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.”

Sami Rovins

Program Development & Grants Intern: Sami graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 with a degree in South Asia Studies. She is passionate about women’s empowerment in India, and social justice activism in the United States. Sami previously served as the Development Coordinator with the Coalition for Asian American Children + Families in New York City, and is excited to continue her engagement with Indian communities in Philadelphia. She lives with her pit bull, Zeldee, and enjoys film photography, visiting museums, and collecting antiques.

Catherine Pilling

Program Development & Grants Intern: Catherine is a senior at West Chester University of Pennsylvania pursuing a degree in sociology. She is a member of the International Sociology Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Delta, which highlights the importance of scholarship, volunteer work, and leadership both in school and within the community. In the past she has volunteered for the Ronald McDonald Camp which is dedicated to providing children and siblings of children with cancer the opportunity to enjoy a full week of summer camp activities in the Pocono Mountains region. Following graduation she is hoping to pursue a career in the non-profit sector to bring about social change at home and abroad and ultimately further her education, possibly in the areas of public health or social work.  In her spare time, Catherine is an avid reader and also enjoys watching movies and writing.

Sanjana Bhansali

Social Media & Program Development Intern: Sanjana is a senior at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia, pursuing a double degree in International Studies and Psychology. She is the president of the South Asian Students on campus. In the past she has worked at marketing firms like Trikaya Grey and ColorCraft studios; and also worked with an organization called Shrujan that helped artisans in the villages of India make their work noticed in metropolitan cities. Post graduation, she hopes to start a career at a philanthropic consulting firm. In her free time she enjoys traveling and exploring new places/ restaurants/ museums.

 

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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