OBLF seeks to provide quality education to children from socio-economically weaker sections of society in rural Bangalore. We leverage the power of the community by developing and creating capacity in rural women to deliver impactful learning, create critical awareness about their role in society and in the environment around them – thus enabling social and financial empowerment for this segment.
We enable rural communities – young children and women – to take informed decisions and lead meaningful productive lives by setting a strong foundation through education and capacity building.
OBLF has two equally important areas of thrust and impact. The first has been towards curating high quality and research driven curriculum on English and basic Computer literacy. The second area of emphasis has been on socially empowering, capacitating, and creating employment for semi educated women from these communities. This dualistic approach has created a sustainable model of gaining and imparting education through collective community action.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Anamika Majumder – Founder and Managing Trustee
Anamika, the Founder of OBLF is a Software Professional, based out of Boston, MA. She has worked for companies like Sun Microsystems, Omgeo LLC (a subsidiary of DTCC), The MathWorks, NaviHealth (a UnitedHealthGroup company) in the USA for almost 2 decades. With an undergrad degree in Architecture from MNIT Jaipur and a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Anamika also has a demonstrated history of working in non-profit management. When she moved back to India in 2010, Anamika spent her time traveling to government schools in Bangalore and interacting with the children. Her experiences at these state-run schools cemented her beliefs about improving the quality of education and enhance learning experiences for children in rural India. Anamika’s mission to instill the love of learning in underprivileged children became the founding philosophy for OBLF and in July 2010, the organization was set up to meet those ends. When not working, Anamika loves to cook for her family and goes on long walks.
Aashu Calapa – Trustee
Aashu was heading ‘The Live Love Laugh’ Foundation where he spent 18 months working on building mental health awareness. Prior to his social ventures, Aashu worked extensively in Human Resources (HR) sector. He began his career in Wipro where he spent 11 years, followed by another 11 years in Firstsource Solutions Limited. During his time in HR, Aashu was also associated with Red Bus. He has a Masters in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Aashu has done his masters from Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations.
Arvind Malhan – Trustee
Arvind is a Partner at New Silk Route (NSR), a $1.4 Billion private equity fund focused on South Asia, where he has led and managed the firm’s investments, marque ones like VRL Logistics, Cafe Coffee Day, and Ortel Communications. Prior to joining NSR in 2010, Arvind served as the Executive Director at JP Morgan Private Capital Asia, the Asian private equity arm of JP Morgan, where he was part of the founding team. He previously served as Director of TVG Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on telecom, media and information technology investments across Asia, where he started the firm’s India office. Arvind began his career at McKinsey and Company, where he developed strategic initiatives for leading global companies in the information technology and financial services industries, and has also worked at Morgan Stanley Venture Partners and Pequot Capital Management. Arvind has an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Sangeeta P Mahendran – Trustee
Srinivas Katta – Trustee
Srinivas is a founding and senior partner with IndusLaw with over 15 years of experience and specializes in mergers and acquisition, strategic alliances, private equity investment, joint ventures and corporate governance. Srinivas has been consistently listed in Band 1 for Corporate/ M&A and Band 2 for Private Equity by Chambers & Partners in its Asia guides. He has also been consistently recognized as “one of the leading lawyers of India” by Asia Law Profiles. Furthermore, he has been recognised in ‘The Mint’ for being one of the 40 who ‘matter’ in the start-up ecosystem. Srinivas has also been widely endorsed as one of the most trusted lawyers in India in ICCA’s latest publication “The Vanguards”. Srinivas is a member of the board of several companies and is also a trustee and advisor to charitable foundations and projects.
EDUCATION ADVISORY BOARD
Rajeevan Karal - Education Advisory Board Member
Dr Rajeevan Karal has been an illustrious English teacher and Master trainer for over 45 years. For over two decades he was a member of the Faculty at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. Later he moved into the Publishing industry to set up the Publishing Division for Cambridge University Press, India and retired as the Senior Vice-President of the Press in 2012. Since then he has been an independent English Language Consultant offering consultancy services to different publishers and is actively engaged in training teachers and developing content for teaching-learning purposes. He has authored many course books for teaching English to both the school and university level. His major areas of interest include training, content development, curriculum development and self-directed learning.
Geetha Rajeevan - Education Advisory Board Member
Anish Ramachandran – CEO (Hon)
Ruby Kamdin – Director (Hon)
Mahesh Shetty – Program Manager
Faiza KHAN – Program Development Manager
Mahadevan Padmanabhan - Technology Lead (Hon.)
Mahadevan Padmanabhan has been one of our earliest volunteers and well-wishers and continues to be the back bone of our IT infrastructure, providing invaluable guidance and advice to us – and and stepping in whenever needed to teach our Coordinators. With over 10 years of experience in IT, Mahadevan founded PlayKnow, an Edu-tech company bringing digital intervention in education, and has played a pivotal role in creating and rolling out software and apps that are in line with the English curriculum taught at OBLF. If you ever need advice on how to invest in the stock market, Mahadevan is the man to go to!
NAMMA BENGALURU HUDUGI SUNADINI - MASTER TRAINER
Sunadini is our Master Trainer and currently oversees the training and development of our para-teachers and field trainers. You are most likely to find Sunadini in a classroom in her element. She believes that classrooms are a microcosm of the world outside and if we achieve equity in classrooms, it ripples outside into the world. Working with strong, gritty and vibrant women fuels her motivation to work at OBLF. When she is not working you can find her playing with dogs or Netflixing something questionable!
SWATHI CHINNASAMY - FIELD TRAINER
Swathi is a graduate from Christ University, Bangalore with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. As a Teach for India Alumni , Swathi is passionate about education and community development and applies this very philosophy on the ground when working with our para-teachers. A hippie at heart, Swathi seeks to travel all over the world discovering vibrant and diverse art and cuisine.
SAFOORA NOOR - FIELD TRAINER
Safoora is a graduate from Christ University, Bangalore with a Bachelors in Psychology, Sociology and Economics. She has previously worked as a fellow at Teacher for India teaching in a low income private school for two years. The Fellowship experience has shaped her world view and greatly informs her role as a Field Trainer at OBLF. Her goal is to scale impact from one classroom as a teacher to many classrooms as a Trainer. Safoora, also happens to be a cat mom who befriends every cat she crosses paths with!
K SHREE VIDYA LAKSHMI - FINANCE CONSULTANT
Shree Vidya qualified as a CA in 2005 and has been in practice for the past 4 and half years. She also completed IFRS (ACCA) & Dip. In. Forensic Audit & Fraud Detection (ICAI). Her mantra ‘Learn till your last breath’ makes Vidya a keen learner who is open to new experiences. She enjoys music, playing chef in the kitchen and traveling!
VINITA KURUP - PROJECT MANAGER (HON.)
Vinita is an Electrical Engineer with 25 years of Corporate experience, passionate about simplifying and professionalizing writing and communication. Vinita also consults with start-ups and believes in empowering young adults, with extra-curricular skills for succeeding in their careers and lives. Vinita manages OBLF’s Community Rehabilitation Project on a plethora of activities – including running classes at the Learning Centre for the children of the community, arranging regular health checkups and hygiene camps for the women and other community members. Vinita played a very crucial role in organizing Covid vaccination camps for the underprivileged in our area of operation.
TUHINA NAIR - FUNDRAISING & VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS CONSULTANT
Tuhina has been instrumental in helping OBLF build fundraising and resource mobilization capacity by developing functional linkages with both corporate and social sector donors. Inspired by her mother, Tuhina began her career 18 years ago at HelpAge India going on to work for esteemed organisations like SOS Children’s Villages of India, CRY, Smile Foundation, Hope Foundation & Concern India Foundation. Tuhina is a talented cook who enjoys traveling and spends every minute away from work making memories with her 10 year old munchkin!
Standards for Child Safeguard
OBLF’s Policy on Child Safeguarding
Who Does This Apply To
The ultimate responsibility and accountability for the definition and implementation of the Child Safety standards and norms rests with the senior management of the Foundation. This includes the Founder, the senior management representatives and the Board of Trustees of OBLF.
Definition of Harm & What Constitutes Potential Harm to Children: Given OBLF’s scope of work, the following deﬁnitions will be used as a guide:
- Physical Abuse : actual or potential physical harm perpetrated by another person, adult or child. it may involve hitting, or shaking a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a teacher or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.
- Sexual Abuse : forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities that he or she does not fully understand and has little choice in consenting to. This may include, but is not limited to, rape, oral sex, penetration, or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching. It may also include involving children in looking at, or producing sexual images, watching sexual activities and encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
- Child Sexual Exploitation : a form of sexual abuse that involves children being engaged in any sexual activity in exchange for money, gifts, food, accommodation, aﬀection, status, or anything else that they or their family needs. It usually involves a child being manipulated or coerced, which may involve befriending children, gaining their trust, and subjecting them to drugs and alcohol.
- Neglect and Negligent treatment : this refers to a persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, which is likely to result in serious impairment of a child’s healthy physical, spiritual, moral and mental development. It includes the failure to properly supervise and protect children from harm and provide for nutrition, shelter and safe living/working conditions.
- Emotional Abuse : persistent emotional maltreatment that impacts on a child’s emotional development. Emotionally abusive acts include restriction of movement, degrading, humiliating, bullying (including cyber bullying), and threatening, scaring, discriminating, ridiculing or other non-physical forms of hostile or rejecting treatment.
Reporting and Responding to Complaints
A child safeguarding allegation may be defined as a complaint involving one or more perpetrators and one or more children. In all investigations of a child safeguarding allegation, it is essential that staff involved maintain a high level of confidentiality in relation to the information in their possession, without jeopardising the investigation or the welfare of the children involved. Subsequent information generated throughout the investigation will only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis. This usually means only the designated OBLF management representative who commissioned the investigation, and any member of the investigation team (if any), should have full access to all information. All other potentially involved co-workers should receive only anonymised reports.
Complaints/allegations can come from a variety of sources including:
- Past or present staff, volunteers, contractors, associates, consultants
- Children and young people
- Via social media
- Other partners, NGOs, agencies
- Supporters, donors, government officials
- Anonymously via letters, emails or telephone calls
- Inspections, audit activity.
Managing the Investigation
If the organisation decides to conduct an internal investigation, senior management will appoint an investigation team. It is usually made up of an Investigating Manager and investigators and, in some cases, observers, interpreters and outside experts. Given OBLF’s size of operations, it is highly likely that the lead investigating manager will either be the CEO, or a senior management representative or one of the Trustees – unless there is a direct conflict of interest involved. Investigators conduct the investigation, review all collected information and write an investigation report. The team should be chosen on the basis of their integrity, understanding of child safeguarding, knowledge of human resource practice and ability to negotiate conflicting interpersonal and institutional interests.
When conducting the investigation, the following core principles should be upheld. All investigations should be child focused to ensure that children’s best interests and safety are of paramount importance. It is the Investigating Manager’s role to oversee that the principles of best practice are applied. The key principle is that the safety and wellbeing of children must be the most important factor in any investigation. It is essential that the risk to them, or their families, be considered alongside other risks to witnesses, suspected perpetrators or other staff or consultants, including the investigators.
Checklist for recruitment and selection
OBLF will also ensure adequate care and safeguards at the time of recruitment and selection of staff members. More specifically, OBLF shall:
- When you are designing the job description, analyse the role and think about the issues of child safeguarding and risk in that job.
- Develop clear job descriptions, terms of reference/role briefs for all posts including where short-term contracts, consultants are being recruited.
- Make sure that the selection-criteria outlines the relevant experience needed if the post involves direct work with children.
- Make sure that the commitment to keeping children safe is included in details of any post sent to prospective job candidates.
- Ask for documentation to conﬁrm identity and proof of relevant qualiﬁcations.
- Make sure we have a well-planned interview process and ensure the interviewers have the relevant experience of and knowledge about child safeguarding and best practice.
- Include some speciﬁc questions in the interview that draw out people’s attitudes and values in relation to the protection of children.
Training and Education
Education and training are very powerful ways to improve practice. OBLF is committed to ensuring that there will be regular dialogues with its staff about the importance of child safety and the norms & guidelines that need to be adhered by all.
Any allegation or complaint shall be duly investigated, and the report – without any information that might potentially identify the victim – shall be presented to the Board of Trustees, along with key recommendations and actions to be taken to avoid any recurrence.