Ashoka Announces Election of Five New Fellows in India

BANGALORE, April 11, 2015 – Ashoka: Innovators for the Public formally elected five new Ashoka Fellows in India. These social entrepreneurs have pioneered game-changing and scalable innovations. The rigour of the Ashoka selection process is the gold standard for the social entrepreneurship sector. Candidates undergo an extensive process lasting more than six months. Out of the leading social entrepreneurs who are originally considered for the Fellowship, only 1 percent fulfils Ashoka’s meticulous criteria. 

The new Ashoka Fellows are:

Paramita Banerjee: Paramita Banerjee is enabling children of sex workers in India’s poorest Red Light Areas to become changemakers so that they can take charge over their lives by making informed choices, and transform their communities to a safe space for them and their peers to grow up and live in.

Sriram Kuchimanchi: Sriram envisions a world where every consumer has the information and awareness to make socially and environmentally sustainable choices, and has enough sustainable options to choose from, because businesses too are empowered to cater to the growing consumer demand for sustainable products and services.

Ashif Shaikh: Ashif is building a national movement to abolish the unconstitutional caste hierarchy in India, with community leaders from the lowest and most marginalized Dalit caste, at the center leading the movement, supported by institutions like lawyer networks, community-based organizations, cultural groups and Constitutional law.

Lewitt Somarajan: Lewitt is bridging the critical gap by designing and codifying support structures of Activity Based Learning (ABL),  through a two-year long coaching process. Through easy-to-use toolkits, teachers are guided to their roles as effective facilitators in low-income schools, nudging students to take charge of their own learning. Lewitt is making it possible for any school to effectively apply ABL and improve learning outcomes.

Ramya Venkataraman: is rewarding performance and providing an accelerated growth path to teachers, to inspire excellence. To truly transform the quality of education in India, Ramya has created an independent and unique teacher certification framework that can assess the teachers’ mind-sets, skills and knowledge. By linking this certification to professional growth opportunities she is inspiring teachers, for the first time in India, to take ownership of their own professional development.


About Ashoka

Ashoka: Innovators for the Public is the one of the largest networks of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with over 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries creating large-scale impact through new innovations. Founded by Bill Drayton in 1980, Ashoka is an international network that is driving the social sector and offering a platform for people dedicated to changing the world. Ashoka pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship and has built multi-level stakeholders across the world who increasingly look to entrepreneurial talent and new ideas to solve social problems.

In India, Ashoka has a vibrant fellowship of over 380 fellows and elects a new cohort of Fellows every year. Ashoka India also selects and elects new Fellows from Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and plays a unique role in integrating the emerging social sector in South Asia.