Osama Manzar

Osama Manzar co-founded the Digital Empowerment Foundation in 2002 to address information poverty in India due to the digital divide. With over 25 years of experience, Osama had worked in the areas of journalism, new media, and software enterprise before he established DEF. He was a British Chevening scholar, an International Visitor’s Leadership Program Fellow of the United States state department and an Ashoka fellow. Osama played an influential role in developing India’s National Digital Literacy Mission and the Common Service Centre initiative. He is part of the advisory committee of several national and international organisations working on digital rights.

Meera Goradia

Meera Goradia is a graduate of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her experience of working with artisan clusters spans 3 decades. She has co-founded Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan with Sushma Iyengar and Alka Jani. She was the Director of Khamir, a premier organization in Kutch for the cultural and creative industries. Khamir was nurtured by her over ten years to develop innovative approaches to the artisan sector. Her experience ranges ground level artisan supply chain realities, building farm to fibre value chains, archiving cultural histories along with frontend integration. Since 2016, she has been consulting organizations and companies such as AIACA, RiseWorldwide, Jaypore, Center for Pastoralism, Ikai Asai etc. In 2020, she co-founded Creative Dignity with a group of other creative professionals, as a network to support the artisan sector through and post the pandemic. She is the network anchor of Creative Dignity at present.

Shobitha Kedlaya

Shobitha Kedlaya is the co-founder of Protovillage, a prototype of a role model rural village co-created with the villagers. It is based on principles of nurturing the air, soil and water, interdependence and resilience. Shobitha holds a degree in textiles and an MBA in marketing and has worked in the textile industry and with weavers. She ran a fashion brand for several years before she shifted to the village. She is now working on a B2B model that can help weavers get sustained work through the year.

Meena Appnender

Meena has been a member of the Crafts Council of Telangana (formerly C.C. of Andhra Pradesh) since 2003, serving as Honorary Treasurer 2003 to 2009 and then Honorary Secretary 2013 to 2021 . Her innate curiosity and capacity to see the bigger picture has enabled her to take on a diverse set of roles. She has led capacity development workshops for artisan communities on natural dyes, woodwork, leather puppetry, folk art painting, Ikkat and Banjara needlework. Held a pivotal role in the ideation, curation and success of Kausalyam Craft Bazaar 2014, held in Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad. Kausalyam was an illustrious collection of handloom and craft from across the country, some heritage pieces, some products of design intervention projects. In 2006, she was involved in planning and execution of the International Natural Dye Symposium, Hyderabad. In 2015, CCT began a capital campaign that Meena led while also mediating between the contractor, architect, interior decorator, the CCT committee and major donors.

Kavya Saxena

Ms. Kavya Saxena, is a social entrepreneur & founder of Craftpotli She particularly works with adivasi communities in India, two-time TEDX speaker, she is also currently WICCI President of Arunachal Pradesh and on consulting board of Chitkara University. She has been awarded Rising Entrepreneur 2023 by CII, India and has been featured by Hindu, Times , Hindustan Times, Indian Express, NDTV and many others. Currently, she operates her body of work from a forest belt in Odisha . The Koraput Turmeric Projects that supports livelihoods of Kondha tribe is a case study at TISS Mumbai and they partner with United Nations on this project. Her work with craft sector also involves training artisan clusters and ideation & curation to implementation projects for various institutions and entities like AIACA, Dastkaar, National Museum, Tourism Boards etc.

Shalini Kala

Shalini Kala holds an Advanced Degree in Economics, and has worked on issues of agricultural policy reform in India for her M.Phil dissertation. She has 20 years of professional experience in the field of rural development, particularly in the areas of food and agriculture, focusing on knowledge networking, livelihoods and capacity building both in India and the Asia-Pacific region. Most recently, Ms. Kala was at the World Food Programme (WFP) where she worked on design, testing and advocacy of innovative approaches for food aid as a tool of development. She has also been associated with the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and has worked on various USAID projects.

Smitha Murthy

She is a founder trustee of Aagor, a women-led organisation based in Assam. She has also worked with various artisan communities across India, creating and enhancing livelihood opportunities through design and enterprise development. As a designer and facilitator, her focus has been on structuring impactful & relevant engagements with artisans in the craft sector.

Dr. Nilesh Priyadarshi

Dr. Nilesh Priyadarshi, is a development and management professional. A Social Entrepreneur with more than 22 years of experience in the craft sector, his expertise has been recognized nationally and internationally on several forums. Before starting his own enterprise, he has done extensive research on artisans of India and published several papers which further researchers can build upon. With a clear vision of empowering the artisans, Nilesh is on a challenging yet adventurous journey of developing1000 kaarigar entrepreneurs and create resilient livelihood for 1 million artisans by 2028.

Hasina Kharbhih

Hasina Kharbhih Ashoka Fellow, Aspen AGLN Fellow, Founder and Managing Director of Impulse Social Enterprises and Founder Chair of Board of Impulse NGO Network Founder Journey With Purpose( Impulse Empower Incubation Hub). For 35 years now, She has been working to provide sustainable livelihood in a safe environment for women and children. What started out as a mission in her home state of Meghalaya India, has today evolved into a global program that aims to put an end to human trafficking and exploitation worldwide. Her work stands on two pillars: the first is Impulse NGO Network, which was conceptualized in 1987 and is a significant force against unsafe migration and human trafficking today; the second pillar is Impulse Social Enterprises which aims to promote resilience market to local artisans and create sustainable livelihood that helps prevent unsafe migration, which often leads to human trafficking. Kharbhih created the nationally and internationally acknowledged Impulse Model (formerly known as The Meghalaya Model) a holistic method to address cross border migration and human trafficking. On the basis of the Model, key stakeholders from the public and private sectors work in collaboration and strengthen each other’s work by incorporating some fundamental components.