In 2010, I worked and lived at a girls’ home in U.P., India and learned of limitations girls face during menstruation, such as dietary restrictions or cramps so debilitating that they missed school. I continued to research the nuanced challenges women face during menstruation. In 2011, Pasand was formed in a social entrepreneurship class and slowly evolved into its present form. It wasn’t until January when we faced a herculean task of conducting a day-long program for 750 girls on two days’ notice that we looked at each other and said “we can do this.” Seeing the girls’ questions, confusion, and fear – at a private school where girls “should have” access to information –we knew we had to.
Our Bangalore-based team consists of 5 full-time staff and 4 part-time staff, as well as numerous volunteers. This includes Aunna Wilson, the Executive Director, as well as a program manager, two program executives, and an intern. Our educational background includes masters in social work and women’s studies, with undergraduate degrees in Economics, Sociology, Psychology, Social Work, and more, and our team has joined us from entities including Facebook, Enfold, Dream a Dream, and the Melton Foundation. We are fluent in six languages, and we have an ever-growing team of part-time facilitators. Deepali Bhardwaj will be joining us as Associate Director, coming from Pratham where she built their women’s entrepreneurship program from the ground-up and oversees a team of 90 individuals across the country. We also have a U.S. Board of Directors for our U.S. entity and an Indian Board of Trustees for our Indian entity. Both Boards have extraordinary experience in the field of adolescent health, healthcare, law, monitoring and evaluation, accounting, educational products, and the South Indian school network. We plan to expand our core team to approximately 12 members over the next two years. As we grow, our core team will be divided into three categories: business development, content development, and movement building (training, quality control, and awareness). In addition to the core team we will leverage highly-skilled part time facilitators, volunteers and launch a fellowship program to create a rotational system of energetic, passionate, and knowledge facilitators to help meet ever-growing demand.