Great things are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people.
Meet our core team of Advisory and Trustees, who are seasoned professionals from different fields with a lot of conviction that holistic health and wellness is extremely essential for a healthy, happy successful personal and professional life. Every one of them have an innate need to serve the society and work towards its welfare.
They are the backbone of Sahayam and contribute towards its development actively.
A Masters in Psychiatric Social Work from Madras School of Social Work, Chennai, and a Masters in Psychology, Mahalakshmi’s, passion for social work and social well being, motivated her to found Sahayam, in 2014 along with Srikanth Balakrishnan. As a Holistic Wellness Practitioner, she specialises in therapeutic interventions for emotional distress, adolescent behaviour enhancement, relationship healing, marital therapy, and self discovery and enhancement. She designs workshops and training programmes for college students, teachers, special educators and for individuals interested in self enhancement. She conducts these workshops in Delhi as well as in other parts of the country. A strong believer of Positive Psychology, she focuses on the wellness spectrum and enhancing it for self and for her clients and trainees. She is optimistic about enhancing the holistic wellness of the society through her intervention programmes.
Mahalakshmi’s first experience with complementary healing systems as effective interventions, was at her first job following her Masters, when she was placed in a non drug therapy Centre. This led her to commence her journey in the field of complementary healing systems, in a systematic way from 2000 and she progressed to becoming a certified trainer in pranic healing, training more than 800 people in this technique in different cities. Over the years, she also mastered various other healing techniques.
Married to a defence officer, she moved cities and continuously offered her healing and counselling services to the defence fraternity. Living in different cities added to her understanding of various cultures and beliefs, that play an important role in every individual’s perception. She has published research papers in National and International Journals. Her book – I am My Own Sunshine, is a book of short stories that speaks about various cases dealt by her, leading them towards holistic healing, wellness and empowerment.
In 2017, Mahalakshmi was awarded the BR Ambedkar Award by Ambedkar Sports Foundation for her contribution in the field of social work. She is also Director, Health and Happiness Practice, at Levensloop, an organisation providing business interventions.
One of the Founding Trustees of Sahayam, Srikanth Balakrishnan is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Srikanth started his career with a Big 4 accounting firm and soon left to start his own firm, which now has a pan-India presence with over 300 people.
Srikanth specialises in Indirect Taxation and has had a long career in helping multi-nationals with their ‘Go to India’ plans. Geographically, Srikanth focuses on the far-east and advises several large Japanese companies on their India investments.
Srikanth is an amateur wildlife photographer and has travelled across the length and breadth of the country photographing the big cats.
Srikanth lives in Bangalore with his wife, Priti, a Cost Accountant by training and a banker by profession. Srikanth and Priti have two sons.
A Masters in Social Work, from Annamalai University, Ms Vaidehi Subramani was initially associated with Indian Council for Child Welfare, Chennai. In Delhi, she functioned as Hon. Executive Director, with Akshay Pratisthan, a non profit organisation providing education and vocational training for the differently abled for more than a decade.
During her years at Akshay Pratisthan, she was responsible for scaling up the vocational training centre and thus providing opportunities to many differently abled to be trained in various skills. She is the Assistant Coordinator for the IGNOU study centre at Akshay Pratisthan. She launched the IGNOU MSW course, and her innovative methods of introducing fieldwork assignments has resulted in the students enrolling for the distant education programme, giving their best for their field work and also volunteering in many welfare projects. This study centre has also seen a steady increase in the enrolment of MSW, every year. Vaidehi was Chairperson for Child Welfare Committee, Delhi for three years before moving on to serve as Member of the Juvenile Justice Board, Delhi Gate, where she continues presently. Working in the field of social welfare, for the needs, empowerment of children with different abilities is her passion. An avid traveller, she has visited more than 25 countries. She has been associated with Sahayam since its inception. She was on the Advisory Board of Sahayam for two years, before moving on to joining as Trustee.
Dr. Narayanan Surendran (Suri) is a pharmaceutical researcher and currently is Founder-President of RythRx Therapeutics LLC, a US based boutique drug discovery and development consulting company. He obtained his B.Pharm (Hons) from BITS Pilani and his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Arizona, Tucson. Over a course of 22 years in Pharma industry, he has served in various roles in both Big Pharma and smaller organizations, and continues to be engaged in drug discovery and development programs with his clients and other collaborators. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
As an individual diagnosed with hearing impairment due to sensorineural hearing loss over 12 years ago, he is keenly aware of how life’s imperfections can take a toll on physical and mental health. He is a strong proponent of SAHAYAM’s mission and its efforts to help and heal through counseling and holistic approaches such that individuals and communities can grow and thrive in these challenging times.
M. J. Milton has over 20 years of experience in the fields of HR / IR in the areas of Technology, Manufacturing, Energy, Telecom, Engineering services, IT & FMCG.He has worked with eminent companies such as Polaris Financial Technology, Vestas Technology, Fichtner Consulting Engineers, just to name a few. He has embodied various roles ranging from personnel manager to senior vice president, Human Resources. He has been instrumental in many decisions that have shaped the companies policies. He has provded strategic support and guidance to senior business partners across geographies to enable them to design and implement critical programs related to performance management, leadership development, organization efficiency and operations.
His vast knowledge and experience in developing and sustaining a high performing organization along with his background in Social Work (M.A. from Madras School of Social Work, Chennai), is a great assest to us at Sahayam.
Commander Amit Maini (Retd) , an ex Naval aviator has been associated with SAHAYAM since its inception stage in 2014. He is settled in Bangalore and primarily runs a Horse Riding School wherein Equine Therapy to special need children is also undertaken. Besides horse riding , from time to time he is involved in various marathon and other running event for coordination of medical aspects. His multifaceted experience and selfless guidance is a big asset to the Sahayam team.
A post-graduate in Social Work and a diploma holder in Psychological Counselling, with over 20 years of experience in the social development sector. Maya Ramachandran is a certified counselling trainer as well as a certified mentor. She is a practicing Psychotherapist and a certified energy healer with an expertise in marital therapy, adolescent issues, emotional distress and trauma using an eclectic approach.
She is empanelled by Banyan Academy for Learning and Mental Health (BALM-Chennai), affiliated with TISS, Mumbai to facilitate personal growth sessions for their post-graduate students; a counselling consultant and trainer for the McKinsey group in Chennai and also conducts customised training programmes for other Corporates . In addition, she also offers consultancy services for various other not-for-profit organisations, both National and International, for grant-writing, impact assessment and documenting project reports. As Head, Southern Region, Sahayam, she connects and spreads the message of holistic intervention and empowerment through workshops and consultation in corporates, educational institutions and non-profit organisations. Under her able expertise, Sahayam aims to spread its wings in other southern cities too.
Pratima Tiwary is a RCI registered Rehabilitation Professional, a confident adaptable and motivated secondary level teacher, and an administrator, with experience of more than fifteen years.As an English Graduate and a voracious reader, teaching is the only profession she was inclined to come into. Started her career with Naval Children School but soon moved on to the field of special education after her son got diagnosed with Autism in the year 2003. Being married to a defence personal and living a nomadic life was proving difficult for the settlement of a two years old autistic child, which soon led to her settlement in Delhi in the year 2004.
She took the challenge of raising an autistic child head on and started volunteering with Tamanna , a well reputed NGO in Delhi NCR. Obtained her second Bachelor degree in special education and started working full time as a dedicated special educator in St. Mary’s which is a well reputed inclusive school in Dwarka. Being a special educator and a mother of an autistic child helped her to understand the various issues related in the field of disability. She is a constant seeker of new ideas. Building trust and motivation on both an individual and group basis is very important when we are dealing with various challenges of PWD on daily basis. She has been key personnel in organising and conducting various sensitization programmes within school premises for students, teachers and parents.
Soon she was heading the special wing of school which now consists of 110 children. As a dedicated administrator in an inclusive set up, she started bridging the gap between school management, regular teachers, students, counsellor and parents. She possesses exemplary organisation, planning and administrative skills, and has the ability to manage the demanding workload of a teacher and administrator with confidence. Being a part of various parental organisations and NGOs, she was constantly coming across various issues related to PWDs. Out of which the most challenging she felt was the lack of facilities and government support with regard to meaningful engagement, skill based training and a mode of earning some sort of livelihood for PWDs. This led her to contemplate the idea of a holistic place which could provide life skill training and some sort of vocation to the young adults with special needs. She along with couple of other like-minded people then started Anant Initiative Social Welfare Society in the year 2017. Divya Vocational Centre is her first initiation under Anant Society which works for the vocationalisation of PWDs.
She has also been a constant part of community based rehabilitation programme. Screening of children with special needs and providing a home based program for the underprivileged children of various colonies in and around Dwarka is the focal point of the program. Under CBR project time to time awareness and counselling program for the not so educated section of the society is being organized and the problems are dealt head on. She has conducted various awareness programmes/ workshops for government and non-government agencies in and around Delhi on autism, inclusion and curriculum development.
Presently, she is working as Head of the department (Aasmaan , a section for developmentally challenged) within a reputed inclusive school in dwarka and is Director , Anant Initiative Social Welfare Society.
Jothi Ramesh, M.A., RSW is a Social Worker/psychotherapist practicing in Toronto, Canada. She has over 25 years of experience as a therapist and specialises in individual, couple, family and group therapy. She has expertise in trauma-informed care and has extensive experience working with LGBTTQ communities. She works from an anti-oppressive and social justice framework. Psychotherapy is a big part of Jothi’s practice. Psychotherapy deals with the connection between past experiences, inner beliefs and perceptions and the individual’s current situation. This would help clients to be able to gain insights, make connections between the past and the present and to work on their issues.
Jothi Ramesh commenced her career as a Social Worker in Malar Hospitals, India and later moved to Canada where she has worked as a therapist and provided clinical supervision for counsellors. She has also worked as an Instructor at Ryerson University, Toronto and at Mennonite New Life Centre, Toronto for Internationally Educated Psychologists and Psychotherapists.
Jothi Ramesh is a committed professional with a proven ability to combine strong therapeutic and leadership skills to promote best practices and improve the health, not only of clients, but also of staff and communities at large. She is able to draw upon her extensive experience in mental health and addictions, building community partnerships and client service delivery to help professionals reach their career goals.
Jothi Ramesh is the recipient of Placement Supervisor Award, Bridge Training Program for Internationally Trained Psychologists and Allied Mental Health Professionals.
Jothi Ramesh has presented at United Nations Women’s Conference, New York on HIV care for racialized women and at North American Refugee Conference on Working with Hungarian clients.
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