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The Team:

DIGVIJAY SINGH

FOUNDER

Digvijay came to Mandla in 2009, when he joined PRADAN, soon after finishing his MBA in rural management from Xavier’s Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar.  Digvijay has worked on youth employability, women self-help groups, gender and agriculture. He has deep and rich experience in mobilizing people, building institutions and working in villages.

Digvijay grew up in Nainital, attending the tony St. Joseph’s College. He followed it up with a degree in Botany from Hindu College, Delhi University and an MBA from XIMB.  Digvijay is an avid sportsman and has played cricket, football and basketball competitively.

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PRIYA NADKARNI

CO-FOUNDER

Priya first came to Mandla in MP in December 2012 to work on a consulting engagement to help PRADAN  design their employability program. Soon, she realized that enhancing the employability of youth was a band-aid approach. She quit in 2014 to start working with children in a more fundamental way.  Mrida Education and Welfare Society started in 2016. The Riverside Natural School has been an experimental ground for  all our work, be it the sports programs or the robotics-cum-tinkering programs.

Priya grew up in Mumbai, studying Economics and Statistics at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Thereafter, she attended the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai and worked with Business Standard, covering capital markets in Mumbai. She completed her MBA in finance from the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad and worked with Unitus Capital in Bangalore till 2012 as investment banking analyst.

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CHANDRA SHEKHAR

CO-FOUNDER

Chandra Shekhar came to Mandla in 2013 when he joined PRADAN, after graduating from  his engineering degree. Since then he has worked extensively with youth, children, sports and self-help groups and travelled to different parts of rural India observing the opportunities to introduce technology and sports to come up with better livelihood practices and solve problems in the rural community. He joined Mrida in July 2017 and heads our Sports program and Community Design Laboratory program. He is a great teacher and has mentored and taught many young people in the region.

Chandra Shekhar comes from the I.O.C.L. township of Digboi in Assam and holds a B.Tech in Electronics & Communication Engineering from the Dibrugarh University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Assam and loves to play and tinker with children  with a critical thinking and  problem solving approach going from  familiar to unfamiliar.

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SATYAJIT SEN

PROGRAM HEAD

(TINKERING & ROBOTICS)

Satyajit joined Mrida in August 2018 from Sirena Technologies in Bangalore, where he built robots that would serve consumer needs. At Mrida, Satyajit heads the tinkering and robotics program that we have piloted in our school and are introducing in 15 Government middle-cum-high schools beginning September 2018.He has expertise in Electronics and Robotics. 

Satyajit finished his engineering degree from Rungta College of Engineering and Technology Bhilai and did an M.Tech from VELTech University(Chennai).

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KAILASH RAJ BHATTA

SOCIALOGIST/FOOTBALL MANAGER

KAILASH RAJ BHATTA(Sociologist/Football Manager)

Kailash joined Mrida in September,2018. He has worked for not for profit organisations in various capacities in Nepal.
He has an undergraduate degree in English Literature from St Xavier's College,Kathmandu and a Master's  degree in Sociology from Thribhuvan University,Kathmandu. He is passionate about football and believes that its development in rural areas will help youngsters, especially girls, in bringing about changes in their lives.

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The founding team felt that employability was only a band-aid solution to the problems that afflicted the region. What was needed was a solution that would fundamentally transform the life trajectory of the children and youth and therefore they started Mrida to work on wholistic education.

Where we work

 Mohgaon is roughly 140 km from the nearest railway station and airport at Jabalpur.

The literacy rate of Mohgaon block, stands at ~61.1% as per the 2011 Census. Mandla is one of the most backward districts in India, ranking 250 in a study conducted in 2006. It is a tribal district, inhabited by Gond and Baiga tribes and is located on the border of MP and Chattisgarh. Since we have worked here in the past, the community is supportive of our work and approached us to start the school in Mohgaon.

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The total number of children in Mohgaon block in the age group of 0-6 years is 12,034. There are a total of 248 Government and private unaided schools in Mohgaon with 94% of them being Government schools. Education outcomes are poor as we have learnt from our work with tribal youth.