Our Auxilliary Team Members
Many persons across the North East play a silent, but very important role in Sunbird Trust’s work. In addition, some individuals and former members of Sunbird Trust have moved on to further their career objectives and studies remain a part of the organization and continue to participate in its activities and development.
These de-facto team members, who, while not a part of the day to day work of the Trust, remain fully involved in strategic activities and provide guidance and support to the organization.
Aliasgar Huseini JanjaliChief Mentor
Prior to joining the education sector, Aliasgar worked in the Indian financial market with some of the best names in the industry. He was Vice President, Bank of America Merill Lynch for a decade from 1999 to 2009 before going on to become a Senior Vice President at Edelweiss Capital and later, a partner at Gateway Financial Advisors. After two decades in the corporate sector, Ali found his true calling in teaching. He completed a three-year fellowship with Teach for India (2015 cohort), teaching students of Stds 8 – 10 at a Government school in Mumbai’s Sewri area. Deeply satisfied with this experience, he joined Sunbird Trust in July 2018 and serves as a school leader at Sunbird Trust partner Paangkriang Friendship School at remote Ijeirong village in Manipur. With his rich corporate experience of more than two decades and three years with Teach for India, he provides astute leadership to the academic team. Faced with immense challenges in a remote, conflict-affected rural community, he is striving against many odds to transform the quality of education by bringing in the latest pedagogy skills and state of the art infrastructure.
LangchinthangFounder Lyzon Friendship School
A commerce graduate, Langchinthang (or Thathang as he is popularly called), is a Community leader in Singnat town of Churachandpur District, Manipur. In 2013, realizing the critical need for a school for the underprivileged tiny tots in this remote village, he approached the Sunbird Trust to assist him in raising this institution b nbbn . Despite the impaired security situation and relative inaccessibility of his village, he led the construction and administration of the Ebion Friendship School at nearby Muvanlai Village. In 2017, the road to the school became unpassable during the monsoons posing severe difficulty to the children. When the Chief of the neighbouring village of Khomunnom offered to gift land to build a new school, Thathang once again approached Sunbird Trust, by now a major partner, to help in the arduous task of building an entirely new school. Under his stewardship, a smart new building funded by Sunbird Trust was raised in barely six months. The new school name was changed to Lyzon Friendship School (LFS). Flourishing under his leadership, LFS now educates and empowers 165 children from over 100 marginalized families hailing from various ethnic groups. Thathang is currently deeply involved in raising additional school infrastructure such as a hostel building and additional classrooms. He is also the Founder-Trustee of the Lyzon Charitable Trust. The Trust is intended to develop the school as well as engage with the local community in areas such as livelihood sustainability and organic farming.
Amos NKCo-Founder Paangkriang Friendship School and Liaison Manager
Realising the critical need for a school for isolated forest and hill communities around his own village Ijeirong in Noney District of Manipur, Amos and two of his friends co-founded the Paangkriang Friendship School in 2008. From its humble origins, this school now serves 451 underprivileged tribal students from 8 neighbouring villages. In 2013, aiming to provide better access to education for the children of the nearby villages, Amos successfully approached the Sunbird team to construct a hostel in conjunction with the school. Switching hats to architect and project manager, he deftly employed available funds raised by the Sunbird team and raised voluntary labour from his village completing construction of the hostel by February 2014. With 247 hostellers today, Ijeirong Friendship Hostel is one of the biggest of its type in North East India.
Capitalizing on the success of the hostel project, Amos led a slew of Sunbird initiatives in the Haochong Block area from building a new Community Centre, to leveling a large playfield, conducting medical camps, guiding students for their further studies and linking Sunbird with student and women’s groups. He was instrumental in planning a Leadership Training Programme for local youth at Bangalore and in arranging yoga camps in the villages. He led the team that conducted the first of its kind Friendship Festival at Ijeirong in January 2016.
Besides helping supervise infrastructure projects, Amos serves as a critical liaison link with the local community, partner schools, sponsored families and civil administration. As a founder of Paangkriang Friendship School, he plays a pivotal role in communication and coordination of various activities between the Trust and the school. He continues to design and execute designated infrastructure projects.
Sethrichem (Sethri) grew up in a remote village in eastern Nagaland, where, amidst the most idyllic natural surroundings, he experienced the myriad challenges of life in a relatively marginalized, but tight knit rural community. Overcoming the odds, he secured admission to the prestigious National Law School of India University at Bangalore. He later travelled across continents, served a short stint with the United Nations at New York and even obtained a H1B work visa that would have allowed him to work in the USA. Wanting to make a meaningful contribution to his community, he however returned to India to work at the grassroots level. In 2009, Sethri founded a not for profit organization, Better Life Foundation (BLF), hoping to concentrate on issues of rural livelihood security, environment sustainability and education. Now a community leader, he emphasized local participation in the development process realizing that a process once owned and appreciated by the community would become institutionalized and sustainable.
With Sethri’s “out of the box” ideas and leadership, BLF soon started a pioneering goat farm and horticulture projects that benefit 700 families in cluster of 12 villages. He introduced innovative family sized orchards incorporating low chilling varieties apple, kiwi and other temperate fruits. In the process, he encouraged families to gradually relinquish the traditional but wasteful jhum cultivation and shift to permanent farming. With this, Sethri is slowly succeeding in creating sustainable income generation and optimum utilization of land, thus contributing to conservation of bio-diversity and environment sustainability. He now envisages adding value to the horticulture produce and creating forward linkages.
As an experienced social entrepreneur, Sethri oversees Sunbird Trust’s work in Nagaland including its Sponsor a Child scheme. Complementing Sunbird Trust’s “Peace through Education” initiative, he is bringing his immense knowledge and innovative techniques to Sunbird partner villages in Manipur. In 2018, Sethri became a LEAD India Fellow
Completing her Graduation in Biotechnology and her Masters in Biodiversity from Fergusson College, Pune, Saniya worked as a Science resource person in a school located in rural area of Maharashtra. Wishing to understand ground realities and the needs of the system and firmly believing in the power of an excellent education, she joined Teach For India in 2015. During her fellowship, she did her summer internship at SECMOL (Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh) in Ladakh. Teaching college students of Ladakh at SECMOL a deeply enriching experience for her. Later, Saniya worked at Simple Education Foundation as an instructional leader for a Government school located Gulardogi village near Rishikesh. Fascinated with the mountains, Saniya is a nature enthusiast. Nature combined with music have been her energy pills. She was associated with the NGO 'Nature Walk’ NGO that conducted nature education camps for children in forest reserves all over India. She is also an avid traveler and is keen to connect with diverse peoples in different parts of the world. Saniya joined Sunbird Trust as an assistant school leader in 2018 at the Paangkriang Friendship School in Ijeirong village in Manipur. She believes in leveraging her skills for the benefit of the children she teaches through contextual education.
Rajkumar Babloo Singh
Hailing from the Meitei community, Babloo is a member of the extended erstwhile royal family of
Manipur. He employs his excellent rapport with community leaders across the Manipur Valley to
progress Sunbird Trust’s work especially in the Valley districts of the state. Proud of his rich culture and
heritage, he has an abiding interest in seeking solutions to the myriad disturbances that beset this part
of the country. A para jumper and national level marksman, Babloo is no stranger to adventure and is
ever ready to lend his shoulder to help break new ground for Sunbird.
In keeping with his interests in building bridges between communities in his state, Babloo was instrumental in the success of the Ijeirong Friendship Festival 2016 using his good connections to bring star artistes from varied communities to perform together. He is currently employed as a Loss Prevention professional with a multinational company at Pune. He plays a major role in helping to settle young graduates from the North East in the cities and guide them as they foray for education and employment.
Bipin Shivaji Dhane
Born and raised in a low-income family in Satara, Maharashtra, Bipin Shivaji Dhane excelled at his
studies from a young age. Through hard work and the sacrifices his parents made, he completed his
B.Tech and M.Tech in Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture from IIT Kharagpur in 2013. On his
graduation, he joined a company as a Research Engineer in Singapore to assist his family financially.
Even as he worked at the job, his heart was towards helping the people in need. After ensuring the
financial stability of his family, he decided to quit his well-paying job and returned to India after 3 years.
On returning to India, through a friends suggestion he took up a voluntary teaching position in a small school in Majuli, the river island in Assam. During this tenure, he travelled across the vast riverine island learning of issues that affected education and livelihood of the mainly Mising tribal community. The villagers from the Mising tribes were keen that their children be educated and lead better lives as adults.
On request from community members, Bipin set about building a school in the Kulamua village, which had no functioning school within a 5km radius. With full material and labour support from the surrounding 19 village communities, from the land donated by a village member to free bamboo and wood, the Majuli Island Hummingbird School was constructed. The school started functioning from January 2017. Classes began with 110 children from LKG to class 3. Through Sunbird Trust, Bipin garnered support of well-wishers to sponsor children as well as raise rudimentary infrastructure for the school including a temporary hostel that accommodates 70 children from far-flung villages.
Understanding the larger needs of the community, Bipin along with his core team set up an NGO, Ayang, which means love" in the Mising dialect in November 2017. Ayang hopes to improve their livelihood, assist in relief and rehabilitation from floods, and promote sustainable development apart from working with the education system.
Aswathy Preetha Jayakumar
Aswathy believes that the best answer to most of the world’s problems is our children. She is keenly
interested in finding ways in which children in low income communities are best equipped to make the
world a better place. A Teach for India Fellow alumna, Aswathy taught socially and economically
underprivileged children in the Malwani area in the Western suburbs of Mumbai. Here, as a teacher, her
strength was creating, modifying, and changing structures to match what her students need.
Post fellowship, Aswathy joined Sunbird Trust in October 2016 as a Field Volunteer. In two months, she was appointed Programme Manager of Sunbird Trust across its areas of operations in North East India. As a part of this tenure, Aswathy was detailed to visit and stay at partner schools to assess existing practices and support required.
As a person with keen interest in understanding why humans do what they do, scientific competency developed owing to her undergraduate engineering studies in Biotechnology, and ardent belief in the power of education to effect positive change, Aswathy went on to pursue her MA in Peace Education from the United Nations supported Peace University in Costa Rica. The course helped her gain new perspectives into practices and philosophies in the social and development sector. On completion of her Masters course, she moved to Majuli Island where she is currently living and working with the local communities as a member of Ayang Trust, one of Sunbird Trust’s partner organizations. However, she continues to be a core member of the Sunbird Trust team.
For most, travelling as a way of life is a dream. For Ankita Phalle, it became a reality in April 2014, during
her last year at Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai when she, along with
three others launched Mapping Journeys, a travel venture to create a community of travelers who learn
from experiences and immerse themselves in local culture.
On her trips to far off villages she found people who had potential but lacked opportunity. She wanted to create an education system tailored to these communities and this led her to do the Teach For India Fellowship. She taught a class of 6th Grade children in a low-income school at Mumbai. Most of them were below-grade-level coping with issues ranging from adolescence to facing domestic violence at home. This taught her to strategically solve problems, build relations with external stake holders, invest parents in the education of their children and create strong classroom culture and opportunities for her students. She took a keen interest in engaging her students in various co-curricular activities to develop their soft skills.
After completion of her Fellowship and gaining knowledge in the Education sector, Ankita joined Sunbird Trust with the aim of creating opportunities for children to explore their potential.
Along with managing Sunbird Trust’s primary program of creating financial and physical access to education for 2100 children in 21 locations across the states of Manipur, Assam and Nagaland, she designed programs for interns in these locations. This helped facilitate cultural integration. She was instrumental in setting up a school in erstwhile Army barracks in Puichi village of Manipur. She worked on livelihood development and microfinance projects with local women. In one instance, she trekked for nearly 80 kms in a remote hill area of Manipur to recce a site for building a Sunbird Trust residential school.
While she has now transitioned out of her permanent role as a Programme Manager with Sunbird Trust, Ankita continues to be associated with the organisation in every way she can.
Alrica completed her graduation in Psychology with a course in child care and child development from
Mumbai. During her college years, she realized that children, especially those from underprivileged
backgrounds, had much untapped potential and energy that was not leveraged. She volunteered as a
teacher in local orphanages and taught children from low socio-economic backgrounds. She also
garnered hands-on experience working with mentally and physically challenged children and adults.
Alrica seeks to bring out the best of the children she works with and is convinced that just a smile and a
hug can brighten up the dullest day. As a guitarist with a with a beautiful voice to boot, she realizes that
music provides a healing touch and is a universal language that brings people from different cultures
Seeking to meet people from different cultural backgrounds and with a desire to work for underprivileged children, Alrica joined Sunbird Trust in 2018. She spent several months living and working with HIV affected children at two locations in Churachandpur District of Manipur. She was tasked with visiting and collating information from the over two dozen Sunbird Trust partner schools and villages across the North East. Prior to proceeding for her higher studies at Bangalore, Alrica was Assistant School Leader at our partner organization Hope Foundation at remote Tamei Village in Tamenglong District of Manipur. Here, she played a pivotal role in coordinating a flurry of infrastructure and sponsorship related activities.
S. Huimi Dominic
Hailing from Chadong Village in Ukhrul District of Manipur, Dominic finished his schooling in Manipur
before moving to Shillong where he eventually completed his Master’s Degree in History from North
Eastern Hill University. He later completed his LLb from Delhi University. Throughout college and
University, he was a Student leader, fully involved in student activities. Back in his home state, he has
been a practicing lawyer for 15 years. He now devotes most of his time to his community at Chadong
after the village was partly submerged by the Mapithel Thoubal Multipurpose project.
Dominic coordinates Sunbird outreach activities including sponsorship of children from in and around his village.
Hailing from picturesque Shirui Village, synonymous with the Shirui lilly, the state flower of Manipur,
Shomrorphi has herself bloomed in Sunbird Trust. Sponsored for her education since her 9 th Std, she is
the first alumna of the Trust to become a team member. With an abiding interest to pursue a career
that would allow her to serve the underprivileged, she pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from
Don Bosco College Maram. She lent her time and knowledge to organizing many events related to social
upliftment. Post joining Sunbird Trust in 2018, Shomrorphi chose to be a teacher in the Trust supported
Sungcham Friendship School at remote Puichi Village in Noney District of Manipur. Here, she was
appointed Assistant School Leader and Community Leader.
Having herself attended a course in soft skill training and with an endearing interest in working with children and youth, Shomrorphi took it upon herself to mentor the little ones and youngsters of the village. She also researched the realities and challenges faced by the community in their daily lives with a view to identify targeted developmental intervention. She has now moved on for her further studies and continues to be associated with the Trust activities.