Dr. Anita Patil-Deshmukh, Principal Investigator
Dr. Anita Patil-Deshmukh brings a wide variety of talents and expertise to PUKAR. A physician by profession, Anita received her Masters in Public Health from Harvard University and worked as a faculty Neonatologist at a teaching institution in Chicago for 20 years. During her tenure, she was also the Director of the Pediatric Residency program and Director of Continuous Medical Education for the Department of Pediatrics. She played a major leadership role within India Development Service (IDS), a pioneering organization in United States, which supported multiple, small-scale socio-economic development projects across India.
Anita’s main research interest has been to explore the relationship between poverty, social equity and health. Since joining PUKAR, Anita has launched three new projects: The Youth Fellowship Project (funded by Sir Ratan Tata Trust, India), Mythologies of Mumbai (funded by the Ford Foundation), PUKAR’s public health initiative (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation) andUrban Aspirations in Global Cities,in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Max Planck Institute (MPI).
Information for All – E-governance for All – Building Knowledge Bridge for Digital Divide
Kiran Sawant, Program Director
While completing second year of law degree, and working on the Mythologies of Mumbai-PUKAR project simultaneously, Kiran found his calling and he became the self taught expert of photography, web design and mapping technology. His media and technology skills led him to become the creator and webmaster of PUKAR as well as technology expert for “Information for All- E-Governance for All- Building Knowledge Bridge for Digital Divide” project in which he coordinates with IIT-Bombay on the technical aspects of the project as well as works on mapping the different areas.
ShrutikaShitole, Program Facilitator
While pursuing her degree in Marathi literature, Shrutika also became a PUKAR Youth Fellow, completed a diploma in Marathi journalism at St. Xavier’s College and an advance level course of ISABS, thus giving her the edge to become a consultant. Her doctoral studies on Marathi poetry and her research in public health issues has continued simultaneously. That has led to her co-authoring six papers in international peer reviewed journals and presentation at many national and international conferences including Harvard University. She is the community relationship specialist for the “Information for All- E-Governance for All- Building Knowledge Bridge for Digital Divide” project supported by Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives.
Mahesh Nanarkar, Admin Assistant and Data Entry Operator
Mahesh has extensive prior experience in data management, working for the LalBahadurShastri CAMSAR Merchant Navy Institute for the last four years. In addition, he has also managed data at Marine Engineering and Research Institute for the last six years. He was a Barefoot Researcher through the Youth Fellowship program, where he researched the decision-making power of girls. He joined Healthy Cities, Wealthy Cities, PUKAR’s public health project, in May 2010. He has been responsible for managing and organizing the large volume of biometric data produced through this project. He also facilitates data collection in the field and with the research coordinators.
Utkarsha Patil, Program Coordinator
Utkarsha has a degree in Software Engineering. While pursuing her degree, Utkarsha joined PUKAR as an E-Sevak in Bahadoli Village on the Research on Internet Access project. Her interest shifted to this work and she stayed on with PUKAR. Utkarsha also worked on the E-Sevak Initiative for Better Governance (ESIBG) as a data and office manager.
Utkarsha is currently working as a coordinator in Sakhare, Nagave and Pargaon Villages on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project.
Rahul Patil, Program Coordinator
Rahul has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and History, Certificate Course in Computer Hardware and Networking.
In 2014, Rahul joined the Research on Internet Access project as an E-Sevak in Bahadoli village to create awareness about e-governance. He managed the GPS Mapping on social issues for 40 villages in Palghar in 2016. He led the ESIBG project in Gowade village. Since March 2016, Rahul has been leading the Information For All, E-Governance For All project in Tamsai, Pochade and Netali villages as a project coordinator. His areas of expertise are management, planning and teaching.
Nitin Bhoire, Program Coordinator
Nitin has completed Higher Secondary Certificate. He joined PUKAR’s Research on Internet Access project in 2014 as an E-Sevak and after learning about the Internet and E-Governance, he took on the responsibility of spreading the knowledge in Dhuktan village. He led the E-Sevak Initiative For Better Governance project in Kokner village. Since 2016, Nitin has been working as coordinator on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project in Chahade and Vasare villages.
Rupesh Gaikwad, Program Coordinator
Rupesh has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, Certificate Course in Travel and Tourism. He joined the Research on Internet Access project in 2014 as a field assistant. He led the E-Sevak Initiative For Better Governance project in Lalthane village. Since 2016, Rupesh has been working in the capacity of a coordinator on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project in Khadkoli, Vishrampur, Tandulvadi and Uchavli villages.
Nikhil Kandi, Program Coordinator
Nikhil has a Bachelor’s Degree in Internet Technology. He started out as a computer teacher at a school in Dahisar, where he taught for 5 years between 2012 and 2016. While pursuing his job as a teacher, he joined PUKAR in 2014 as a Project Assistant for the Research on Internet Access project in Khamloli Village. As a project coordinator on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project, Nikhil leads the work in 2 villages, with the aim of creating awareness amongst the villagers about e-governance, which ties in well with his experience and education in the field of computers.
Shweta Gaikwad,Office Administrator
Shweta has a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce with a specialisation in Accounting & Finance, VIVA College. She joined PUKAR as an E-Sevak on the Research on Internet Access project in Dhuktan village. She worked as a project administrator on the ESIBG project. Since 2016, Shweta has been working as an Office Administrator on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project.
Tejal Shitole, Program Director
Tejal posseses a Bachelor of Science from Mumbai University, a degree in software engineering and a diploma in Public Health from the Public Health Foundation of India with a focus on Women and Children. After a pit stop in Indian Oil in software management she joined PUKAR as a youth fellow. In addition to coauthoring six papers in International journals, she presented her research on immunization and coding and mapping slum communities at the National Institute of Health Summit, Washington DC in 2012
Baliram Boomkar,Program Coordinator
Small framed with big aspirations and even bigger efforts to fulfill those aspiration, Bali epitomizes youthful verve, confidence and vitality! Bali brings more than 7 years of ‘on the ground experience’ in community building and community based participatory action research. Having been a Barefoot Researchers in PUKAR’s critical projects like Biometrics, Cost of diarrhea, Mental health, Water and TB education in Kaula Bandar, his very own slum, Bali has expertise in interviews, surveys and adorns the mantel of community leader in Kaula Bandar and that of a Program Coordinator in Mandala. A graduate of commerce, Bali is on his way to completing his masters in accountancy.
Nizamuddin Shaikh, Program Coordinator
Nizam’s usually quiet and peaceful demeanor changes dramatically when facing the poor and marginalized; be it in his own Kaula Bandar (KB) slum or Surya Nagar slum in Vikroli. Being the first generational learners, he has experienced the difficulties of learning new skills. But experience of PUKAR’s Mental health, TB, Diarrhea and Immunization projects has imparted not just research skills but critical skills in communications and community building in Nizam. Armed with those vital capabilities, Nizam becomes an embodiment of patience, compassion, tolerance, communicative assertion and positive energy once he is on the grounds in Vikroli where he is fully in charge of building the team of Barefoot Researchers. His Urdu mother tongue becomes an added asset in Surya Nagar. After completing 12th grade Nizam had to give up his aspirations of further education but he keeps hoping that someday that dream too would be fulfilled.
Nilesh Kudupkar, Program Coordinator
Nilesh has a Master’s Degree in Oceanography from Mumbai University. He joined PUKAR as a youth fellow in 2012, while simultaneously working as a scientist’s assistant at CMFRI (Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute). He started working with PUKAR in 2016 as a project coordinator on one of the Healthy Cities Wealthy Cities project. As the program coordinator on the SWASTH project, Nilesh and his team members are currently studying the health seeking behaviour of Mandala and Lallubhai community.
Journey Towards Dignity Project
Sheeba Khan, Project Facilitator
Sheeba has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She has an experience of over 16 years working with different NGOs, focusing on groups of women and girls. She has also worked in the health sector. Her interests include conducting workshops on social issues for children, camps for community, counseling, networking with NGOs etc.
Suchita Mahadev Shetye, Project Facilitator
Suchita has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Degree in Journalism. She has 16 years of experience working as a facilitator and workshop trainer in the areas of reproductive health and education with adolescents and women in both, urban as well as rural settings. She enjoys organising and managing youth events and working with children.
Sunil Gangavane, Program Director
Sunil has been working as a Program Facilitator with PUKAR after he completed his Masters Degree in Psychology from Mumbai University in 2010. Having been a Youth Fellows himself, he allows his own experience to feed into his current role which includes ideating, planning, designing and executing the program. To prepare himself well for these responsibilities, Sunil has completed international course in facilitation for gender, diversity and social transformation, a course in active citizenship and participatory communication. In addition, he is pursuing higer level training in the Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Sciences (ISABS). He has supervised around 30 original research studies, focusing largely on issues related to gender, sexuality and expression of identities; working with children of sex workers, rag-pickers, orphans, transgenders and victims of domestic violence. Sunil had developed a special skill in mentoring the most disadvantaged youth from all sectors.
Payal Tiwari, Program Facilitator and Researcher
Payal has a Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Delhi University, certificate course on Violence against Women and Children, MASHAV, Israel.
She has documented women’s experiences in conflict and urban setups. She has published a report titled “Domestic Violence as a Women’s Heath issue” and a study on women’s access to community toilet in Mumbai’s slums called “Toilet Torture” at Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai. Additionally Payal has documented a study at Tata Institute of Social Sciences titled “Engendering Mumbai’s Suburban Rail Network” in collaboration with MRVC and World Bank.
Priyanka Gajbhiye, Program Facilitator
Priyanka has a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering from Institute of Engineering and Technology, Indore and Master’s in Social Work, from Bhoj University, Bhopal.
Priyanka opted to work in the development sector looking to do fulfilling work. She worked as an IRC Coordinator at Samhita Community Development Service in Bhopal, on a project supported by United Nations Development Program. She has completed a 3-month fellowship program on gender with People for Parity, New Delhi. She recently completed her journey as a fellow on a 9-month interdisciplinary Urban Fellows Program at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), Bengaluru. Her areas of interest include urbanisation processes, education, gender, economic development and environmental issues.
Arvind Laxman Sakat, Program Facillitator
Arvind has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Pune university and a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a specialisation in Urban, Rural and Community Development from CSRD-ISWR College, Ahmednagar.
Arvind has worked for more than 6 years with tribal communities, street children, HIV/AIDS patients and affected families, senior citizens, community youth etc., for organisations such as Vatsalya Foundation, Reach Out Trust, Committed Communities Development Trust, HelpAge India, and CASP Mumbai. He has participated in workshops on sexuality and adolescent counseling and been a part of the National Sanitation Campaign as well as the Soft Skill Development Program.
Neetu Singh, Program Facillitator
Neetu holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Mumbai University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from SNDT Women’s University. She has also recently completed her Master’s in Population Sciences from International Institute of Population Sciences. She was part of PUKAR’s Youth Fellowship Program as a Fellow in 2005 and then again in 2013.
Neetu has spent more than 6 years working with organisations like YUVA, RSCD, BMMA, and SNEHA, focusing on the rights of youth in marginalised communities and the sexual and reproductive health of adolescent girls. As a documentation officer with RSCD, she has worked with women in rural communities building their knowledge on local governance. Her areas of interest are gender, sexuality as well as youth-related problems, especially in the urban context.