Keynote Speaker 

Dr. Delia Pop

Born and educated in Romania, Delia is a medical doctor who has committed the last 17 years to working with children in the institutional care system and families at risk of separation.  She has transformed child protection and care systems at national and regional levels through developing a model of change and training materials to support global reform and providing technical assistance and training to government agencies, NGOs and other professionals in Europe and Africa. Dr. Delia Pop is currently the Director of Programmes and Global Advocacy at Hope and Homes for Children in the United Kingdom.

Confirmed Speakers for 3rd BICON

Dr. Kiran Modiis the Founder Managing Trustee of Udayan Care, which ensures Child Rights by providing nurturing family homes to orphaned and abandoned children; higher education to underprivileged girls; and the dignity of self reliance by livelihood trainings and employment opportunities to youth, and inculcates in them the desire to give back to society.

A doctorate in American Literature from IIT Delhi, Dr. Modi is a person of varied experience in several fields, including the media and has also been a founding member of several other trusts, working for the disadvantaged, including children’s theatre and health; as well the academic journal “Instituionalised Children: Explorations and Beyond”, a journal focused on alternative care of children out of home care. Advocating Child Rights, she has been responsible for organizing many trainings, consultations, national and international conferences on alternative care. She has also presented papers in international conferences.

Recipient of many prestigious awards, Dr. Kiran Modi continues to strive towards ensuring the rights of the underprivileged with the same zeal and passion as she started out decades back.

Monisha Nayar Akhtar obtained her Masters and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Later, she trained at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute in adult and child/adolescent analysis. After practicing for over twenty years in Southfield, Michigan, she relocated to suburban Philadelphia and has a practice in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Currently, she is affiliated with the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia where she teaches courses on trauma, object relations and psychoanalytic process. In 2012, she established the Indian Institute of Psychotherapy, New Delhi to offer in-depth workshops on topics related to working therapeutically with children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Akhtar is on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, and supervises psychiatric residents and psychology interns. She is also an adjunct professor at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania and Immaculata University in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

Deepak Gupta is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist associated with Sir Ganga Ram Hospitals, New Delhi. He holds the privilege of being one of the few qualified Child and Adolescent psychiatrists in India. He is the founder of Centre for Child and Adolescent Wellbeing (CCAW), in New Delhi, which is an exclusive multi-specialty child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) centre for children, young people parents and families. Dr. Gupta is also associated with Udayan care since 2004 and heading the mental health programme, since 2008 he started ‘EHSAAS’, a group for psychologist and school counselors which has been creating mental health awareness among mental health professionals associated with schools in Delhi and NCR. He received ‘Distinguished Services Award’ on Doctors’ Day by Delhi Medical association in 2009, ‘President Appreciation Award’ by Delhi Medical association in 2010 and ‘Eminent Medical Person Award’ by Delhi Medical association in 2011. He is also one of the editors of the academic journal ‘Institutionalised Children : Explorations and Beyond’.


Alexandra Murray Harrison, M.D. is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute in Adult and Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Part Time, Harvard Medical School, at the Cambridge Health Alliance, and on the Core Faculty of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Post Graduate Certificate Program at University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Harrison has maintained an active adult and child psychoanalytic and psychiatric private practice and is board certified in both adult and child psychiatry. She has a particular clinical interest in treating preschool children and consulting with their families, and treating children with autistic spectrum disorders. She has developed a parent consultation model and applied the model with numerous families. In the context of consultations with directors of orphanages in Central America and India and a nursing school in India, Dr. Harrison has developed a model for mental health care professionals to volunteer their services to child caregivers in developing countries that involves periodic visits and frequent skype consults in the context of a long-term relationship. She also offers consultation in her blog, supportingchildcaregivers.com. In addition to her clinical work, she has participated in research in various topics, primarily the process of change in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Dr. Harrison has collaborated with colleagues in infant research to develop a clinical model that integrates developmental theory and psychoanalytic theory and to apply the model to various clinical situations. She has co-authored a book on autism and published articles on numerous topics, including body image, play therapy, therapeutic change, and volunteer consultation in developing countries. Dr. Harrison has lectured extensively in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South America.

Dr. Wijemanne, elected as a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. She Developed, planned and organized programmes for the UNICEF Office in Colombo, in collaboration with the Ministries of Health, Education, Child Development and Women’s Affairs, Justice, Labour, Provincial Administration, Planning and Finance. These included Maternal and Child Health, Primary Education, Early Childhood Development, Probation and Child Care, Child Labour, Children in Conflict with the law, and Children affected by the Armed Conflict. Undertook Consultancies for UNICEF in regional Offices in South Asia/Kathmandu, South East Asia/Bangkok, the middle East/Jordan and UNICEF New York. She has been a member of various national and international committees on child rights and protection. Recently she has functioned as Vice Chairperson of the CRC Committee from 2011 to 2015.

Dr. Shantha Sinha has a Ph. D. in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. She is the Founder Secretary Truste of MV Foundation, Andhra Pradesh and has also served as the chairperson of the National Commission for protection of child rights (NCPCR) for two successive terms. She is also the recipient of Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership as well as the Padmashri from the Government of India for meritorious contribution to social work in 1998. Dr. Sinha also serves on the Board and Executive Committee of several institutions and NGO’S and is involved in evaluation of programs and policies, fact finding committees on violation of children’s rights and on the jury of public hearings on children.


Helen Lenga is an Australian psychologist with over 30 years’ experience working in the field of trauma as a Psychotherapist, Trainer, Consultant and Supervisor. She is a clinical consultant with the Lighthouse Institute in Melbourne, Australia and spent 2013 and 2014 involved in trauma training of support services for the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Helen is a lecturer and supervisor at Latrobe University Master of Counseling and Master of Art Therapy courses. She has a particular interest in the interaction of culture, trauma and attachment and regularly presents her work at Australian and International conferences. In September 2014 she presented in New Delhi, India at the Multi Stakeholders’ Consultation on Aftercare Services. She is the Founder and Director of the Gong Shi Project, an international training program for the mental health and wellbeing of adults, young people and children. She frequently travels to China and more recently India, to deliver training, conference presentations and consultations.

Janie Cravens, MSW LCSW, has over 30 years of experience working with children in the field of alternative care. Since the Miracle Foundation was founded in 2000, she has provided guidance to the organization in the areas of child development, attachment, caregiver training, mental health, and best practices in the care of the children.of adults, young people and children. She frequently travels to China and more recently India, to deliver training, conference presentations and consultations.

Laila Khondkar is presently working as Director-Child Rights Governance & Child Protection with Save the Children in Bangladesh.She has also worked with the organization in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Liberia. Her areas of interest include addressing violence against children, alternative care, child marriage, child rights monitoring etc. She has conducted research at Centre for International Development (Harvard University), Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies (South Africa), and Institute of Population and Social Research (Mahidol University, Thailand) on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and access to medicines.She writes regularly on child rights issues.
Hilal Bhat is Technical Advisor to Government of J&K – Child Protection. Bhat is an MSW from University of Kashmir and a Srinagar based Child Protection Practitioner with fifteen years of experience as part of various organisations including UNICEF. 

With community based child protection as one of his strong areas of interest, Bhat has been a passionate advocate for protection services to children in J&K where children’s well-being often becomes the casualty of unrest. Shutdowns in Kashmir and its impact on children has been a concern for Bhat. In his opinion, the unrest incapacitates parents and cripples the system to deliver wellbeing for children. He has been leading a breakthrough program aiming to help children normalise their lives both in normal and challenging times. The program has been  piloted  and is in the process of scale-up across all Districts of Kashmir
Charika Marasinghe is an Attorney-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and a Solicitor of the United Kingdom. In a career spanning 33 years, she served as a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo for 17 years, as Deputy Chairperson and member of the National Child Protection Authority and a trainer and a resource person in the field of human rights, child rights and women’s rights at diverse conferences and institutions, both local and international. She was also responsible for drafting the five-year strategic plan of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights of the University of Colombo. She has authored inter alia the ‘Manual on Child Abuse’ published by the Sri Lanka Police Department, ‘Sri Lanka Law Directory on Protection of Women and Girl Children’ published by the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs, the ‘Child Protection Policy’ of Caritas, Sri Lanka, and ‘A Study on Child Rights Governance Situation in Bangladesh’ published by Save the Children, Bangladesh. She has just finalised the ‘National Guideline on Prevention of Child Abuse and Exploitation against Children of Sri Lanka’ for the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs of Sri Lanka. Dr. Marasinghe has been a volunteer of Sarvodaya for more than four decades and co-founded the Sarvodaya Children’s Groups in 1969, Sarvodaya Legal Services Movement in 1985 and Sarvodaya ‘Ma Sevana’ in 1999, the first home in Sri Lanka for child/teenage mothers who have been victims of rape. As a trustee of the Vishva Niketan International Peace Centre in Sri Lanka, she co-founded the psychospiritual healing programme for Sri Lankan prison inmates, in 1999. She is responsible for the overall management of the Vishva Niketan International Peace Centre and developing and implementing programmes, workshops and dialogues on inner peace and outer peace. She was the co-recipient of the ‘Women and Engaged Buddhism Award’ (2008) of the Buddhist Council of Midwest, USA, for conceiving a counselling programme for Tsunami survivors, and the recipient of ‘An Outstanding Woman in Buddhism Award’ (2009) from Thailand, for exceptional development of wisdom and compassion in the protection of child rights. At the invitation of the Sri Lanka-India Friendship Society, Dr Marasinghe delivered the 2014 Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Oration entitled ‘Reknitting the torn social fabric of the war-affected communities: Whose responsibility? A Gandhian Perspective’ based on her personal experiences as a human rights and child rights lawyer who travelled extensively in the formerly war affected communities of Sri Lanka and met with hundreds of Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala communities directly affected by the war.

Mr. Arun Dohle is Director of the Brussels based NGO Against Child Trafficking which advocates for the correct and original implementation of the UNCRC. Further, he has uncovered numerous adoption scandals and litigated on the rights of children in Malawi, Ethiopia and India. He left his job as financial consultant in 2001 in search of his own mother, which brought him into the field of child rights and inter-country adoptions.

Dr. Nilima Mehta has done extensive work in the area of Child Rights, Child Protection, Family Based Alternative Care like Adoption, Foster Care, and Family Counselling. Dr. Nilima has a Doctorate in Child Adoption in India, and has worked in the field of Child Protection for over forty years. Dr. Nilima is associated with the State and Central Government for Policy Development, Training, Research and Review of National Legislations. Dr. Mehta has been the first Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Mumbai. She has been an Advisor and a Consultant with several organizations like UNICEF, CRY, CHILDLINE, ICSW, ICCW, IAPA, FSC. Dr. Nilima Mehta has been the Chair Professor at the TISS and currently is a Visiting Professor at the SNDT, NN, Mumbai University, and TISS. Dr. Mehta is also currently on the Adoption Advisory Committee of CARA, GOI.

Ms. Chathuri Jayasooriya is an independent psychosocial practitioner and consultant with a specialfocus on children. She has been working in the field of child rights and protection for 10 years, especially on child rights governance and psychosocial wellbeing. Her work primarily involves advocacy, networking, research, training and the provision of psychosocial support especially for children in residential care and towards strengthening families for the de-institutionalization of children. She currently works on assignment with both government and non-government organizations such as the National Child Protection Authority, Save the Children and SOSChildren’s Villages Sri Lanka.

Mr. Ian Anand Forber Pratt works in the field of child protection and child care system reform in India, Sri Lanka and globally.

Ian Anand did his Masters in Social Work from Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social work and is currently the Director of Advocacy for Children’s Emergency Relief International. He is passionate about bridging gaps between policy and practice in the field of child care and protection at global and state levels.

He was a drafting committee member for the first national legislation on foster care in the history of India and is instrumental in sponsorship, family strengthening, aftercare and foster care legislation at state, union territory and national levels in India.

He has worked in countries as part of child protection system reform in Eastern Europe, Africa and throughout South Asia.  He consults for international organisations on strategic planning and
theory-of-change development in the field of family-based alternative care.

 His training specializations include

•          Alternative care practice and theories at global, national and state levels
•          Theories of social change in child welfare care reform,
•          Foster Care in the Indian context,
•          Institutional care transition to non-institutional care.
•          Harms of institutional care,
•          De-institutionalisation,
•          Alternative care approaches for children who have been sexually exploited or trafficked, government engagement approaches for NGOs in alternative care interventions.

Personally, Ian Anand is an international adoptee and specialises in therapy with adoptive families both international and domestic in identity, root search and cultural competence.

He deeply believes in every child’s right to family and helps governments, organizations and individuals be part of social change in demanding rigorous standards for children needing care and protection throughout the world.

Ian Anand, his wife and their son Zane are based in New Delhi.

Ms. Nina P Nayak is a passionate child rights advocate who has worn several hats during her over three decade long career in the child protection sector. Commencing her career with stints in the non-governmental sector, she has served in the government, statutory bodies and an international working group. She continues to contribute to the child rights movement as a member on committees of several government and non-government bodies. An able administrator, law and policy analyst, practitioner and trainer she remains immersed in accelerating the child rights movement in the country.

Presently, Ms Nayak devotes most her time in building capacities of stakeholders in the child protection area who serve in Children’s Commissions, statutory bodies or with NGOs. She has served at the National Commission for Children as a Member and as the Chair of the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. She was also a member of the Sub-Committee on Children for the 11th Plan, National Planning Commission of India and the Sexual Harassment Committee of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and on the Governing Council of the Indian Law Institute.

Ms. Nayak has also served as President,  Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare;  Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, a judicial body under the Juvenile Justice        (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 and Amendment Act 2006;  Secretary, Society for Indian Children’s Welfare, Kolkata; consultant to national and international development agencies and as Secretary of an International Working Group which drafted Guidelines for National and International Adoption and Foster Family Care.

Ms. Nayak is the co-author of a Handbook JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN, which is used nationally as a resource manual on juvenile justice. She has written extensively on child protection issues particularly on monitoring child protection mechanisms and services. Several Children’s Commissions and State governments continue to utilise her services.Widely travelled, she has also had the opportunity to participate and present papers on child protection issues at national and international conferences.

Ms. Mallika Rukminie Samaranayake is the Technical Lead for the Child Protection in Crisis Learning Network in Sri Lanka since its establishment in June 2009. It is affiliated to the CPC Learning Network of the Program on Forced Migration and Health (PFMH), Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, USA. In Sri Lanka it is hosted by the Institute for Participatory Interaction in Development (IPID).


Through the functioning of CPC Learning Network close collaboration was established with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, National Child Protection Authority, Children’s Secretariat and Department of Probation and Child Care services in activities of common interest.


She is the Founder Director / Chairperson of the Institute for Participatory Interaction in Development (IPID) Sri Lanka promoting participatory methodologies in development through training and consultancy services for National, International, Bilateral & UN Agencies with emphasis on Results Based  Monitoring and Evaluation. She has functioned as Team Leader of a large number of research assignments including child focused studies, evaluations and social assessments with consultancy experience over 30 years.


Mallika is a member of the Audit and Evaluation Advisory Committee (AEAC) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  


She is also a Founder member and First President of the Community of Evaluators – South Asia (CoE SA) and represented CoE SA as nominated member of Board Directors of the International Organization for Cooperation in Evaluation (IOCE) and EvalPartner Management Group. She was founder member and Past President of the Sri Lanka Evaluation Association (SLEvA) 2006 – 2009. She was a member of the Core Evaluation Team for Phase 2 of the Paris Declaration Evaluation (PDE) and served as Regional Coordinator – Asia / Pacific and PDE Phase 2 Evaluation Team won the “AEA 2012 Outstanding Evaluation Award”. She served as a member of the International Steering Committee of the Joint MFS II Evaluation Program of NWO, Netherlands (2013 – 2015).  

Ms. Shubha Murthi is presently the Deputy COO for SOS Children’s Villages International and is based at its Asia office in India. She has around 25 years of experience in managing and leading child care programmes across Asia. She has been actively involved in shaping SOS Children’s Villages policies on Alternative Care, Care Guarantee and Child Safeguarding. Shubha is an alumna of Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University and Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.

Apart from many honours and awards, she has been bestowed with highest civilian honour, Queens medal ‘Monisaraphoan level of Mohasereyvaddh’, from the Royal Government of Cambodia for her contribution to the field of child care.

Jeannette Wöllenstein holds an LL.M. in Comparative Law and is currently undertaking an Advanced Master in Children’s rights studies. She has worked for the Costa Rican Embassy in Paris and volunteered for UNICEF, Geneva’s Red Cross and a children’s home in Ecuador. She joined ISS three years ago, where she is now working as a Children’s Rights Officer

Dr. Archina Dhar  has more than 25 yrs. Experience working in the Development Sector and over 16 yrs working with the SOS Children’s Villages of India.  Ph.D. Anthropology (Punjab University, Chandigarh) ; Thesis – “Physical growth and nutritional status of rural children in Kashmir”. M.Sc Physical Anthropology (Panjab University, Chandigarh) ; Dissertation – “Nutritional anthropometric profile of tribal school children in the state of Madhya Pradesh”

Currently she heads the advocacy work of the  SOS Children’s Villages of India and is also the National Focal Person for Child Protection which  involves addressing child safeguarding  concerns, building capacities of stakeholders in keeping children safe. She has been actively engaged in advocating for ‘children without parental care’  and was a member of  following   

Working groups set –up by the WCD Ministry   for policy formulation on children:

  • WCD Ministry   and the planning commission for the 11th five year plan recommendation  of the country. She has been a member of the following working Groups: Member, Working Group on ‘Child Development’ – XIth Five Year Plan Recommendations, Planning Commission Govt. of India, 2006.
  • Member, Sub–group on ‘Child Protection’, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, 2006.
  • Member, Working Group on ‘ Foster Care ’ set-up by  WCD Ministry Government of India 2015

Key Assets are vision partners to the Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care India. The company has have developed foster care and children’s services in 9 countries in Europe, Australasia, North America and Asia, and have supported projects in India since 2013. Gabrielle has over 35 years’ experience in social work and management, including statutory child and family work, and foster care in UK, and developing foster care internationally within diverse legal and cultural settings. 


Vasundhra is Managing Director of Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care (CEAC) and a Board member of IFCO. She is a Ph.D (law) candidate in Northcap University, India. She was Member of Child Welfare Committee in Delhi and dealt with care protection and rehabilitation of children produced before them. While working with children who were without parental care she realized the importance of family in the life of a child and to learn more on this subject she had training in Foster Care in two states in USA. Her Postgraduate Degree in Law coupled with her experience and training in non-institutional family based care helped hundreds of children in family reunification and rehabilitation.  It was her zeal to see every child in family that made her to leave Membership of Child Welfare Committee and start Centre of Excellence in Alternative Care(CEAC) with the support of Key Assets, UK as being their Vision partners.  CEAC on has taken the lead in South Asia region on foster care. She is engaged by Government of Mauritius and Sri Lanka to strengthen foster care in their country through policy making and trainings.  Helping the young adults through their website www.aftercareindia.com is another initiative by CEAC. During her vast career she has worked with sexually abused children and their rehabilitation. She has worked in High Court of Delhi, Employees State Insurance Corporation, Prayas, and Tata Consultancy Services ltd. India.

Ms. Razni Razick is a child guidance counsellor, early childhood educator and social worker, with over 10 years of experience working with children and families in a variety of settings. She has extensive knowledge of offering advice, support, rehabilitation and guidance to clients who have experienced trauma or hardship, In addition to individual case-work experience, she is working with street-bound children, homeless families, orphans and the destitute within statutory frameworks and is currently employed as a counsellor for the refugees in Sri Lanka for the UNHCR program. Razni was recently bestowed the coveted Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) of Sri Lanka award by the Junior Chamber International, in recognition of her contribution towards children, world peace and human rights.

Piratheepa Kumarasamy works for SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka(Jaffna Children’s Village) as sponsorship coordinator who assists both international and local donor services. In this capacity, she serves in the Village Child Admission Committee, and is involved in the development and implementation of the Child Development Plan as well as in family reunifications and family strengthening to prevent institutionalization of children. She is alsoplaying a prominent role at the locational level, supportingthe organization’s advocacy initiatives in Jaffnato promote the effective deinstitutionalization and alternative care of children. She holds a Bachelor of Law inSociology from Central China Normal University.

Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque has recently joined as the UNICEF Representative in India. Prior to joining in July 2017, she was Deputy Director of UNICEF’s Office of Emergency Operations where she played a lead role in the programming and policies for an effective UNICEF response for children in humanitarian crisis.

During this tenure, Yasmin contributed significantly to national policy analysis and strategic planning for maternal health and maternal mortality reduction in context of the human rights based approach.

A national of Bangladesh, Dr. Haque holds a degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) from Dhaka Medical College, Bangladesh (1985), and a Master’s of Science degree in Health Systems Management from London University (2002).

Dr. Haque served as the first UNICEF Representative in South Sudan 2010 to 2013, and from 2007 to 2010 she led the UNICEF Ghana office. As Deputy Representative in Sri Lanka 2004-2007, she was responsible for guiding and coordinating the UNICEF programme of support as well as the emergency response to the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Dr. Haque first joined UNICEF in Bangladesh in 1996 as Project Officer for Health and Nutrition.

Javier Aguilar has 20 years of international experience in the area of child protection, working  mainly for UNICEF and other international organizations in Latin America,  Europe, Middle-East, Africa and South Asia. He has obtained his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Lyon University, France; and his MsC in Public Policy, SOAS, from  University of London

Dr Pamela D M Pieris obtained her doctorate from University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, Colorado USA.  With 30 years of professional involvement in child centered initiatives, a pioneer at Plan International Sri Lanka, then USA, Colombia and Bolivia, working subsequently for similar INGOs.  An independent consultant to several INGOs and LNGOs in the USA, India, UK, and Sri Lanka she has lead three national evaluation research teams, further writing and submitting research-based evaluation studies to donors, drawing conceptual designs for program development, Training Trainers, been Moderator on various academic panels, and Documenter for development education on US initiatives in Non-industrialized countries.  She was adjunct faculty at DU, has published feature articles in nationally circulated newspapers, and collaborative US published book author titled child labor.  Dr Pieris was a Consultant to National Commissioner Department of Probation and Child Care Services Sri Lanka in formulating the Alternative Care of Children National Policy.   A Visiting Lecturer for ten years at Sri Lanka National Institute of Social Development MSW program., students under her guidance have excelled in research-based thesis work. She is fluent in Sinhala, and English with a working knowledge in Spanish. She currently sits on several academic and NGO Committees and Boards.

Fr. Joe Prabu has been a member of the Don Bosco Society for the past 37 years. He has a vast experience working with the young people in difficult circumstances in East Africa for 19 years and 12 consecutive years in India. He has completed Masters in Social Work and P.G. Diploma in Counselling. He has done number of courses in Leadership Training and Psycho Spirituality. Besides he has facilitated and conducted number of Personality Development and Leadership Training programmes to NGO staff members, Youth leaders and animators and presented papers in national and international conferences. He has been the Joint Secretary of Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk and the National Director of Home Link Programme in Delhi for 6 years, Director of Youth Services in Tanzania for 6 years, Refugee Services in Kenya for 4 years and Satellite Centres (Technical Education in Slum Dwellings) for 4 years in Nairobi. He has initiated a Programme for Street and Working Children in Nairobi, Kenya. He was the Associate Director of Development Office in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Currently he is pursuing the doctoral studies on conflict resolution of young at risk through participatory action research.

A qualified professional social worker with over 30 years of experience in providing quality care and support to people who are socially excluded or who are experiencing problems in their lives. Having a consistent track record of working successfully with individuals, families and groups, all within a variety of settings.

Possessing an in-depth understanding of relevant legislation, procedures and techniques required on child protection and community development issues. His work is more recognized in the state and country as a child right programming focusing on implementing various Family based care solutions in the given framework of the country. He works extensively in the issue of Primary education, child protection and promoting alternative forms of child care. A former member of Child Welfare Committee, Juvenile Justice Board and a member and Chairperson in State Commission for protection of Child Rights in the state of Odisha.

Easy going by nature and able to get along with both colleagues and senior managers, Mr. Meher is currently working as a CEO of YCDA.

Ms Kendra Gregson is the Child Protection Regional Advisor for UNICEF South Asia. A child protection practitioner, she has worked predominantly in the areas of social welfare and justice for children. Her focus has been on the development of child protection system understanding, assessment and implementation; connecting policy and practice at micro and macro levels; reviewing institutional structures; social sector budget analysis and, developing protection policy and programmes. She has worked directly in alternative care settings including group homes and psychiatric hospitals in Canada and Argentina, she engaged directly in alternative care reform in the Balkans and Georgia, and managed UNICEF’s roll out of the alternative care guidelines from 2009-2014. Currently she is supporting UNICEF country offices in South Asia in their alternative care programming.

Tarak Dhital is a prominent social activist and child rights defender in Nepal. He is a trained lawyer and child rights advocate with more than 20 years of experience. He worked as General Secretary and Spokesperson of Child Workers In Nepal (CWINNepal) a pioneer child rights organization established in 1987 for a decade. His main areas of work are child rights advocacy. Tarak Dhital currently holds an office as an Executive Director of Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) a statutory body created by the Children’s Act 1992 of Nepal.

 He is a renowned trainer, facilitator and resource person for interagency policy advocacy and for the child-related issues at national level. At grass-roots level, he has worked extensively in social mobilization and child participation. He has attended numerous international and regional conferences, seminars, workshops and dialogues on human rights, child rights and social development issues as a keynote speaker, advisor, and participant.

Involvement in Child Rights issues

Since 2002 he is leading a comprehensive project on children in armed conflict promoting ‘children as zones of peace’ concept. He has served as a member of CRC National Periodic Report Drafting Committee for Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, member of drafting committee for national plan of action for the reintegration of children affected by armed conflict in Nepal with Ministry of Peace & Reconstruction and founder or member of many other Task Forces, Working Groups, and Networks of Government agencies, UN agencies, I/NGOs those are related to child rights.


Research Books and Publications

 He has authored several books.

  • ‘Decade of CRC Ratification: Implementation of Commitments and Achievements’,
  • ‘Children’s Rights and Responsibilities’,
  • ‘Child-Friendly School’,
  • ‘Conflict and Children: Role of Child Protection Committee’,
  • ‘Children as Zone of Peace: A Training Manual’,
  • ‘New Nepal & Child Rights’,
  • ‘Child Rights in New Constitution’ and others.


Services in National and International Organizations

He has served as a consultant for UN agencies, I/NGOs, NGOs on various works related to child rights including formation or amendment of child-related laws, develop plans and policies, design & organize workshops training seminars, publish IEC materials, evaluation and monitoring etc. He has participated and coorganized international campaigns such as Global March against Child Labour and has a range of international exposure with official visiting more than twenty countries of Europe, America and Asia.

A development professional with 19 years of work experience in child rights and child protection. As part of the founding team of CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF), Nicole has rich work experience that included being responsible for organization management, development of organizational strategy, planning, research, documentation, capacity, and designing child protection interventions, advocacy. Nicole was part of the team which achieved the incorporation of CHILDLINE1098 emergency helpline for children into the child protection system of the Government of India. In 2013, Nicole co-founded Leher, a child rights organization, whose focus is on building and strengthening child protection systems, which have a thrust on prevention, at the primary level, through collaboration with communities and governments, and for every child.

Ms Mumtaz Aroos Faleel has specialized in Child Protection since 2006, including conflict affected children and is the Country Manager for Emerge, working exclusively with female survivors of childhood sexual abuse in institutional and aftercare settings.  She designed the Centre for Reintegration, an aftercare program in response to the need of young women aging out of institutional systems, which successfully completed its pilot year. Mumtaz is the Sri Lankan representative of the South Asia Group for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.  She sat for her Masters in Human Rights at the University of Colombo and her research involves the Reintegration of Survivors of Sexual Abuse aging out of Institutional Care.

Ms. Akhter has more than 19 years of working experience in different organization e.g. Save the Children, Bangladesh Planning Commission, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, and UNICEF to create a positive impact on the society and to protect children by establishing the rights of the children including children with disabilities who are extremely vulnerable in terms of poverty, education and different forms of violence. 

Right now she is working as a Senior Manager of Appropriate Care sub-them under Child Protection & Child Rights Governance Sector in Save the Children in Bangladesh. Presently, she is leading an integrated project jointly implemented for protecting children living in the brothel and who’s mothers are sex worker through better education and better health. Under her supervision, this project is providing institutional support to the girls, who’s mother are involved in the sex trade, rescuing the girls from the brothel who are below 18 years old and also providing education and health support as well. As part of child protection system building approach, my thematic position involves giving continuous effort to various advocacy initiatives on policy and legal reform.

She is also the Master Trainer of Positive Discipline and Everyday Parenting (PDEP) which is violence prevention programme. Also obtained training related to child rights, protection, inclusion and disability including Alternative Care, etc. that help her to use her intellect, integrity, sincerity, analysis to develop and implement the programme as well as innovative ideas to speak about the deprived children to establish their rights.

She has completed the Master of Social Science in Economics from Jahangir Nagar University in 1999. I And also completed a Certificate Course on International Perspectives in Participatory Research from Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) International Academy’s in New Delhi. 

She is working as Director, Family Based Care Programme and Advocacy at SOS Children’s Villages Nepal, National Office (serving SOS Children’s Villages Nepal since May, 2007) National Child Protection Focal Person with effect from 2008 to till date. Worked in Civil Society Anti-corruption Project, Pro Public as a Field Project Coordinator-Jhapa, funded by Department for International Development (DFiD) w.e.f. June 26, 2005 to October 31, 2006. Worked in Snowland Distillery Pvt. Ltd. as a Senior Administrative & Procurement Officer with effect from June 15,2002  to August 17,2003. Served as a Teacher with effect from 1990/12/16 to 1997/04/15 at Mechi Secondary Boarding School, Damak. Member in the National Management Committee Member at SOS Children’s Villages Nepal. Executive Member at District Child Welfare Board, Bhaktapur on behalf of SOS Children’s Villages Nepal since 2009 to till date.  Honored by 11 different social organizations on March 8, 2011 (Women’s Day) for the humanitarian contribution. Awarded by The Ministry of Education in the year 2007 for the contribution in educational sector.

Ms. Enakshi Ganguly Thukral is a human rights activist and child rights advocate, researcher and trainer for the past three decades, working on wide-ranging socio-legal issues such as development induced displacement, women in the unorganized sector, reproductive health, child labour, child trafficking, laws and policies governing women and children, education, violence against children and juvenile justice. She is an international trainer on human rights and child rights. Since co-founding HAQ: Centre for Child Rights, in 1998, she has been working in focused manner on children’s rights.

Ms HarshikaEdiriweera is the Assistant Commissioner in the Department of Probation and Child Care Service in Sri Lanka. She has a Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management (Special Degree) from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and a Diploma in Public Management and Administration fromthe Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration, and is currently following a Masters in Public Management at the University of Colombo. She joined the Sri Lanka Administrative Service in 2015 and has been serving the Department of Probation and Child Care Services since then. As a member of the main government organization mandated to create a child sensitive environment where child rights are ensured, currently she is engaged in the planning, implementation and monitoring of programs to ensure child rights, identification of vulnerable children and taking preventive measures to ensure their rights(promote deinstitutionalization and strengthening the child rights ensuring community structures like VCRMCs and Child Clubs are the major programs we are conducting to promote safer environment for children.

Ms. Aneesha Wadhwa is an active Trustee on the Board of Udayan Care, a child rights and higher education focused non-profit based in Delhi, with a footprint in 18 cities in India and chapters in USA, Germany and Australia. She supports Udayan Care in their governance, strategic expansion, resource mobilization and communication management. Her passion lies in research, advocacy and development of mentor-based models of care for young adults leaving child care institutions.

Aneesha personally mentors 20+ Care Leavers as well as manages a group foster care home for 12 young girls out of family care. 

She also works with the Himalayan communities of Uttarakhand through Himjoli, a social enterprise that creates livelihood opportunities through education, trade and entrepreneurship. 

Ms. WAHIDA BANU [SHAPNA], a Founder Member and the Executive Director, Aparajeyo-Bangladesh, a National Child Rights Organization, since 1995 working with disadvantaged children, youth and women in Bangladesh.  At present, the organization is supporting over 350,000, disadvantaged children/youth and 35,000 working mothers and 1500,000 immediate community people to uphold Human Rights and creating child Friendly environment. She has the expertise and has been serving in the field of Social, Human Rights & Development, Institutional Capacity Building and Community Based Management. 

She was the elected Chairperson [2 terms] of STI/AIDS Network of Bangladesh, Chairperson [2 terms]  of Bangladesh Shishu Adhiker Forum-BASF; a national forum of 265 NGOs working to protect and promote child rights; and the Chairperson of Habitat Council Bangladesh-HCB;   She is the member of many committees of relevant ministries of  Bangladesh Government. She is also the member of Child helpline International, ECPAT, End Child Slavery and Children on move –movement. She was the National Coordinator in Bangladesh and a Board Member of the Global March Against Child Labour. She has completed her Masters in Science, Diploma in International Social Development and MBA and specialization on HRM, Capstone Course from the Universities of in Country and abroad.  Ms. WAHIDA BANU SHAPNA is the author of few publications and articles; ‘Children’s Primer’ for the Hard to reach children funded by UNICEF GoB, Guide Book on the CRC and Children act 1974 and   a publication Shishur Ghore Fera the children rehabilitation process. She has been rewarded with many prestigious award:  IVS-USA in 1992:  ‘Shilpacharjay Jainul Abedine’ award-2003 with a gold medal, Begum Rokeya Shining Personality award 2007 as best Women and Child Rights activists in Bangladesh. ‘Fulkoly Foundation’ award-2008 as an extraordinary contribution in HIV/AIDS prevention in Bangladesh.

Ms. Priti Patkar is the Co-founder and Executive Secretary of Prerana, an NGO working to combat human trafficking end intergenerational prostitution, end gender based violence .

From a young age, Priti believed that every person deserves compassion, the right to live with dignity and that a person’s vulnerability should never be exploited.

Originally from Mumbai, Priti obtained her Bachelors in Social Work from Nirmala Niketan College and Masters in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

Priti began visiting the red light district and working with one of Mumbai’s most marginalized groups: prostituted women. She learnt that most had inherited the trade from their mothers growing up in brothels, believing that life in the sex trade was predestined.

In 1986, she along with her husband Dr. Pravin Patkar started work in Kamathipura, the largest Red-Light Area (RLA) in Asia. They saw the plight of the prostituted women and their children, decided to do something about it and thus, Prerana was born.

Prerana has been working for Protection, Rehabilitation and Education of children and women of the RLAs in Kamathipura, Falkland Road and Vashi-Turbhe in Mumbai. Priti opened her first Night Care Center in 1986. Today, she runs four shelters, offering comprehensive childcare 24 hours a day. Children receive meals, health care, education and a safe place to play. Their mothers have access to medical care and vocational training.

Prerana offers alternatives and a chance to break the cycle. Prerana’s work models are being replicated as ‘Best Practice Models’ not only in India but globally. It has received the largest number of landmark orders from the High Court for giving justice to rescued girls. Prerana has garnered international recognition and is one of the leaders of the global Anti-Trafficking Movement.

Priti has supported several social organizations to take up similar programs and has worked in advocating for minimum standards of care and protection in Shelter homes and Child-Care institutions.

Priti  believes, ‘Don’t be indifferent to your surroundings. If you want a better society you have to work towards it. Everyone can contribute in some way and must.’

Ms. Sumnima Tuladhar has extensive experience in child protection issues, child sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation of children, street children, trafficking in women and children, child participation and children in armed conflict. She has conducted and published various researches on the issues of child rights and child protection. As an expert on child protection issues in Nepal, she is engaged in policy advocacy on child rights and conducts awareness programs and trainings to different sections of the society, such as—social workers, health officials, teachers, law enforcing agencies on a regular basis. As a founding member of CWIN-Nepal, Sumnima has been working passionately towards these causes for the past 30 years in various capacities within CWIN. She currently serves as an Executive Director of CWIN-Nepal.

Sumnima is a member of Board of Trustees of ECPAT International representing South Asia, member of AATWIN (Alliance against trafficking in women and children) and Women’s Network for Peace (Shanti Malika). She is also a member of board of Duke of Edinburgh Award (Saksham Yuva), Nepal. Sumnima has worked directly with children and young people for their social reintegration, creative development and social empowerment. She has travelled to different areas of various districts to promote child rights and raise awareness on child protection. Sumnima has a Masters degree in Literature and has received number of trainings on various subjects such as child protection, young people’s participation, conflict transformation, fund raising, psycho-social counseling, etc. from different prominent organisations. She has carried out number of research and studies on different child protection issues such as trafficking, child sexual abuse, commercial sexual exploitation of children, children in conflict, child labour, etc.

A pro-active Development Professional with over 13 years experience on child rights issues. Currently working as Senior Programme Officer, Protection for Child In Need Institute (CINI, she has made significant contribution to ICPS roll out in Jharkhand as well as at the national level. Was a part of the National Working Group to draft Model Foster Care Guidelines for the country (notified in 2015). Owing to her extensive experience of working on child protection issues (especially community and family based care promotion) in Jharkhand she has been on the State Working Group to draft state guidelines on Sponsorship & Foster Care and is also member of District level Sponsorship & Foster Care Approval Committee (SFCAC). Her role has been instrumental in notification of District Level Child Protection Committees at Khunti and Gumla districts of Jharkhand.   

She has also anchored ILO’s Convergence Model Project Against Child Labour in Jharkhand as State Coordinator working through the State Labour Department. Capacity building of government service providers and civil society partners, managing multiple projects and teams and advocacy are her key skills.

Mr. Anuja Bansal is a social sector professional committed to securing the rights of vulnerable children and women and has a vast repertoire of expertise on the same. Having been qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1989, she devoted herself to social development early in her career and has been working in this sector for 20 years. Her diverse and expansive career includes leadership positions in international and national not for-profit organisations like Child Rights and You (CRY), ACCESS Development Services, Bharti Foundation, Oxfam India and now SOS Children’s Villages of India. 

At a time when greater accountability and transparency is demanded of the NGO sector, Anuja’s expertise and work in the areas of strategic planning, strengthening governance, compliance systems, internal processes sound financial management, has helped enhance organisational credibility and capability. She has also built competence in the sector with her ability to recognise, hire, nurture and mentor talent leading to the capacity building of human resources.

Anuja has been leading SOS Children’s Villages of India as its Secretary General since January 2015. This large self-implementing organisation has over 1700 employees with pan India presence at 32 locations in 22 states. Over 25,000 children are receiving holistic care, love and protection through two of its flagship programmes; Family Based Care and Family Strengthening Programme. The education Programme of SOS India is providing quality education and vocational training to over 7000 children and youths.

As head of SOS India, Anuja leads by example and she has been able to steer quite a few innovations resulting in strengthening the organisation. She has been instrumental in initiating technical partnerships with Government Stakeholders to expand the outreach of the organisation to larger number of children in need of care and protection. She is dedicated to ensuring safety and protection of all children under the care of the organisation, while safeguarding their mental and physical wellbeing. She continues to apply her knowledge gained by education and her prior international and national work experiences into leading the strategy, implementation of programmes and the functioning of the India chapter of SOS Children’s Villages with utmost zeal and passion. 

Anuja was awarded the Exceptional Women of Excellence 2017 Award by Women Economic Forum (WEF) in September, 2017.

Mrs. Bharati Ghate is associated with Shishuadhar- ‘For the Child’, an NGO based in Pune, India, for last 30 years. At present she is the Executive Director of the organization. Bharati is committed to protecting child’s right to a nurturing family. She has developed several programs at Shishuadhar for strengthening the families in crisis to enable them to care for their children. This work is spread out in four districts of the state. A unique program to prevent institutionalization of children was developed by her in collaboration with the Child Welfare Committee Pune. She was a member of the Committee formed to draft the State rules of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of children) Act 2015. She was a member of the task force formed by the Department of Women and Child Development, Govt. Of Maharashtra and UNICEF, to formulate the Non-institutional scheme of Bal-Sangopan, a scheme for assisting families for child care, in 1995 and later, to revise it in 2010. She participated in the state level study of implementation of this scheme undertaken by the Department of Women and Child Development and UNICEF Maharashtra. She actively participated in the trainings jointly organized by the Department of Women and Child Development, UNICEF and Shishuadhar for all the NGOs recognized to implement the scheme in the state. In 1995, Bharati led the project undertaken by Shishuadhar, to rehabilitate the children who had lost either or both the parents in the devastating earthquake in Latur and Osmanabad districts in Maharashtra state. The rehabilitation work was carried out by using the approach of Non-institutional, family-based services. Positive outcome of this work highlighted the strength of this approach in the face of a natural disaster. For several years, Bharati’s work in Shishuadhar was focused on promotion and advocacy for In-country adoption of children and helping Indian parents to adopt. During her initial years in the field of social work, Bharati worked in a Child Guidance Clinic in Mumbai, with children having behavior problems, and their parents. Bharati is an alumnus of the Council of International Program for social workers and youth leaders (CIP) and visited USA on Fulbright Scholarship in 1974. This provided her an opportunity to learn from some of the renowned professors at the Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo and visit several organizations engaged in social work in USA. Bharati is a trained social worker. She obtained a post graduate degree, M.A. in social work, form the reputed Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in 1972.

Gawher Nayeem Wahra , Teacher and curriculum developer on child protection related issues at the Institute of Disaster Management and Vulnerability Studies of University of Dhaka. Over 33 years of experience in developing, managing, monitoring and coordinating social sector program at local, regional, national and international level with special focus on protecting and promoting child rights and Disaster Management. Started career with Gonosashtha Kendro (a public health focused National Development Agency)   Worked  as Director of  BRAC . Also worked with Oxfam, Save the Children, ActionAid and Unicef indifferent position and in different countries of South and South East Asia, Middle-East and Africa.

Pioneer in developing the concept of child focused emergency response and risk reduction as well as Child Protection Policy in Bangladesh and other countries. Facilitated the process of developing National and Sub-National cluster on Child protection in emergencies, played key role in building the capacity of different actor on Child Protection issues. Closely worked with refugees of Myanmar in 1991 and also in present crisis.

Editor,Bangladesh Disaster Report (An annual report on the Disaster and Environmental Hazards); Published every year since 1998. Chief -Editor: SPHERE Book (Bangla Version all three edition). Regular contributor and writer of Opinion editorial indifferent newspapers, magazines including Himal.

Mr. Madhav Pradhan is the Chairperson of CWIN-Nepal, the pioneer national child rights organization in Nepal. He is also the Chairperson of the Children as zone of Peace national Campaign (CZOP), and Child Care Homes Network Nepal (CNET-Nepal) and Co-Convener of South Asian Association of Child Helpline (SAACH). He is also a Supervisor Board Members of Child Helpline International (CHI), and Taskforce member on Child Participation of Aflatoun (Child Social and Financial Education). In the past he held position of Governing Board member of the South Asian Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) and Chairperson of NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN). For the past 27 years Madhav has been continuously working on various child protection issues in various capacities within CWIN. He is engaged in policy advocacy, protection of children and in research work.

Ms Aastha Saxena Khatwani is Indian Civil Accounts Officer ICAS, of 1991 batch,presently working as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of WCD. She is married to Mr. Sunil Khatwani, they both have two children.
Before assuming office as Joint Secretary in Ministry of WCD, she was working as Financial Advisor in National Disaster Management Authority, NDMA .

Shri Rakesh Srivastava is a 1981 batch IAS Officer of Rajasthan Cadre. Presently he is working as Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Women & Child Development dealing with various schemes for improving the lives of women and children, including their nutrition, health and security. He has had a rich and varied experience of working both in the State Government and at the Central Government.

Ms. Vandhana Kandhari  is with UNICEF since 2012. She has 20 years of experience of working in the area of child development and child protection in India. She has worked with NGOs and the Government of India. The main areas of her work include alternative care, child labour and children affected by conflict. 

Ms. Sandhyaa Mishra is the Senior Program Manager, focusing on programs that pertain to child development, HIV & AIDS, sexual health, and women’s empowerment. She holds a master’s degree in social work and has been working with underprivileged children in India since 1998. She is a national level trainer and has led numerous adolescents, teachers, and master trainers in life skills education. In her role at Miracle Foundation India, Sandhyaa leads the Program Management team in mentoring and monitoring the children’s homes. Additionally, she conducts Life Skills Education and Housemother Training with children and staff, prepares and mentors newly hired trainers, and is instrumental in scaling the Miracle Foundation method.

For more details, write to bicon@udayancare.org