Board Member Biography


The unifying factor that binds Urja’s team together is their sheer compassion and commitment to incentivise homeless young women effectively so they can create their own destinies. The hands-on, grass-root ideals have allowed them to work with individuals, families, groups, and communities. Spread over a gamut of academic disciplines: social work, education, physical education, economics, and management, each team member fuels and inspires the other to create a dynamic mesh of creative minds who stand up for ONE cause: ultimate empowerment of young homeless women.

Deepali Kamble: Managing Trustee

She began working towards social change when she was 18 years old and debated the injustice faced by women and individuals from lower classes and castes. She was inspired by the life of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar among many others and began to encourage young girls, like herself, to understand and raise their voices against social injustice.

Deepali’s love for taking risks and her resolve in addressing challenges eventually led her to advocate for the cause of homeless young women. She truly believes that this group of individuals, albeit vulnerable, was brave enough to challenge discriminatory social norms and holds a chance at moulding their own destiny.

Deepali has a Master’s degree in Economics and is currently pursuing her Management Studies. She has extensively worked with the youth and women for the past 18 years and has strived for their cause in various government bodies like the Juvenile Justice Board and the Department of Women and Child Development. Deepali has been conducting police trainings sessions on the rights of juveniles when there is a conflict with law and has also been involved in research on the Aftercare Program for vulnerable individuals in Maharashtra. She has also been holding training sessions for other stakeholders: Ngos, young women and so on. She is a board member of the Dadar police Sexual harassment Committee. As the emerging leader, Deepali has been sharing intellectual space and collaborated with different humanist movements and networks all over the country. She has used her experience and learning to fuel the mission of Urja which in turn has allowed her to work compassionately with young women and the government alike.

Aditi Naik : Trustee

At Pratha, she started her career with the implementation of Slum Sanitation Programme in the slums of Mumbai. Presently, she is involved with the project Management Services of MCGM for monitoring the activities under Slum Sanitation Programme (SSP). Her experience in sanitation for the last four years gave her tremendous insight into other related issues like seepage management, health and hygiene, sustainable sanitation and improving quality of sanitation facilities provided by MCGM.

She is an expert in her own right when it comes to working with slum communities of Mumbai, community mobilisation, formation of Community Based Organizations, report writing, networking, conducting surveys, hosting trainings and events, and forming liasons with MCGM and various other government departments.

In 2004, Aditi and Deepali had worked together on a rehabilitation programme for street children, understanding in the process their similar individual strengths. Aditi had always wanted to work for the rights of women and Urja was the perfect pedestal to actualise her passion. She works with renewed dedication with our young women and connects them to the opportunities in the outside world. On the other hand, with 14 years of experience, she ensures that the news from Urja travel to many places.

Rizwana Nulwala: Trustee

Currently she is a private practitioner under Krizalyz and is a mental health consultant to different companies. She has trained many groups at regional, national and international levels and have dealt with various topics that deal with existential crisis; concerns about work and life balance with a firm focus on individual’s capacity to adapt and change.

Her philosophical roots come from a belief in human beings’ capacity for the “Physis”. She is greatly influenced by her personal journey of loss and change and propagates that we are all born to win.

She holds a doctorate from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Masters also from TISS. She graduated from St. Xavier’s Mumbai with Psychology Honours. She is the Director of St. Xavier’s Diploma Counselling Programme and works tirelessly to build rapport between the outside world and the young women at Urja. With 16 years of experience, she oversees a lot of organisational processes and gives direction to our mental health programmes.

Altaf Shaikh: Advisor/Consultant

In his 35 years in development sector, Altaf started off as a volunteer working with children living on the streets and went on to become one of the founder members of Saathi, an NGO which worked with youth living on the streets and their rehabilitation.

This intense and ongoing engagement has not only exposed him to various dimensions of work with children and young adults, various strategies of interventions but also nuances of organizational functioning like governance, leadership facilitation, program planning, monitoring and evaluation.

Altaf has been using the ‘Outward-Bound’ Learning Methodology (OBL) to stimulate and motivate participants. The framework and design of these wilderness programs are built to create a series of intense, life like experiences and simulations that engage participants by enabling them to get in touch with their mental and physical capacities, things that may have been corroded over years. Altaf’s expertise has been strengthening and conditioning the foundation of the organisation and encouraging the journey forward.