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Key People

Shobhana Ramachandran

Shobhana Ramachandran

Chair of Board

Ms. Ramachandran is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Phia Foundation and the managing director of TVS Srichakra Ltd., which, under her leadership since 1985, has emerged as one of the biggest tyre manufacturers in India.

She has been closely associated with one of Madurai’s leading educational institutions, Lakshmi VidyaSangham (LVS), which has provided quality education to more than 12,000 students, including children with special needs. She extended this work by founding Arogya Welfare Trust (AWT) in 2010, to help the poor avail of quality healthcare, education and relief.

She has also served as President of Lakshmi SevaSangham (LSS) of the Gandhigram Trust, which focuses on the welfare of rural women; trustee of The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), which works towards policy change in mental health; and active supporter of The Banyan, which rehabilitates destitute women who suffer from mental illness.

She has been declared the Best CEO in the Auto Ancillary Category by Business India in December 2016

Belinda Bennet

Dr. Belinda Bennet

Managing Trustee

Dr. Belinda Bennet has over three decades of experience working as organizational development and change management consultant with national and international development agencies, corporations, civil society, CBOs and citizens’ groups with special focus on issues of social exclusion.

A passionate leader, she is CEO of Change Alliance, a technical and advisory development consultancy that helps forge alliances to bridge the socio-economic divide and promote inclusive and sustainable growth. She chairs the consortium that delivers the largest programme of the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) – the Poorest Area Civil Society (PACS) Programme – which focuses on rights and entitlements. In 1990s she founded the NGO Sakthi, which works with Dalits and children in Madurai’s slums. She has also served on the boards of Micah Challenge International, UK and World YWCA, and was previously the National President of YWCA, India.

Professor Sukhadeo Thorat

Professor Sukhadeo Thorat


Professor Thorat, academic and author, has more than 40 years of teaching and research experience on social inclusion.

He is Emeritus Professor at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University; and chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) of the Government of India. He was previously the Director of the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS).

In 2008, Professor Thorat received the Padmashree Award by the Government of India and the Vidyalankara (Lifetime Achievement Award) by the Purbanchal Academy of Oriental Studies for his outstanding achievement and contribution in Sanskrit education. He was also awarded the Mother Teresa International Award for his contribution to minorities, weaker sections and the people of India.

The renowned academician was one of the recipients of the Padmashree Award in 2008 apart from the coveted Vidyalankara (Lifetime Achievement Award) by the Purbanchal Academy of Oriental Studies for his outstanding achievement and contribution in the field of Sanskrit education. His outstanding achievement and contribution to the minorities, weaker sections fetched him the Mother Teresa International Award.

Prof. Thorat has been selected by Dr Ambedkar Foundation, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India for conferring the Dr B R Ambedkar National Award-2017 for Social Understanding and Upliftment of Weaker Section for the year 2011. In recognition of his contribution towards the upliftment of weaker sections of society.

Sam Thangaraj

Sam Thanaraj


Mr Thangaraj’s 25 years of experience working with national and international NGOs, multilateral development institutions and the private sector, spans the gamut of social development; his expertise includes indigenous people’s development, gender equality, social inclusion, disaster preparedness, sustainable livelihoods and eco-development.

Mr. Thangaraj joined the World Bank in 1993 as its first resettlement specialist outside its headquarters in Washington DC. Since retiring in 2005, he has worked as consultant to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), ActionAid, Christian Aid, Dutch International Church Aid and the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature-India. He has also served as senior executive at OXFAM and HelpAgeIndia, and as social development advisor to the managing director of Tata Steel.

Mr. Thangaraj is currently Senior Social Development Consultant to the World Bank and works closely with the Government of India.

Dr Roma Solomon

Dr Roma Solomon


Dr. Solomon’s association with medical science over 33 years and vast experience at both grassroots and managerial levels of various international organizations has provided her with a strong orientation towards community health. She is Director of the CORE Group Polio Project, India, which attempts to eradicate polio by improving routine immunization in high risk states of India and Nepal; and member and former chair of the Gavi CSO steering committee and oversight advisory group.

She has also worked in the fields of reproductive and child health, and sexual health including HIV and AIDS, and has written widely on the eradication of polio in Uttar Pradesh.

Surina Narula

Surina Narula


Surina Narula, the founder and president of the Consortium for Street Children has been doing commendable works for realizing the rights of street children. The trustee of the famed Television for Environment, an environment related film making organization, is known for her patronage in the UK child rights charity, Hope for Children, Motiroti, an organization of arts and theatre. Narula is a patron of Plan India and honorary patron of Plan International USA. Moreover, she is the founder sponsor and festival advisor for the Jaipur Literature Festival, the founder of the Tve Awards and co-founder of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.