People


Autism Intervention
The Autism Intervention (AI) team at Ummeed works with children with autism to address difficulties with attention, imitation, receptive and expressive communication and language, social interaction, play, unusual sensory responses and behavioral control.

The team also runs various parent and professional training programs on early social communication skills, managing challenging behaviors and preparing for puberty. When not empowering children and parents, they are bakers, pilots, special educators, counsellors, and dance teachers!


Developmental Pediatricians
Ummeed’s Developmental Pediatricians team has highly skilled and committed pediatricians with specialized training and experience in child development and disabilities.

They offer pediatric assessment and consultation services and support families in identifying their child’s strengths and challenges, as well as in making informed decisions about treatment and therapy options. Apart from supporting children and families, they are mentors, listeners, readers, and thinkers!


Early Intervention Center (EIC)
The EIC team has members with diverse experiences who provide transdisciplinary care to support families and children for school transition. They run a yearlong, fun-filled, play-based program that works towards school readiness through direct work with the child and training for families.

The team believes in family-centered care and creates opportunities for active engagement and collaboration with families during the session. When not organizing activities for children, they are dancers, busy elves, singers, and artists!


Early Childhood Development and Disability (eCDD)
The eCDD team partners with community-based organizations working in maternal and child health to implement Ummeed’s eCDD program, which trains community health workers and their supervisors to better monitor and address issues in child development.

Comprised of professionals from diverse academic backgrounds and training, the team shares an interest in working in the space of community based programs related to early childhood development. When not promoting maternal and child health, they are early birds, didis, and prevention experts!


Mental Health
The Mental Health team engages in therapeutic conversations with children, young people and families responding to developmental disabilities, anxiety, depression, and the effects of life situations such as a death in the family, school-related difficulties, bullying,
trauma, etc. using the narrative approach to counseling. The team is also actively involved in training parents, professionals, community workers and teachers in the use of narrative ideas and practices in diverse contexts. Aside from promoting mental health, they are storytellers, mythbusters, and influencers!

Occupational Therapy
The Occupational Therapy team works with children of all ages and abilities to help them participate in activities that help them learn, enjoy and develop life skills. They develop individualized treatment plans in collaboration
with families based on the family’s priorities, child's strengths and challenges, knowledge of typical development and the environmental context. This team has learned and acquired best practices for children with developmental disabilities that they also disseminate to parents, occupational therapists, teachers, and community workers. When not working with children, they are gaming specialists, explorers, and inventors!

Remedial Therapy
The Remedial Therapy team supports children with learning difficulties and disabilities of all ages to strengthen their academic areas of underachievement and helps them achieve a higher level of success and self confidence in their school and community.
The remedial sessions cover diverse areas such as language, reading, math, writing and processing skills through individual sessions, school and home programs. In addition to building children’s self-confidence, they are optimists, hand holders, and guides!

School Outreach
For the School Outreach team, inclusion involves the education of all children - not just children with special needs - by addressing the barriers to learning, building resources to support learning and participation, and
responding to the diverse needs of every child. The School Outreach team works with schools (both private and government) to aid in developing inclusive cultures and translating inclusive policies to practice. When not promoting inclusion, they are anti-bully squads and influencers!

Social Work
The Social Work team at Ummeed works closely with families to assist them in understanding and navigating the larger intervention system to ensure that they receive appropriate care and services.
Through workshops such as ‘Know Your Rights’, they introduce families of children with developmental disabilities to their rights, as well as those of their children. In addition to empowering families and children with disabilities, they are coordinators, navigators, and connectors!

Speech Therapy
The Speech and Language Therapy team at Ummeed supports children with communication problems such as articulation delays, language delays, autism, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and stuttering.
The team analyzes and corrects the mechanics of speech by working on breathing techniques, tongue placement, use of language (structuring sentences properly, formulating complete thoughts and expressing emotions), etc. When not empowering children through communication skills, they are speakers and confidence boosters!

Testing
The Testing team conducts detailed psycho-educational assessments for children between 6 to 18 years of age by gathering developmental, school performance, and family histories to supplement norm-referenced tests.
This not only helps determine whether a child has a specific learning disability, but also helps measure and understand the cognitive and achievement skills, strengths and challenges that either enhance or inhibit a child’s ability to perform to the best of his or her academic potential in school. When not addressing barriers to children’s potential, they are time-keepers and rapport builders!

Shared Services
The shared services teams at Ummeed include Administration, Communications, Finance, Fundraising, Human Resources and Information Technology.
In addition to ensuring smooth operations at Ummeed, they are geeks, dreamers, talent-seekers, and el dorados!

Ummeed Management Team
The Ummeed Management Team (UMT) is a mix of passionate, experienced individuals from diverse backgrounds (ranging from medical professionals to management experts).
This team aspires and works towards maximizing Ummeed’s social impact through cross-team participation and collaboration. The team are also captains, artists, musicians, and fashionistas!

Dr. Vibha Krishnamurthy

Founder & Executive Director

Vibha founded Ummeed Child Development Center in 2001 and serves as its Executive Director. Vibha has grown Ummeed from a clinic providing integrated services to a center of excellence for clinical care, as well as a resource center in the field of developmental disabilities for professionals, families, and community organizations. Vibha’s vision is to put Ummeed at the forefront of a movement to make inclusion of children with developmental disabilities a visible agenda for India.

Vibha has served as a resource person for the Government of India in several roles – as chairperson of the Expert Committee on Autism, Rehabilitation Council of India, as well as for the WHO (South East Asia Regional Office); as a Member of the Task Force for the Right to Education (RTE) Act constituted by Ministry of Human Resource & Development, and Department of Higher Education for educational development of persons with disabilities; and as a consultant on the Advisory Group for the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) launched by the Government of India in February 2014. She is an Expert Consultant in Early Childhood Development & Disabilities for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the President Elect for the International Developmental Pediatrics Association (IDPA).

Vibha trained in developmental pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Boston, and has practiced as a Developmental Pediatrician in India for the past 18 years. Besides her work at Ummeed, she is a consultant at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center, Mumbai.

In 2007, Vibha was honored with the Ashoka Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs.


Anita Limaye

Chief Executive Officer

Anita, as Chief Executive Officer, works in close partnership with Vibha, to scale Ummeed’s impact and to bring the cause of Developmental Disabilities, Early Childhood Development, and inclusion to the mainstream agenda. As a volunteer prior to joining Ummeed, she helped develop standardized operating procedures and mechanisms for measuring impact of Ummeed’s training programs.

Anita completed her MD in General Medicine from Seth GS Medical College/KEM Hospital. She worked for 10 years at Quintiles Transnational (India office) in the field of clinical research, where she held various leadership positions in Learning & Development and in Operations. Anita has been with Ummeed since 2015.


John Thattil

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer, John has been pivotal in building and developing Ummeed’s Shared Services and infrastructure as a firm base to scale Ummeed’s clinical and training services.

John brings with him an experience of 17 years in the service and manufacturing industries, a career that included local and international assignments. He has served as Group Head for Tass Inflight Systems, a Rs. 800 crore specialty goods manufacturing company serving the Airline Industry.

John also has 16 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector including 7.5 years at HelpAge India as the Regional Director (W) and 2.5 years at Habitat for Humanity as the National Director for Resource Development.

John has been with Ummeed since 2011.


Dr. Ashwini Vaishampayan

Director, Early Childhood Development & Disability Programs

As Director of Early Childhood Development and Disability (eCDD) programs, Ashwini leads a team that trains community based workers to monitor and promote early childhood development, early identification and mitigation of risk factors that can impact development in low resource settings. She is passionate about resource conservation and optimal utilization, as well as about teaching, research and clinical work, and is able to blend these together in her current role.

Ashwini taught and practiced pediatric Occupational Therapy with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for 15 years, before completing a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. Her pediatric practice in Los Angeles over 4 years (before joining Ummeed) focused on developmental disabilities, specifically autism spectrum disorder, in different contexts such as home, clinic, and schools.

Ashwini has been with Ummeed since 2014.


Jehanzeb Baldiwala

Head, Training Services & Director, Mental Health Services

Jehanzeb leads Ummeed’s Training vertical. She hopes to grow Ummeed’s Training Center into a center of influence for child development and disability by developing a portfolio of training programs that can be delivered across diverse audiences including parents, teachers, professionals and community workers.

Jehanzeb heads the Mental Health Services team at Ummeed. She was instrumental in developing a year-long Mental Health Training Program (MHTP) in collaboration with Narrative Practices Adelaide and Re-authoring Teaching, Vermont. She and her team have developed and implemented a first-of-its-kind training program for community workers to use narrative ideas and practices in providing mental health support in their communities, as well as shorter trainings for the use of narrative practices in diverse contexts across India.

Jehanzeb has a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Mumbai and has served as Director of Family Support and Social Rehabilitation Services at the North East Community Center, for MH/MR, Philadelphia, USA.

Jehanzeb has been with Ummeed since 2004.


Dr. Koyeli Sengupta

Director, Autism Intervention Services & Head, Research

Koyeli is the Director of Autism Intervention Services at Ummeed. She aims to build a menu of clinical services at Ummeed that will cater to the wide range of autism related difficulties across childhood and adolescence and to build capacity in the community to provide evidence-based, child-directed, family-centered and comprehensive autism care to children and families.

Koyeli has been instrumental in growing Ummeed’s autism services into a range of clinical services and training programs for parents and professionals, including UPPA - a unique parent mediated program culturally adapted from the evidence based Project ImPACT, running since the last 6 years. In 2016, she led the development and implementation of AITP (Autism Intervention Training Program) – a one of its kind training program in India for professionals working with children with autism.

Koyeli is a senior member of Ummeed’s Developmental Pediatrics team. She also provides leadership to Ummeed’s Research vertical and mentors the Speech and Remedial services teams.

Koyeli is a Developmental Pediatrician with a post-graduate degree in Pediatrics and Master’s in Clinical Psychology (Eastern Illinois University, USA). She is a member of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) and a Resource member of Forum for Autism (FFA).

Koyeli has been with Ummeed since 2009.


Pervez Daver

Head, Information and Technology

Pervez leads Ummeed’s information & technology services team. He is confident that using IT will deliver solutions that can record, improve and scale the outcomes of Ummeed’s services.

Pervez was Ummeed’s Chief Operating Officer from 2008 to 2011 and has since contributed significantly to the design and development of Ummeed’s Early Childhood Development and Disability (eCDD) programs.

An IIT and IIM-A alumnus, his 28-year career has alternated between working for the IT and Social sectors.

Pervez has been with Ummeed since 2008.


Dr. Roopa Srinivasan

Director, Developmental Pediatrics & Head, Clinical Services

Roopa heads Ummeed’s Clinical Services vertical. She aims to develop sustainable models of care delivery that are evidence-based and outcome-oriented for children with developmental disabilities. Roopa also leads the Developmental Pediatrics, Occupational Therapy and Social Work teams.

Roopa is the coordinator of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics accredited Fellowship program in Developmental Pediatrics at Ummeed. She was the India Project Director of an NIH-funded 5-year 4-country collaborative research project for the development and testing of the International Guide to Monitor Child Development in low and middle income countries. She is also a consultant at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center, Mumbai.

Roopa is a Developmental Pediatrician by training. After completing her postgraduation in Pediatrics, she did her Fellowship in Developmental Pediatrics at Christian Medical College, Vellore.

Roopa has been with Ummeed since 2005.


Shamin Mehrotra

Director, School Outreach & Senior Counselor

Shamin has played a key role in conceptualizing, building and supervising the School Outreach team at Ummeed. Her vision is to assist schools in developing inclusive environments, in order to create “safe spaces” that support children reach their maximum learning potential in both academic and social arenas.

Shamin is a senior counselor and feels passionately about working with children with disabilities (and their families), and providing them with ongoing mental health and counseling support to enable their overall journey in a positive direction. As an early and integral member of Ummeed’s Mental Health Team, she played a significant role in developing, designing and delivering the Mental Health Training Program.

Shamin has a Master’s degree (MA) in Applied Psychology from the University of Mumbai and a Master’s degree (MSED) in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania.

Shamin has been with Ummeed since 2003.

Ummeed believes in leveraging the resources of other organizations to reach out to children and families. Many wonderful organizations have contributed to Ummeed's learning and have benefited from Ummeed’s training programs. Ummeed has also collaborated with organizations on both research projects and advocacy initiatives in the field of early child development and disability.

Aangan Trust

Action for Autism

Akanksha Foundation

Ambuja Cement Foundation

Anandwan

Ankara University

Arpan

Asha Daan

Autism Care Nepal Society

Boston Children’s Hospital

Broadleaf Darjeeling

Central Society for Education of the Deaf

Doorstep School

EAR Education and Audiology Research

Forbes Marshall

Forum for Autism

Fragile X Society of India

Gateway School

Indian Academy of Pediatrics

Jai Vakeel

Latika Roy Foundation

Muktangan

Mumbai Mobile Creches

Narrative Practices, Adelaide

Plan International

Re-authoring Teaching, Vermont

Sahyog Chehak Trust

Santosh Institute for Mentally Challenged Children

Setco Foundation

Sethu

Snehalaya

Sunshine School

Tara Mobile Creches

Teach For India

The Anchorage

The Orchid School (Pune)

Yale University, Dept. of Pediatrics

Ashish Karamchandani

Chairman of the Board and Founder

Ashish is the Founder, Chairman and shareholder of Ummeed Child Development Center. He started Ummeed with his wife Dr. Vibha Krishnamurthy who heads the organization as Executive Director. Ummeed was incorporated in August 2001 and started its operations from 5th November 2001. Ashish is an active member on the Board and has been providing operational guidance to the organization and steering fund raising activities.

Ashish is currently the Managing Director at FSG, to which he has brought 20 years of experience across strategy consulting and global development, and co-leads the Inclusive Markets approach area at FSG. Ashish focuses on using market-based solutions to drive sustainable social change. His emphasis is on multi-year programs which seek to build and scale inclusive business models to address sector specific development challenges. He is currently co-leading a program to improve the quality of affordable early childhood education in urban India. Ashish is also initiating a project to “Understanding the Low Income Urban Indian Household”. Ashish has a PhD from Stanford University, M.A. from University of California, Berkeley, and B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.


Arun Jethmalani

Board Member

Arun has been on the Ummeed Board from August 2001. With his rich experience, Arun has been providing invaluable support to Ummeed’s operations right from its inception.

Arun Jethmalani is the founder and CEO of ValueNotes, which provides business intelligence to a variety of clients. His nearly 30-year working career spans IT services outsourcing, management consulting, market research, equity research, competitive intelligence and web publishing.

Prior to starting ValueNotes, he ran an equity research and advisory service, evaluating investment opportunities for a variety of clients. He also worked closely with several technology start-ups in an advisory role. This was preceded by a stint in management consulting with Business Consulting Group (now Avalon), where Arun worked with some of India’s largest corporations in devising market entry strategies, project financing, and feasibility studies. Arun started his career with Tata Unisys in Mumbai where he handled marketing support for the finance and banking group. As part of his assignment, he spent a year with Unisys in Atlanta, working on software assignments for international clients, primarily in the banking sector.

Arun has been extensively published in leading business journals. His weekly investment column – ‘Value for Money’ – published in the Sunday Economic Times, ran for almost ten years. He is a regular speaker at competitive intelligence, outsourcing, technology, Internet, and finance events. Arun is the founder and current chairman of the SCIP (India) Chapter. He graduated with a B. Tech. from IIT Bombay and an M.S. from Duke University, NC, USA.


Shaheen Mistri

Board Member

Shaheen was appointed on the Board of Ummeed in April 2004. She has been invaluable in guiding Ummeed through the years to make its services more effective for children with special needs.

Shaheen is currently the CEO of Teach For India, and serves as one of its founding board members.

She has earned global recognition for her dedication and commitment towards the fight for educational equality. Shaheen has used her conviction and belief to motivate college students and working professionals to join the Teach For India movement and devote two years of their lives to eliminate educational inequity in India. Along with five colleagues, Shaheen launched Teach For India in 2008, after which the organization has recruited almost 1,700 teaching Fellows till date for its two-year teaching Fellowship.

Shaheen founded the first Akanksha Center in 1989, enrolling 15 children and employing college friends as volunteers. It eventually evolved into the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit education project that provides after-school tutoring to children from low-income. The centers and schools are in Mumbai and Pune. The program has developed a hands-on curriculum that includes art, theatre, values, civic responsibility, reading, math, and English. Over the past 25 years, the Akanksha Foundation has expanded from serving 15 children in one center to almost 4,500 children in 51 centers and 16 schools in Mumbai and Pune.

Shaheen is an Ashoka Fellow (2001), a Global Leader for Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum (2002), and an Asia Society 21 Leader (2006). Shaheen also serves on the board of The Thermax Social Initiatives Foundation, The Akanksha Foundation, The Indian School Leaders Institute, and Design For Change, and is an advisor to the Latika Roy Foundation. She also serves as a committee member for National Council for Teacher Education. Shaheen has a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Manchester, England.


Merry Barua

Board Member

Merry has been on the Ummeed Board from April 2004. As an individual who has pioneered some of the most effective care for children with Autism, Merry has been a very valuable resource person to Ummeed to effectively help service children with developmental disabilities.

Merry Barua is the Founder and Director of Action for Autism, which includes a school for Autistic children, an institution for training professionals and an innovative mother-child program. She is also the Founder and Editor of the Autism News.

Merry serves on the boards of a number of organizations including the National Trust and World Autism Organization, and is a member of multiple committees of the Rehabilitation Council of India. She has a Bachelors and Masters from University of Calcutta, has trained in the TEACCH Approach and at the Option Institute, USA and is an Ashoka Fellow.


Ujwal Thakar

Board Member

Ujwal Thakar joined the Ummeed Board in August 2005. Ujwal is an active member on the Board and plays a significant advisory role to the organization.

Ujwal Thakar has rich and varied experience spanning the banking financial industry and the development sector in India. He is considered a doyen of retail banking in India and also one of the leaders of the movement of professionals into the social space in India.

Ujwal was the CEO of Pratham, India’s largest NGO in the elementary education space for six years and later the CEO of GiveIndia which is one of India’s web based philanthropy platform. Ujwal is currently Adviser to PricewaterhouseCoopers in their BFSI (banking, insurance, and financial services industry) practice, where he brings 28 years of banking Industry experience across nationalized, private sector and foreign banks in India. He has been the country head for the retail banking business in Standard Chartered Bank and BNP Paribas. Ujwal is also on the Board of Kaivalya Education Foundation and on the advisory board of Dignity Foundation.


Rajnish Dhall

Board Member

Rajnish Dhall was appointed to the Board in June 2010 as Alternate Director. He was later appointed as a Director on the Board at its AGM in September 2015. Rajnish is a shareholder of Ummeed, an active member on the Board, and plays a significant role in supporting its activities.

Rajnish is the Founder and CEO of Micro Housing Finance Corporation Mumbai, India. In 2008, he set up Micro Housing Finance Corporation, an organization dedicated to providing housing loans to urban low income families - especially those from the informal sector - who are excluded by the mainstream financial system.

Rajnish completed his P.G.D.M from IIM (Ahmedabad), after which he worked with American Express Bank in a variety of roles and locations (Mumbai, Singapore, London) for 15 years. He left the Bank as a Senior Director in 2006 and returned to Mumbai to work in the social sector and initially joined Aangan, looking after its financial, administrative, fundraising, legal and accountancy matters. He is also on the Justice Dhanuka court appointed committee to look into the infrastructure of Mumbai municipal schools.