Q&A with Barsha Banerjee

Get to know Barsha Banerjee, Perkins India’s new Managing Director, through these five questions.

Headshot of Barsha Chatterjee

Perkins India is pleased to welcome Ms. Barsha Banerjee in a new role as Managing Director. With over 24 years of experience in education, service, livelihoods and business growth of small and medium enterprises, Barsha is excited to lead Perkins India through new opportunities for growth and sustainability. We sat down with Barsha to learn about her past experiences, her insights on Perkins India, and her commitment to education.

How did your previous work lead you to Perkins India?

As I advanced in my career, and as I grew as a person – I came to realize that I wished to do more work that creates genuine change, in an organization that truly cares for people. I was previously working with businesses and helping small and medium enterprises grow but I wanted to make a real difference at the grassroots level rather than making the rich richer.

I believe that education is the core starting point for development-based work. By creating access to education, we make progress toward creating equal opportunities. Within the education sector, individuals with disabilities are still excluded and overlooked – 75% of disabled individuals don’t have access to quality education – not even at the primary level. My desire to work for these individuals led me to Perkins India.

I believe that education is the core starting point for development-based work.

What do you see as strengths of Perkins India?

Perkins India has committed, passionate people who want to make a difference. Everyone here is a dedicated soul – that genuinely believes in and embodies the vision that each child can learn. Perkins India’s greatest strength is its people.

As a team we take a very honest and humane approach to our work – every task is to answer the question “How will this help?”. Being able to work for an organization that, at its core, wants to build a better world (especially in the current money- and profit-driven culture) is nothing short of a miracle.

Perkins India’s greatest strength is its people.

What does social impact mean to you?

Social impact starts with the individual. Before one makes big strides and talks a big game about social impact, one needs to introspect and see what they do in their day-to-day lives and how they treat people. One may speak a lot about income inequality– but do they pay their help, their gardeners, anybody that works in their home, fair wages? One may talk about gender equality, but do they make their sons do housework alongside their daughters? One may talk about inclusion, but when they say Education for All, do they also invest in children with multiple disabilities and visual impairment? Social impact and social change can only come about if one truly embodies their words through everyday action.

What are your goals for the future of Perkins India?

I want to ensure that the path taken by me and the organization creates sustained and transformative change for children with disabilities. Perkins India has the potential to build a future where every Indian child with disabilities has the opportunity to learn and thrive, while truly impacting the lives of the children. I hope many people will get inspired and join us — we need many more hands to build an inclusive world.

What can you be found doing in your spare time?

I don’t like restricting myself, and I love trying things I haven’t before – I enjoy reading (anything goes; especially books recommended by my daughter!), I love to find new recipes and try them out (and modify them to my tastes!), I also love watching movies, and discovering new cinema – so I guess my REAL hobby is just learning and finding new things!

To get involved or learn more about Perkins India, email Barsha today!

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