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Sunitha Venkatarathnam

When you meet Sunitha, the first thing you notice is her infectious smile and her charming amenable personality. She grew up with the influence of Indian mythology & historical stories from her grandma, a healthy dose of south Indian family movies introduced by her dad and the wonderful novels of adventure given by her mother. Right from a very young age she was fascinated by the people in the stories and the various hues of their character painted by the author. Having attained a Masters degree in Finance and a lucrative job in the banking industry, she took a break in the peak of her career to prioritize her son’s upbringing giving him the kind of experiences that she cherished from her memories of childhood. During this break her interest in people and personalities intensified and she stumbled on DCS at Banjara. She says: “For a person who has always been observing other people, I realized, I knew very little about myself and DCS helped me discover who I really am – and the right ways to understand and reach out to people. She is now fully involved as a Counselor, Faculty and a Life Skills trainer with Banjara. She also coordinates various courses in the Academy and takes a genuine interest in each student’s journey. She has gone on to complete many other training programs at Banjara, and is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Psychology. In fact she continues to learn from everyone she meets.

Meera Vikram

Meera Vikram is a Mental Health and Life Skills coach. She has completed her Diploma in  Counseling Skills, (DCS) Life Skills Training and CBT on self healing from Banjara Academy, and has done Art Therapy workshops. She is passionate about spreading awareness on the importance of mental health issues. She strongly believes that helping someone with a friendly non-judgmental attitude, empathy and maintaining confidentiality goes a long way.   She also believes children are an integral part of the society and they are the future that we need to nurture and make mentally strong. She is currently mentoring students of the Certification in Child and Adolescent Development (CCAD) at Banjara Academy and also  guides children how to choose their Career path.  She  coordinates interactive life skills development workshops for children, and takes time out to counsel individuals who seek her support.

Jayanthi S (Gurukul)

Children……bundles of joy and full of surprises!!! Passionate about working with children, she feels it’s a great pleasure being with them & getting an opportunity to understand their little kingdom. She feels they help her discover her passion and has not looked back ever since she took over in Banjara’s Gurukul many years ago. Very hard working, dedicated, and has loads of patience. She has learnt to stay calm & composed in most situations and thoroughly enjoys her work. Since she feels that every child is different and unique in his or her own way, she tries to bring out hidden talent, special abilities, and at the same time has been a perpetual learner, feeling fulfilled and getting a great sense of contentment.

Venu (Office and Administration Manager)

An all rounder who has grown tremendously in the past 20 years of his working life, steadily rising up the ladder by dint of hard work and commitment. Genuinely interested in seeing the growth of people and willing to help them in different ways. An excellent team player, always willing to learn, take up new type of work and even take the lead spontaneously whenever required. Looks up to knowledgeable people to gain greater insights and learn from their experiences. Very meticulous in fulfilling his responsibilities, does not give up till he has found a solution or brought a task to completion. Absolutely punctual and keeps all tasks in mind with a high sense of responsibility.

Anees Fathima (Human Relations Manager)

An excellent people’s person who has the innate ability to understand others around her. A good team player, she can play both the role of a leader or that of a follower with equal ease. Helpful, smiling and pleasant demeanor. A person with a strong sense of commitment and dedication, backed with the willingness to work hard and diligently. She possesses the natural ability to diffuse crisis situation at most times, and also does not hesitate to ask for help when required. Her greatest strength is to withstand stress with the least distress. Her ability to build rapport with people and understand their needs is also very strong. She has an open mind and is a keen learner, very open to learn both from people and experiences.

Seema Pillutla (Program coordinator)

Seema has a long list of degrees and diplomas behind her name. She was an Instructional Designer and Trainer by profession. She received many awards and excelled at whatever she put her mind to. However, it was not until she took a sabbatical, to bring up her boys, did she find out that she understood and worked well with children and teenagers. And that she was meant to be a teacher or a counselor. When she wanted to start her second innings in career, she decided to pursue B.Ed. and Diploma in Counseling Skills (DCS) from Banjara. Equipped with her cheerful personality and go getting attitude, she made a fresh start. Her leadership and interpersonal skills were identified and we asked her to bat for the Banjara team henceforth. So, here she is, coordinating the courses offered by Banjara Academy and influencing everyone with her infectious positive attitude.

Sreedevi (The e-expert)

From being a master’s in business management, to have worked in the corporate sector for over a decade, to being a devoted mother and homemaker she sees life’s experiences as stepping stones to understand strengths and work on challenges. In pursuit of being more meaningfully occupied, life drove her into volunteering at various NGO’s in entrepreneurial and business development roles. She just loves the simplicity that life has to offer, it keeps her grounded and gratified. Genuineness and commitment is something she feels comfortable to adorn herself with. Empowering people is her core focus and reaching out to people comes naturally through her compassion, empathy and listening. She flocked into the world of counseling driven by the leadership, mentoring and support of Team Banjara and is extending her presence wherever needed, particularly in the issues connected to technology, internet, social media etc.

Kanmani (Senior Counselor)

Kanmani has been an integral part of Banjara for the last 15 years. She is passionate about meeting and interacting with people and having realized that she would like to live a life beyond her commerce degree, she completed her Diploma in Counselling Skills and Life Skills at the Banjara Academy in 2006. She immediately knew that this was her calling. She went on to become a Program Coordinator for Banjara and continues to stay associated with us as one of our senior most counselors. Kanmani says, “As a counselor, I have done on an average 12 to 15 sessions per week for the past 15 years and I am yet to encounter something that was out of syllabus or not taught to me by Dr. Ali, through all his courses, workshops and seminars” She is a wonderful person who takes great care in understanding the emotional and relationship issues of her counselees’ and gives them much needed help and support. She believes that the learning she gains by counseling others has helped her reach out to her friends and family and build better bonds and relationships with them. We are happy to have her as a member of the Banjara family.

Priti (Gurukul)

Some people may look at a child with special needs and see disabilities, some may feel nothing but sympathy, while others through lack of knowledge, overlook these amazing individuals completely. Priti feels she is one of the lucky ones who got an opportunity to work with children with various special needs at Banjara’s Gurukul. Children with intellectual difficulties have qualities that she feels she can only aspire to; among them are: strong mind, strength and determination, optimistic and positive attitude and above all their kindness and acceptance. For many years she has loved working with children, but she fell in the field of special education by accident. In Banjara Academy’s Gurukul under the guidance of Dr Ali she has worked on a variety of complex issues of major importance, with students with disabilities at the early childhood, middle school and high school levels. Her areas of expertise are in the academic and transition support for students with mild to moderate disabilities and behavioural support needs, including remedial classes for students with learning issues, study skill techniques and also emotional counselling for parents with children facing learning and behaviour issues. She feels that the past many years of serving as a member of Banjara Academy’s Gurukul has been a unique learning experience, one that has enriched her professionally and personally.

Arun Kumar Jana

From a small village and agricultural background to a competent professional managing the facilities, security and establishment, is one of our senior-most staff members. He has come all the way from West Bengal, and made Bangalore his home for the last Three decades.  He has been completely in charge of the premises, the assets, the housekeeping and the services.  One of the most responsible and committed persons that we can come across.
His colleagues recognize the following sterling qualities in him:
  1. Forgives and forgets, does not bear grudges
  2. Non-interfering
  3. Very diligent in money matters
  4. Guides in distress, helpful
  5. Committed to his work
  6. Fully devoted to Ali and the Academy