To keep our programs running, AIC relies on a core group of dedicated professionals both at the onsite level (including our hardworking volunteers) as well as a global volunteer board of directors.

On-site Team

Tarun Joshi Executive Director, Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC) 

Tarun, joined AIC family in 2018. An engineer by qualification and experience of over 10 years with non-profits like Teach for India, Mentor Together, India School Leadership institute and Save the Children India. He started his journey as a teacher and taught 3rd and 4th grade for 2 years and then moved on to be a part of leadership team with other NGOs. He has worked in the areas of curriculum design, teacher training, program operations and building program strategy.

Megha Thapa Associate Director, Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC)

Megha joined AIC in 2018. She  is a development professional and posses 5 years of practical experience in program and project management.
Megha holds a MBA degree in rural development and has worked for a grass root level not-for-profit organization Aarohi, for 5 years. At Aarohi, she led the education and health related initiatives of a project based in Almora district in Uttarakhand.

 Ritu Agrawal Partnership Manager, Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC)

Ritu joined the AIC family in 2018. She is an economics graduate with 8 years of experience in the finance and non profit sector. Hence I decided to make my career in the development sector and joined a non-profit which helped mentor students. Since then I have contributed in various capacities to various programs to guide and empower children.

maria Maria Charles Director, Ashraya Initiative for Children (AIC)

Maria heads the Advancement Office at UWC Mahindra College in Pune, which is the high school where the idea for AIC was first conceived. Her interest in AIC dates back to 2004 during visits in the earliest stages of setting up of the Residential Program. More recently she has been working to strengthen ties between AIC and UWC.

Standing (L-R) Maria Chatterjee Roy, Education Coordinator, Rayeesa Salam Shaikh, Teacher, Farah Yasmin, Teacher, Sujata Apte, Teacher, Sunitha Menon, Teacher, Sweety Gupta, Teacher, Tarun Joshi, Executive Director, Manju, Program Coordinator, Khan Gulafsha, Teacher, Shweta Punwatkar, Teacher, Kunal Deshmukh, Computer Teacher, Chhaya Punwatkar, Caregiver, Rajni Gogawale, Health Coordinator, Lakshmi Waghri, Asha Worker, Rekha Lashakre, Caregiver, Parinaz Pestonji, Teacher, Swati Gaikwad, Teacher, Vrushali Tawhare, Accountant, Suchitra Memane, Counsellor, Arti Nigade, Teacher, Ujwala Kulkarni, Teacher, Bhanu Gadvi, Caregiver, Jignyasa Shah, Pre Primary Head.

AIC’s strong on-site administrative team ensures that all programs function in a highly organized manner. This team understands that a holistic approach works best for success and provides necessary administrative and supervisory support to on-site staff members as well as feedback and updates to the international team.
AIC’s teaching staff, the lifeline of the Education Outreach Program, is a highly motivated group that teaches AIC’s pre-primary school students and also provides daily tuition support (English and Marathi) to students in grades 1 to 10.

International Board of Directors

Liz Sholtys

Director of Programming & Grants, Co-Founder

After studying in Pune, India for two years at an international high school, Liz co-founded the Ashraya Initiative for Children in 2004 and spent much of the next seven years in Pune helping to establish AIC’s programs. Liz now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she divides her time chasing after her two young children and working on AIC projects. (read more about Liz…)

Julia Neubauer-Babu

Director of Finances & HR, Co-Founder

Julia Neubauer-Babu is one of the co-founders of the Ashraya Initiative for Children. She has served in multiple roles since the organization’s early days, including CFO, Head of Fundraising, Branch Manager and On-Site Director in India. Julia currently lives in Zurich with her family & dedicates her time to recruiting volunteers, building donor relationships & fundraising. (read more about Julia…)

Judith Eckl

Director of European Development and Operations, 

Judith is an architect and currently lives and works in Austria. After spending one year in Norway, she decided to go to India to volunteer at AIC. Judith is now the President of AIC Austria and other then her work as a Director of Development and Operations is working on many design-related and marketing tasks.