The Early Intervention Centre Advisory Committee
From left to right (missing from photo Shoba Srinath,Robert Kumar)
- Annie Koshi, Educationist, Principal of St Mary’s School, New Delhi
- Vibha Krishnamurthy, Developmental Pediatrician, Founder and Medical Director of Ummeed Child Development Centre, Mumbai
- Neerja Sharma, Psychologist and Child Development Specialist, Reader, Lady Irwin College, New Delhi
- Dunu Roy, Development Organizer and Consultant, Founder of Hazards Centre, New Delhi
- Priti Joshi, Reader, Child Development, Lady Irwin College, New Delhi
- Shoba Srinath, Child Psychiatrist, Head of Department of Child Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bangalore
- Robert Kumar, Founder of Anugrah Early Intervention Centre, Emmanuel Hospital, Herbertpur, UK
The Karuna Vihar Resource Centre Advisory Committee
From left to right (missing from photo Shaila Shivdas)
- Kusum Kanwar, Educational Consultant, Managing Director, Kangaroo Kids, Mumbai
- Ann Varavukala, Applied Behaviour Therapist, Founder, Gulmohar Consultants, New Delhi
- Dunu Roy, Development Organizer and consultant, Founder of Hazards Centre, New Delhi
- Shaheen Mistry, Education Consultant, Founder, Akanksha, Executive Director, Teach for India
- Shelja Sen, Child Psychologist and Family Therapist, Co-Founder, Children First, New Delhi
- Amit Sen, Child Psychiatrist, Co-Founder, Children First, New Delhi
- Deep Joshi, Management Consultant, Co-Founder, Pradhan, New Delhi
- Shaila Shivdas, Management Consultant, Standard Chartered Bank, Chennai
Advisors and Consultants
Ravi Chopra - Jo’s husband, Moy Moy’s father (and Cathleen and Anand’s too!). Ravi is the Director of the People’s Science Institute, a voluntary organization in Dehradun which provides “technical consultancy to the poor”. They specialize in water resource development and management, disaster mitigation and response and other initiatives which promote self-reliance and environmentally sound development. Ravi has been our most trusted advisor since our earliest days.
From setting up the organization to developing projects to fundraising to fire fighting, Ravi has guided us with wisdom, insight and a depth of knowledge matched by very few in this world. He is a man of enormous conviction and keen intelligence, tempered by a sly and sprightly sense of humor and fun.
After 20 years of hard work as a Speech Therapist in several Special Schools in Edinburgh, Anne retired – or so she thought. She hadn’t reckoned on reading about us in the monthly Royal College of Speech and Language Therapy Bulletin half way across the world! We were thrilled when she accepted our invitation to come as a volunteer for six months and overwhelmed when she returned twice in the next two years.
Her fourth trip is scheduled in the current year (we think she likes us). Her contributions to our understanding of and skills in communication and language development have been unparalleled. Anne is the mother of three grown up children - Catherine, Laura and Tom - and the grandmother of three lovely little girls.
Shortly after arriving in Dehra Dun in 2003, Barbara happened to meet Jo and her daughter while shopping for dress fabric. She had done community based rehabilitation in another country for quite a few years and was planning to get involved with that sort of work during her time in Dehra Dun. But, what Jo told her about the Early Intervention Center sounded so interesting that she thought she would go and check that out before looking at other volunteer work possibilities. Barbara is an Occupational Therapist and has been working with kids for more than 2 decades and when she met Dr Linda and saw the Early Intervention center she immediately wanted to spend lots of time there! She was very impressed with the dedication of the staff. That impression has remained over the years she has been there.
Barbara’s husband brought them to Dehra Dun and the plan in 2002 was that they might stay as long as 4 years. Well, Charles is very happy in his work and so is Barbara so they are now planning to stay until the spring of 2011. Barbara thinks that getting down on the floor and playing with the kids in ways that help them sit, stand and walk better is just plain fun and of course there is the great reward of seeing a child make progress. She tries to use her years of experience with CP kids to make sure that each child is getting the activities they need to progress. These days she is teaching the therapists how to make splints and other assistive devices.
Barbara and Charles have 3 grown children, all of whom are married and are living in the US. Now they have 5 grandchildren.
Dunu’s mother was Latika Roy, after whom the organization is named. His father, whom we all just called Mr. Roy, was the person who put us up to all of this. Dunu himself is one of the organization’s best friends, a person we depend upon for his startling and challenging way of looking at just about everything. Dunu has been on our executive committee off and on over the years, as well as on the advisory committee for the EIC and (though we haven’t told him yet) on a similar committee for the school and resource centre.
Dunu’s wife, Imrana, is a pediatrician and has recently retired from a long career at Jawaharlal Nehru University. They have one son, Ishaan, and eight or nine daughters – girls whom they have taken in over the years for two to three years at a time, educating them and helping them become independent.
Kusum has a natural grace which never fails to enchant. She can handle the most complex and awkward situations with ease and we turned to her again and again to do just that. My favorite Kusum story, though, illustrates her firm belief in destiny and the guiding hand of God: when selling a flat in Mumbai, she and her husband were hesitating over whether to accept an offer they had received. The decision was made when they learned the name of the would-be owner: Karuna Moy Roy.
Shaila Shivdas began working with the Foundation’s awareness campaign in 2002 and soon made herself so indispensable that a post was specially created for her when she had to move to Delhi. From there, she took charge of networking and was responsible for everything the Foundation knew about what was going on in the wider world. She peppered us with a constant barrage of emails about her latest discoveries and kept us all sharp and on our toes.
Among Shaila’s special gifts are an analytical mind, an eye for detail, a warm, compassionate heart and a complete inability to say no. Time has flown and she now lives in the Officers Training Academy in Chennai. She is no longer officially networking for us but is in touch all the time – connected for life! Her husband, Sunil, is in the 61st Cavalry of the Indian Army and their daughter, Sanjana is an animal lover and would-be vet.
Angie and Edmund have been with us for nine months and if our luck holds, they will soon return to be with us again for a longer, perhaps more permanent, stay. They are a Renaissance couple – brimming with ideas and passions and remarkable talents. In their short time with us, they have literally transformed the Foundation, helping us to discover hidden talents in areas as diverse as English speaking, communication skills, counseling, photography, web design, teaching, database management, knitting, music and poetry. We feel more alive just having them around.
Their own dream for their two year sabbatical was to make a difference to different organizations in Asia and we are just one of the places they have been (though we got them the longest!). In our case, their dream came true in spades. We will never be the same. They have inspired and graced us in ways too numerous to count. This web site is only one of the many things they have given us and we simply cannot thank them enough for the joy of their presence and the genius of their lives.
Paula is, first, last and always, a teacher. She came to us – with 17 years of experience in the field of special needs - through a British organization called “Volunteers in Service Overseas” and her brief was clear: train the local staff to run a school for children with disabilities and go home two years later. VSO reckoned without a clear brief on Paula, however.
Twelve years later, she was still with us, and the debt we owe her will never be repaid. Mother of two daughters – Carol and Pat – and grandmother of two very special children – Matthew and Victoria – she has juggled her responsibilities to them, and to Kathleen, her amazing mother – successfully since 1995. In 2007, after much thought and soul-searching, she decided to retire to the UK to be able to spend more time with her family there. She remains in frequent touch, including a triumphant return visit in 2011, and will always be a vital member of the LRF family.
Bridget is a passionate, fun, and friendly young speech therapist from Scotland. Having grown up in an inclusive community, Bridget lends us her imaginative and informed eye to build up the Projects of our LRF community. With her great laugh and engaging personality, she befriends all she meets. Bridget began her work as a speech therapist working with stroke and accident victims. Over time, though, she realized that she missed playing and working with children.
She decided to change her focus, developing games and activities that would help children develop the ability to communicate. Her main tool is play: as she admits, she thinks about play a lot! It's hard to decide if she's fun because she studies play, or she studies play because she's so inherently fun. In either event, she is a dedicated person who does everything with a lively optimism that inspires everyone around her. So sad that we only have her for a few months!
Savita began her life with the Foundation as Office Coordinator, taking over from Harsha. She was, if possible, even stricter in her demands for accountability and order and, in spite of our complaints, we all benefited from the structures she insisted on. Eventually, however, the office could no longer contain her. It seemed that each time we went looking for her there, she was missing – only to be found in one of the classes, helping with the kids.
She finally admitted she was more interested in teaching than filing and phone calls and, at the age of 40, she returned to college to qualify as a special educator with a focus on visual impairment. She came back after graduation and worked in Karuna Vihar for several years as a volunteer. When the CVT opened, she was appointed coordinator and she shaped its development with skill and single-minded passion. Now she is based in chennai, but remains in close touch with us through email and telepathy. We await her eventual return with eager anticipation.
Tara Dewan joined the Foundation as a volunteer in 2006. She worked with Asha Kiran first, then offered to help us with the budgets for two proposals we were writing at the time. Once we realized what a gem we had in our midst (an MBA with a speciality in finance!), we asked her to take a proper job and she joined as Website Coordinator in 2007. That’s the official version. In reality, it was hard to give an accurate description of all that Tara did. From advising on financial policy and management issues to organizing events like parades and parties, Tara did her website coordinating in the wee hours of the night and everything else in-between. We discovered that she is also a brilliant fund raiser and that responsibility had also been added to her portfolio. But apart from all of the incisive and insightful wisdom she brings to the organization, what we love about Tara is her sense of humor and the joy she brings wherever she goes. Tara and her husband Sandeep have two lovely children – Naomi and Nihaad. Recently, she moved to Jaipur where she and Sandeep are constructing their own home. They are planning to breed horses and run a small bed-and-breakfast hotel. Now that shall be a sure shot success with such an enthusiastic person behind it!