes of students. In the years ahead, Saajha aims to build a national level peer engagement platform of 100,000 School Management Committees (SMCs) across the country.

Website: http://saajha.org


Swechha logoSwechha is an organisation dedicated to enabling ourselves and others around us to ‘Be the Change’, in making a visible difference to the Environment - both Physical and Social. Their mission is to inspire, create and support – a just, equitable and sustainable society, for everyone and forever.

Swechha had its genesis in the year 2000 in the ‘We for Yamuna’ campaign, a collective response to the growing apathy towards one of the most polluted rivers of the world. Since then the organisation has gathered popular and powerful voices for the support of this cause and has emerged as the loudest and strongest voice in India on the matter.

In the last fourteen years of work, Swechha has grown in its Vision, Programs and Outreach. The European Commission, UNDP, UNV, UNEP, The American Embassy, British Council, Nokia Siemens Network, SRTT, CNN International, NDTV etc. are some of the institutions that they have worked with along this journey.

Swechha is one of the Six stories on ‘CNN – Be the Change’ and its activities were reported on CNN every week for one year in 2008-2009, and continues to inspire people all around the world. www.cnn.com/bethechange

Today, their work focuses on three main thrust areas: Education, Environment and Enterprises.

Website: http://swechha.in/

World Resources Institute (WRI) India

WRI India works to foster environmentally sound and socially equitable development. Their efforts focus on building compact and liveable cities with sustainable transport and working towards a low carbon economy. Through research, analysis, and recommendations, WRI India puts ideas into action to build transformative solutions to protect the earth, promote livelihoods, and enhance human well-being.

They are inspired by and associated with the World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research organisation that began in Washington DC in 1982 to provide cutting edge analysis to address global environment and development challenges. Today, WRI spans more than 50 countries, with offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, and the United States. In all of these locations, WRI works with government, business, and civil society to drive ambitious action based on high-quality data and objective analysis.

Website: http://wri-india.org/





Glimpses from the Delhi 2017 High School Achievers Program