Video Volunteers’ Staff
Stalin K., Managing Trustee, Video Volunteers India
Stalin K. is a documentary filmmaker, media trainer and human rights activist from Gujarat, India. Stalin has directed 15 documentaries and has won several international awards for his films. He has produced six community radio programs, designed more than 20 rights-based campaigns and conducted over 300 trainings in film making and participatory video, street theatre, radio production, and development communications. As an activist, he has been deeply involved in the relief efforts of the 2002 Gujarat riots, and of the Kutch earthquake of 2001, during which time he helped to create a community radio program that was instrumental in delivering information to the victims.
Stalin was the Convener of the Community Radio Forum-India until 2009 and was one of the core group that drafted the legislation that made community radio legal in India. His film work on the issue of untouchability has helped bring international attention to Dalit issues, most notably his 1996 film Lesser Humans on manual scavenging, and his feature-length 2007 film IndiaUntouched, winner of the Mumbai International Film Festival. This film surveys the existence of untouchability across 8 states, four religions and all social classes in India. He teaches communications, film and grassroots activism at a number of the most senior institutes in India and has lectured at Berkeley, Stanford and NYU, among other institutions, and also advises foundations and NGOs on their communications and participatory media strategies. One of his greatest passions is training rural men and women in leadership and in expressing themselves powerfully, and he spends as much time as possible in the field, working directly with communities. Until 2008 he ran Drishti Media in Ahmedabad, an organization he co-founded at the age of 23. You can read his personal blog here
Jessica Mayberry, Founding Director
Jessica Mayberry founded Video Volunteers after spending a year training rural Indian women in filmmaking as a W.J. Clinton Fellow of the American India Foundation. Jessica is a TED Fellow and a Fellow of Echoing Green, an organization that invests in social entrepreneurs with high-impact solutions. In 2009 she was recognized as an Architect of the Future by the Waldzell Institute of Austria, and in 2010, as an Outstanding Young Person by the Junior Chamber International Osaka. In 2011, she was one of the top fifty people shortlisted for the Grinnell College Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize, out of over 1000 applicants from 66 countries. Under her leadership VV has won numerous awards, including the Knight News Challenge, the most competitive award for innovations in news and information, the NYU-Stern Business School Business Plan competition, a Tech Award, a Development Gateway Awards shortlist, and a shortlist for the King Baudouin (of Belgium) Foundation International Development Prize.
Prior to starting Video Volunteers, Jessica worked in television in New York at Court TV, the Fox News Channel, and CNN. She has served on the board of Free the Children, the world’s largest organization of “Children Helping Children” and on the Advisory Council of Counterpart International. She holds a degree in Modern History and Modern Languages from Oxford University, from which she graduated in 1999.
Manish Kumar, Program Manager & Principal Trainer
Manish’s expertise is in documentary film-making and community video training. In his four years with Video Volunteers he has trained more than 200 community people to make films and use media to create awareness in their communities. Prior to coming to Video Volunteers, Manish served as a Program Associate at Community Enterprise Forum International.
Manish interned at Doordarshan News, where he gained experience with mainstream media. He has directed the film, “Bahin Tonye Kahah Jathis,” which focuses on the exploitation and trafficking of Tribal girls to Delhi for domestic work. Manish has a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Communication from the Mass Communication Research Center at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi and a degree in mass communication from Bharti Vidya Bhava, in New Delhi.
Dina Madhani, Partnerships Director
Dina Madhani is the Development and Partnerships Director for Video Volunteers. Based in New York, Dina is focused on building awareness for Video Volunteers’ mission through partnerships with media organizations. She also collaborates on marketing, strategy and fundraising efforts.
Previously Dina was the Marketing Director for MTV & VH1′s Digital Channels at MTV Networks where she led the brand marketing strategy and partnerships for 8 channels. Dina received her MBA in Marketing and Management from NYU Stern and her BA in International Relations from Tufts University.
Shobha R., Strategic Manager
Shobha is a development professional with around ten years of work experience. She has a masters in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. She started off her career working with primitive tribal groups in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.She then worked with Oxfam in the tsunami disaster response and rehabilitation programmes for four years and subsequently in the gender justice programme in west India for two years. Among her varied interests, she would also like to build on her understanding of issues related to marginalized groups- especially vulnerability of forest dependent tribal groups leading to forced displacement and its gendered dimensions. She is also passionate about working towards community owned and community led processes for their own empowerment.
Sahana Bhattacharya, Program Manager
Sahana Bhattacharya is a documentary filmmaker, engaged to the cause of diverse community issues. She studied Linguistics and French language in Kolkata and later worked as a research faculty with Asiatic society on the documentation of technology of wooden bullock cart wheel. She made a couple of documentary films on indigenous practices and communities such as cart wheel makers, Chow mask makers, Gutipua dancers, midwifery etc.
Her film project « Fables of Birth » has been awarded «Brouillon d’un rêve» by SCAM (Civil Society of Art and Multimedia of France) on 2004 selection. She has also directed a film on junior artists of Bollywood titled “Extras, the identity of politics” and experienced the mainstream media thoroughly in Mumbai and France.
Aljai Singh, Executive Producer
Aljai Singh has been producing and developing content for the Indian Television Industry for nine years, starting with India’s first ever daily soap (Shanti) moving on to ad films and later programming for independent shows (Road Show, MTV-U etc), co-producing Auto India Show for BITV, and finally with Headlines Today, producing promos and specials. She worked with WPSI ,Delhi as a program co-coordinator and at ICT, Kodaikanal, a school for village children and vocation center developing Eco-products by local women. She ran a small cafe in Manali. She plays and mixes live video (real time) to live music. She is a Reconnective Healing Practitioner.
Her happiest job so far has been as a single mother to two children.
Siddharth Pillai, Communications Manager
Siddharth worked for around five years as the Joint Secretary of Bangalore Film Society where he was involved in the curation and exhibition of motion pictures and documentaries for educational purposes. During that time, he curated a package titled ‘cinema of resistance’ for the World Social Forum 2007 in Nairobi. He also worked in several capacities for Voices from the Waters, an international environmental travelling film festival. In 2008, he became the associate editor for Deep Focus Film Quarterly, a serious cinema journal. As a film critic he was selected for the Berlinale talent campus in 2009 and also managed to write a few articles for the local newspapers. In 2010, he briefly held the post of Treasurer for the Federation of Film Societies in India but that didn’t go too well. He blogs infrequently at passionforcinema.com and for the South Asian Spaces Blog for FLEFF, Ithaca College, New York.
Tania Devaiah, Impact Manager
Nature lover and adventure junkie by nature and a social worker by profession, Tania has always had a keen interest in issues relating to social justice. Originally from Coorg and brought up in Bangalore, she completed her MA in Social Work from TISS, Mumbai in 2008 with a focus on Criminology and Correctional Justice. She has worked with Prerana in Mumbai and Biocon Foundation in Bangalore.
Tania has hands on experience with issues primarily related to human trafficking and gender, primary health care and education. She loves to travel and enjoys pushing her own boundaries in whatever she does.
Anand Hembrom, Editor- Co-ordinator, IndiaUnheard, Ranchi
Anand is from Kasiadih village, Hazaribag district of Jharkhand. He belongs to Santhal Adivasi community. He completed M A in broadcast journalism from Delhi (NISCORT) and has worked with the group of the people named AKHRA which produce documentary films on various issues and work for the culture and communication for Adivasi community in Jharkhand.
Anand has been involved with the people’s movement to protect land, forest and water which is being taken away by corporates like TATA, CCI, Jindal etc.
Shobha Ajay, Editor- Co-ordinator, IndiaUnheard, Bhilai
Shobha is a filmmaker with over ten years of experience. Her films are from a social anthropological point of view and on diverse issues such as gender relations, the relationship between traditions and politics and health. Her documentary, “Living Memory”,was screened at the Kings College and the Cambridge South Asia Forum. She worked as a research assistant with the Social Anthropology Department at the LSE on a project that worked with women and children in Chhattisgarh.
For the last two years Shobha has been working as a Senior Trainer with the Mayaram Surjan Foundation on project that works with children.
Sarita Biswal, Co-ordinator, IndiaUnheard, Odisha
Sarita was a Community Correspondent from Cuttack District before she became the Odisha co-ordinator for IndiaUnheard. Born in a village where there are no schools that teach past the seventh grade, she had to struggle and persevere to get educated. As a correspondent, she made many powerful videos on the issues of gender discrimination, mining, land grabs, smuggling etc.
She is a local leader and the face of the popular anti-mining campaign in her village. She organized her people in a campaign and successfully ended timber smuggling in her area. After her marriage, she has shifted to Jamshedpur but continues to lead and participate in the grassroots movements in her native village.
Joel D’Souza, Video Trainer & Editor
Joel graduated in commerce from Pune University with a major in Marketing and Advertising. He started his career in media working as copy designer for Wordsmith Communication and later his love and interest in audio took him to Radio Mirchi, Pune where he worked as a Sound Engineer and Promo Designer. Later as a Assistant Producer with CBN multimedia Pvt. Ltd. he worked on shows telecasted on Sony Television Network, India.
Joel also worked with the outreach team of the company in facilitating access to water to deprived communities across India. It was an experience that marked him and later, he joined Video Volunteers as a Video Trainer.
Radhika Gupta, Program Coordinator
Radhika did her Masters in Gender, Culture and Development and wrote her dissertation on changing cultures with a special focus on hippies in India. In University she had the opportunity to work on various audio visual projects which gave her the chance to learn about various cultures and lifestyles. Prior to her degree she worked extensively in animal welfare and taught English to underprivileged children.
She enjoys exploring new places, meeting people, learning about different cultures, reading or writing about dogs and random people for her blog. She hopes to build an animal shelter in the future.
Ayush Kapur, Project Coordinator
Amrita Anand, Program Coordinator
Kayonaaz Kalyanwala, Program Coordinator
Kayonaaz has a Masters in Media and International Development from the University of East Anglia. Her final dissertation examined the efficacy of AIDS awareness posters as tools of development communication. Before returning to India she worked at the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association where she did research on Public Service Broadcasting and the News Media in India as well as helped manage an online film initiative, YourWorldView.
Kayonaaz has now lived in four cities in the world and hopes to add many more to the list.
She loves editing.
Kinshuk holds a degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi as well as a postgraduate diploma in Television & Video Production from the Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune. In Mumbai, he joined Famous Studios as a Line Producer for their Digital Intermediate department working on various Bollywood film projects. Later he has worked with Prana Studios, Mumbai for the Walt Disney Produced Film “Tinker Bell”. As an editor Kinshuk has worked on the ‘Behind the Scene’ documentary for the feature film “Delhi Belly”.
He has also been on the production team for shows like “Ice Road Truckers” and the Amazing Race”. For the past year he has been making corporate and music videos, developing documentary projects along with writing fiction feature length scripts.
Prakash Phondekar, Accounts & Finance
Prakash Phondekar was born in Morjim, Goa. He has spent all his life in and around this idyllic town and he wishes that it would so for the rest of his life. He completed his graduation in Saraswat Vidyalaya, Mapusa and wishes to rejoin his studies in the near future to pursue the much coveted ICWAI. He enjoys a game of football with friends and finds his work with Video Volunteers to be a new and learning experience.
Kanhaiya Maurya, Assistant Video Trainer
Kanhaiya Maurya graduated from Kashi Vidyapeeth completing his Bachelors of Arts in 2010. During college, he underwent training in computers and graphic designing and has been actively teaching courses at a computer institute for the past three years. He also worked part-time, video-editing at Globe Studios, Varanasi.
He volunteers and works with handicapped children at Kiran Shelter, an Ngo and organizes cultural programs. Currently, he is employed as the assistant video trainer in the Saksham Project of Video Volunteers.
Kamini Menon, Consultant
Kamini joined Video Volunteers initially as an intern for the IndiaUnheard program. She has a Masters in Global Communications from the American University of Paris and wrote her final dissertation on ‘the power of story to inculcate social progress’ using a miniseries produced by MTV and a sample of forty urban youth respondents. While doing her Master’s, she focused on NGO communications and film production, and made a documentary entitled ‘The Dying Trades of the Fez Medina’ in Morocco. Prior to that she worked in PR and edited a bi-monthly marketing publication for a recreational center called the Village Market in Nairobi and simultaneously worked for an online national student website.
Mehul Makwana, Program Director, Community Radio
Mehul is based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and manages all community radio programming, training and partnerships for Video Volunteers. He is also the head of all CVU programming in Gujarat.
Mehul is a development media professional with a background in journalism, and a decade of rich experience working in the development sector. He has commendable flair and skill for creative writing, theatre, radio programming, film making, designing advocacy campaigns and training.
Arun Paswan, Office Assistant
Arun is the glue that holds the office together; his tea and infectious laugh keep us going on long days. Originally from Nepal, he has lived in India for nearly 20 years. He speaks Nepali, Gujarati, Hindi and a spot of Konkani.
Arun’s philosophy in life is to keep laughing, no matter how complicated things get.