Staff

US HQ:

Jenny Koleth

Executive Director and Co-Founder: While trekking in the foothills of the Himalayas in Yunnan province, China, Jenny fell in love with the rich culture and stories of the ethnic minority groups of Dali and Lijiang (Yunnan has 51 different ethnic groups!). Since that trip many years back, she’s seized cross-cultural opportunities whenever possible, exploring Tibetan Buddhism, teaching in Afghanistan, and marrying an Indian man. Her professional experience includes 12+ years in the publishing industry. As the ED, she is responsible for the overall strategy and operation of Profugo’s staff, projects, and mission. She is passionate about people finding their “voice.”

Raigan Wheeler

Communications & Marketing Intern: Raigan is an emerging global communications professional with a B.A. in Public Relations from Morgan State University. Currently, she is enrolled in the Globalization and Development Communication graduate program at Temple University. Raigan is passionate and dedicated to creating social change for communities around the world via media campaigns and community programs. Prior to Profugo, she has held intern positions within the communications departments of Baltimore City Department of Social Services and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Raigan’s interests in cultural exploration and world travel led her to partake in two international education opportunities, a Hindi culture/language immersion program in Jaipur, India and a marketing program in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her ultimate goal is to become the Communications Director for USAID. When Raigan is not “changing the world by one PR campaign at a time” she is indulging in DIY spa treatments, foreign films/documentaries, and attending the concerts of her favorite artists.

Tiffany Wang

Program Development & Marketing Intern: Tiffany is currently a senior at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania who is pursuing a degree in sociology.  She is passionate about addressing social injustices in the world through a combination of sociological research and creative marketing campaigns. In the past, Tiffany interned at a marketing start up in SF called Buzzstarter, and has worked on campaigns for various brands such as Yahoo!, Weight Watchers, The Economist, etc. She has also done market research for a company called Numi Organic Tea, which shared a similar altruistic goal with Profugo to help developing communities around the world overcome injustices. Post graduation, she hopes to be working in the marketing industry for a company that is aware of and cares about social problems, and she hopes to make an impact on the world as a marketer. Beyond her passion for marketing and sociology, Tiffany is interested in design and photography, and also has an undying love for dogs, anything food related, reading, and hiking. 

Alison Simerly

Program Development Intern: Alison is a 2015 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where she double majored in Geography and Plan II Honors, with a focus in environmental science. Alison has always been passionate about environmental stewardship on a global scale and exploring the myriad ways in which communities interact locally with their natural environments. Her diverse academic background led her first to Bhutan, where she studied the impact of strict conservation and ecotourism policies on rural Himalayan villages and became interested in sustainable and ethical development practices. After beginning a career in environmental consulting, Alison was invited to participate in a fellowship abroad as a member of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, where she honed her German language skills and gained a better understanding of what it means to work in an international setting with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds. During her fellowship, Alison’s work as a program development intern at a refugee services organization exposed her to the issues faced by refugees and migrants, and the international collaboration required to better their situations. She hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree in International Relations or Development, and in the meantime looks forward to learning about the operation of an international nonprofit with a goal of connecting a developing community to greater opportunity while maintaining its cultural integrity.

 

India Center of Development Field Partner PROFUGO Social Ventures (P) Ltd:

T D Peter

Director, Profugo Social Ventures Private Limited: Having grown up in the rural and rainy environs of God’s own country, Kerala, Peter joined the Civil Services in 1985, and served at various locations across India. After over a decade of experience with a non-profit international agricultural research organization in Hyderabad, he has returned to Wayanad in Kerala to team up with Profugo and the marginalized rural community in Prasanthagiri and Valad, and to help them harness opportunities for a better quality of life, education, health, skills development, and sustainable natural resources management. He oversees and manages the Center of Development (COD) at Valad, and is responsible for planning, supervision, training, business development, operations and administration of various programs, projects and initiatives of Profugo. His other interests include reading, writing, music, and spirituality.

Abhilash V. Thomas

Program Coordinator: Abhilash was born and brought up in Wayanad, Kerala.  Having majored in graduate studies with English from the University of Madras, he went on to earn a Diploma in Small Business Management from National Institute of Technology, Calicut, before signing up with Wayanad Social Service Society as Project Coordinator of Organic Farming and later as Purchase Manager of its Organic Spices Export Division. After a 5-year stint, he served briefly with ING Vysya Life Insurance Company, and then with Ashley Tea Estate as Assistant Manager. His love for English beckoned him to spend five years as a teacher at Al Buraimi Institute of Science and Technology, Oman. Family circumstances brought him back home in Wayanad, and that’s when he joined Profugo COD as Program Coordinator in early 2017. Abhilash helps with planning, launching, monitoring, and reviewing various projects that the COD rolls out from time to time to empower the rural community. He also supervises the Tailoring Unit and ELS Spoken English, besides Accounting and Book-keeping.

Gilgy Peruyaporathu

Operations Coordinator: Gilgy oversees the daily operation of the Center of Development, acts as the in-house handyman, and assists in all official matters. He and his family have a long history of farming.

Mary George

Program Associate: Mary is a daughter of the soil, hailing from Prashanthagiri Village where Profugo first set up its COD. She has, since then, been the king-pin of COD’s Tailoring Unit in her multi-hued capacities and responsibilities as the supervisor, tailoring training instructor, fabric designer and cutting-master, et al., in collaboration with team members and field volunteers.  Other daily chores include management of the production center, book-keeping, quality checking, and dispatching. Mary started her career as a tailor at a local garments production center, then as Tailoring Instructor at a local institute, and later as center supervisor at a readymade nightie production unit run by the District Industrial Development Center.

 

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Friends of Profugo

We’d also like to mention the Friends of Profugo, who are an integral part of our team! They are the many dedicated and passionate volunteers who have helped Profugo become what it is today. They are not only a part of the Profugo community, but we consider them Friends of Profugo. We rely on their support and can’t thank these individuals enough for the commitment they have shown towards Profugo’s mission and making the world a better place. THANK YOU!!!

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