The Team


Madhu Vaishnav – Founder and Executive Director

Madhu headshot

Madhu Vaishnav holds a Master’s Degree in Indian History and Hindi and has completed post graduate studies in community and social welfare at University of California, Berkeley. Madhu has ten years of work experience in civic and social organizations having assisted in many urban slum and village development projects with students from all over the globe. Madhu has also worked as a local program coordinator for Foundation for Sustainable Development, an international nonprofit organization. She has experience working in the areas of microfinance, women’s empowerment, HIV awareness, skills training, community need assessment, sex worker education, and Hindi and English teaching. She strives to empower her local community while connecting Jodhpur with the international humanitarian world.
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Suzanne Blair – Business Consultant and Advisor

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 2.53.43 pmSuzanne Blair is a Business Consultant and Advisor to Internship for Humanitarian Development. She has founded, run and sold several businesses in Australia. Suzanne currently works in developing countries each year for 4 months. She has worked in the Indian sub continent, Africa and Central America.  Her chief working areas of interest are business development, micro enterprise, marketig and microfinance in developing countries. Suzanne holds graduate and post graduate degrees from universities i Australia, Canada and UK. Suzanne lives in Melborne, Australia.

Abigail Singh - Advisor

DSC_0184With experience as an intern herself in a grassroots Indian charity, Abigail is well placed to understand the excitement, frustrations and hesitations of those embarking on an internship to India. She also has many years of experience in the travel industry, specializing in the Indian Subcontinent. She has personally sent hundreds of people to India and is well versed in how to prepare for your travels and what to expect once you’re there. She was in India for one year and was lucky enough to stay with Madhu Vaishnav, the founder of IPHD India. They have formed a lasting friendship which just goes to show how these experiences can truly be life changing! Abigail lives in London, UK.

Megan Harrington – Advisor

IMG_6983Megan Harrington is an Advisor for IPHD. She spent six months in India working with three nonprofit organizations under Madhu Vaishnav’s guidance and has additional experience working in Rwanda, Thailand, and the Dominican Republic while studying international community development. She received a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Northeastern University.

Saheli Women Team

Rukiya Bano – Saheli Center Manager

12698341_1079401198749530_3368781358225146689_oSince joining Saheli as an embroiderer and the center’s manager, Rukiya has become a pivotal part to the center’s dynamic structure. She moved to Bhikamkor from Osian at the age of 16 to live with her husband and has lived there for 12 years. Rukiya lives with her husband and their four daughters. Her husband is the main financial provider for the family, but now that Rukiya works for the center she contributes income. As a Muslim women, Rukiya introduces a completely different aspect to the Saheli women shares insight that none of the other women have experienced (e.g. her non-vegetarian diet). She is often seen laughing or cracking jokes and has been dubbed the “spicy chili” of the center to reflect her firecracker personality.

Girl’s Education Team

Carys Owen – Girls’ Education Advisor 

Carys Owen graduated from the University of Bath in 2012, with a BA from the department of Politics, International Studies and Modern Languages. Most recently Carys has spent three years working in the technology sector with a focus on Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Inclusion. As a qualified teacher with six years’ experience, Carys has a passion for education as an enabler to strengthen social movement in order to drive action and change. Carys has worked with students in Bristol, Cambridge, Cochabamba, Oxford, Paris and Rajasthan as well as with female refugees arriving to the UK to facilitate community cohesion and social integration. Whilst working with IPHD in 2016, Carys launched the Girls´Education Programme for the community of Bhikamkor.

Carys will begin her MA in Intercultural Conflict Management in 2016 and will focus on the notion and impact of a gender-balanced and inclusive approach to conflict prevention and post conflict community regeneration.

Shobha Sawarte – Saheli Center Librarian 

12095114_1012903905399260_5792893786297823664_oShobha Sarwate has been apart of the Saheli Center as a designer for Saheli Designs and has recently taken the job as the amazing librarian for the Saheli Center. At 26 years old, Shobha has raised two children, her son (4) and her daughter Sania (8) in the village where she was born and raised in, Bhikamkor. Shobha holds education in high regard and laments not being able to complete school past the eighth grade. She is now dedicated to seeing both of her children through school, and helping other children with their reading and writing skills.

Marlene Kountz – Library Advisor

biopicMarlene is a student at Northeastern University studying anthropology.  Passionate about women’s rights and education, Marlene completed a 6 month co-op with IPHD in 2015, mainly working on the girl’s education project. 


Jeff White – Rightside Shirts Co-founder (Working Partner)

jeff-profile-pictureJeff White is a social entrepreneur from Boston, MA. With degrees in Finance & Economics from Boston College and experience at Merrill Lynch and Moelis & Co. investment bank, Jeff is driven to leverage his business-oriented background for social good. In addition to working with IPHD, Jeff co-founded the arts non-profit Rightside Shirts to empower kids and raise money for youth art education.

Health Team

Dr. Ravindra Parmar – Health Advisor

IMG_8480Dr Ravindra Parmar is a general medicine practitioner with 20 years of experience working in rural and urban Rajasthan. He completed his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) in 1991 and his Doctor of Medicine in 1995 from SN Medical College Jodhpur. Dr Parmar has invaluable experience working in the Indian health system and dealing with diseases prevalent in rural India. He has worked in Guinea Worm and polio eradication, anemia awareness and treatment and opium addiction. Tuberculosis prevention and management is Dr Parmar’s main interest.

Ryan Loong - General Health Advisor

berkRyan Loong is IPHD’s current Health Affairs Advisor. He received his undergraduate degree in public health from UC Berkeley and his Master of Public Health from UCLA. He was a former public health intern with IPHD during the summer of 2015 who designed and implemented a health scan of Bhikamkor, serving as the basis of IPHD’s current health projects. He currently assists in the development of future health endeavors in Bhikamkor.

Uma Gaddamanugu – Girl’s Health Advisor

ugUma Gaddamanugu is currently a senior Public Health Major with a concentration in Health, Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This past summer, Uma worked on a women’s health survey and menstrual hygiene management project in the Bhikamkor high school as part of IPHD’s Women’s Health Campaign. Her professional interests include reproductive rights, women’s health, interpersonal violence eradication, and global health disparities. This year, Uma is working as a student intern with UNC Hospital’s Beacon Program, a system that provides comprehensive care to patients that have experienced any form of family violence, including child abuse, sexual assault, sex trafficking, and domestic violence. After graduation, Uma hopes to work on a health intervention for vulnerable populations for a few years before going to medical school.