Sonia Mackwani, Founder-Director, Creative Head & Fundraising
With an inner calling for spreading love everywhere, Sonia Mackwani, the founder and director of Touching Lives is the inspiration of the organization; constantly touching many lives at a time. She set up Touching Lives with the belief that it is our need to serve rather than saying that we are serving the needy. A clinical psychologist and a clinical hypnotherapist by degree, she believes that God can be found in every individual if we allow them to just be. She is also an author and has written two books of fiction for children; one is Tales from Indian Mythology – Mahabharata and the other is Ramayana. Her first non-fiction book ‘Everyone Can Heal’, was released in 2015.
If you ever wondered how to make a difference, just touch one life – Sonia Mackwani
Honored by the President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee – 100 Women Achievers of India by Ministry of Women and Child Development, 2016.
A Noble Laureate Award – Karmaveer Puraskaar in 2011 by iCongo.
CNBC Young Turk Transformer award – Social Entrepreneur category.
In 2008, she received the Aga Khan Youth Award for Excellence in Leadership and the Aga Khan Role Model Recognition Award in 2009.
Gaurav Puraskaar in 2011.
She was chosen as one of the Top 5 Mercedes Benz A Class Achievers from all over India in association with AUTOCAR Magazine. Currently she is also working as a film consultant for a bollywood film and is an aspiring film maker.
Wearing so many hats together, she dreams of having a self-sustainable Touching Lives all over the world. She also intends to raise all the funds for Touching Lives by herself. She is working towards being a best selling author and a film maker who can tell good stories to others.
You can know more about her here
Ankit Kanani, CEO and Dream Project Mentor
Silence is therapeutic. Before you label or judge something or someone pause and reflect. Maybe then you will get a bigger perspective – Ankit Kanani
The questions related to the purpose of his life have been the best of companions for him since a very young age. An IT engineering graduate from Mumbai University, Ankit was working with a corporate firm when he grew closer to the spirituality which made him leave his corporate job within six months of joining. He, then felt that his priority is to do those things in life which he truly adores and it was then by some crazy miraculous coincidences, he landed at Touching Lives!
It was while working here with like minded people he realized that searching and serving together is fun and satisfying at the same time. And it was by teaching, fund raising, communications, learning therapies and healing techniques he realized that Touching Lives is a path to discover and live your purpose. It is a path to service, love and compassion. Apart from that, he also visualizes of doing something extraordinary in the field of sports, science, music, philosophy and literature
Rubina Khan, Finance Lead and Care Program Lead
A human will learn and evolve with love instead of rules – Rubina Khan
The most experienced member of the organization, Rubina Khan joined Touching Lives in 2008 while continuing her degree. Being the oldest member of the organization, she possesses the wisdom of turning a child into a human being in the most amazing ways possible. Bearing a diploma in Early Child Care course, she knows perfectly how to make learning interesting for kids. With the mind of an expert, she is the one who handles finance, designing and mentoring aspects of the organization simultaneously. With zeal like no one else, she believes in serving humanity unconditionally in any way she can.
Apart from being the pillar of the organization, she dreams of opening her own affordable Pre-School so that every child can get the gift of knowledge which they truly deserve. She also intends to create new things which can make life simple for her and others.
Aditi Kanwar Parmar, Human Resource and Learning Center Co-head
Life is not just to exist, it is to live by; live it and feel it completely every second – Aditi Kanwar
Aditi Kanwar or the powerhouse is the heartbeat of Touching Lives. She joined Touching Lives with the thought of giving back to the society. Bearing tremendous experience in counseling and having an educational background in psychology, she believes that inculcating values is an important aspect of education. Very dedicated in her work of mentoring, healing, counseling, training kids and also in handling human resource. She feels that there is always room for improvement. An epitome of kindness, she believes that freedom, love and compassion are some of the precious things which should be practiced always.
Apart from serving in Touching Lives, she loves to dream and work towards fulfilling them. She has many dreams in her eyes. She dreams of having her own musical cafe and of establishing herself in the field of arts. She wants to learn new, exciting things and most of all experience every moment of her life.
Tanvi Shah, Transit Program Mentor and Learning Center Co-head
Out of everything, what a human should do is to be open to self reflection, because then the world will definitely shift – Tanvi Shah
A management graduate from Mumbai University, Tanvi realized that it is not business which excites her but values and emotions. It was at Touching Lives she realized that all she wants to do is to help everyone in their paths to help themselves. Being with children, mentoring them, working with them, she feels that it is important for her to touch at least one soul in her life in anyway possible. Assisting in healing programs and evolving with children, she has now learnt to be very conscious of having any judgments about anything or anyone. An avid reader and a dreamer, she is now practicing being present every moment.
She dreams of seeing all the children at Touching Lives fulfilling their dreams. Apart from that she intends to become a librarian and to read as many books as she can. She also aspires to be a Kathak dancer. She wishes to evolve with every experience and to continue to live and learn together.
Nisha Joshi, Discovery Program Mentor, Content Editor
Be the miner, tunnel through life with a torchlight, so that the light shows the path not just for you but for others too – Nisha Joshi
Nisha is a free thinker, a passionate lover of the fine and performing arts, a writer to her core and a musician in the making. Poetry burns like a flame in her heart and music is the steady calming force within her. She has authored a book for children called Tales from Indian History.
Parina Chavan, Foundation Program Mentor
Everyone who wants to sing finds a song! I’ve always believed that what you are seeking is seeking you. I think I was seeking touching lives and it has found me. It’s a dream come true because it is exactly a place in which I saw myself in since my student days. Maybe that’s why it feels like home.
She is Parina Chavan, a new member of our Tribe. Having done her MA in Counseling Psychology, Her aspiration was to always work with children and she is the mentor for our Foundation class.
Everyone who wants to sing finds a song! I’ve always believed that what you are seeking is seeking you. Children, teaching psychology,music and Kathak give her joy! And she feels that Touching lives has all of this. She aspires to learn as many art forms as she can and share this gift with all these children so that they also experience the magic of this gift!
Roshni Pal, Beginners Program Mentor
Everything is within and around, all you need is some amount of awareness.
Roshni’s dream was to become a software engineer; she was keen to learn about technology. So she studied BCA, while perusing her graduation, she started working on herself.
Roshni says, “One day, while meditation, I asked myself, “What would be the one thing I would do to bring myself back?”
The answer was, “I would love to see the world with the eyes of a small child, with a heart of love, and live as I don’t know the concept of forever and never.”
And that was where she found the spark to bring herself back, with children, with this tribe on the journey of Love, selflessly. Roshni is the full-time mentor of Beginners class.
Ram Soni, Healer and Therapist
Ram joined as a student of Touching Lives, he is now a mentor here. He takes care of one of the community centers and spends time at our learning center advising and addressing children’s problems related to studies or in general. He is indeed like a role model for the children of the community center. He believes that whatever happens always happens for the best and that one should keep spreading happiness to everyone around.
Ram loves the company of children and feels happy to connect with them. As he has been a part of Touching Lives as a student, he knows the importance of education and knowledge he has gained and so feels blessed to bestow the same on other students.
Ram is currently pursuing Bachelor of Arts (final year) from R.D National College and wants to become a Psychologist. He also dreams of making it big someday.
Nikita Shah, Academic Program Head
The ability of a human to help and comfort other human beings in need, by small gestures like a smile, a hug or a simple message makes this world a more beautiful place to live in – Nikita Shah
A computer engineer and a human resource post graduate, Nikita Shah believes that everything in life happens at the exact time it should. Having a dream to start a learning center for children with special needs, Nikita feels she has already started her journey and is moving closer to her dream with every passing day. She is now learning and understanding how things work with children. In the moments spent with children she often feels both joyful and overwhelmed by the love she receives and makes sure to work harder to return the same kind of love to them.
Being blessed by an amazing family and friends, her idea of rewinding is to have a quiet, peaceful time with them.
At Touching Lives she is assisting in the pre-school program. Along with that she is building a database of all our children. She is also the one handling the school academic portfolio of our children.
Poonam Tevar, Social Media Coordinator
Being a child who has grown up and evolved at Touching Lives, connecting to other children and their stories is the easiest thing to do – Poonam Tevar
Poonam joined as a student at Touching Lives. Now she is the social media head here. If you ask her what is her inspiration she will shyly say that the process of learning and growing motivates her the most. Touching Lives is the school of values through which she is reaching the peak of evolution for herself.
She is currently studying at National College pursuing Arts and her dream is to study abroad. She believes that the universe is very strong and it is always with her. She also thinks that as we move ahead beyond our boundaries we invite the universe to take charge and with the right action, attitude and courage we can fulfill all our dreams.
For Poonam Touching Lives is her roots and wings too. It is the journey and as well as the destination for her.
Neelam Tevar, Healer
Ladder of learning never ends and self-work is a cart-wheel.
Neelam she is the divine healer of Touching lives. Her energy is warm and welcoming, everyone feels that they are home and cared. Neelam started as student at Touching lives since she was 7 years old. She is a warrior with a soft heart, overcoming the hurdles coming her way. She says, “‘healing Modalities’ and ‘values’ which I learnt here are my foundation to be my true-self, which is helping me on my spiritual journey”.
Since last two years she worked as healer and a mentor of Beginners class. She is now a healer and part of care program. She connects to everyone with the language of love. I touched lives and they touched back me. She is in FYBA and aims to pursue masters in psychology. She also aspires to become a doula.
Neelam is very passionate towards music and she works by blending all her hobbies together to create something new and creative.
SonamTevar, Community Leader
It is okay to try new things, to be silly and to fail because that is what helps us ahead in life.
Sonam is one of our community leaders; she takes care of Dhobhighat community. Sonam coming from the same slum surroundings, facing similar challenges to discovering herself, she says “I know what child requires, because once I have been on the same place, receiving love and acceptance from my mentors”. Now she is on this path of love, acceptance and wisdom by giving back what she received. Valuing and respecting each being on this planet is her mantra to connect to her inner-self. She believes that this is the process of healing the world by working on your-self.
Sonam is also writing a book on the journeys of Touching Lives children, under the new Publishing project of Touching Lives. She is currently doing her Mass Media Second Year from Nagindas Khandwala College. She proudly shares her dream of being a dance choreographer, an Air hostess, a Model, and an RJ.
Sonam strongly believes that “As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears”. ~Rumi.
Bhagyalaxmi Kaundar, Community Leader
Evolution brings out something different every time! Experimenting, experiencing and bringing things into DOINGNESS is what I believe in.
Bhagyalaxmi is working as a community leader with Touching Lives since past 3 years. She is now handling our new community (Khadi Community). Observing her mentors and the compassion they had towards children inspired her to be a Teacher. She aspires to be a mirror to children which will allow them to see their potential and walk their own journey. She says, leader is a big word for her. It makes her feel that she is a change maker.
Bhagyalaxmi is currently studying second year of commerce. She shares her dream of completing her MBA, earn and support her family. She also tells that ‘Touching Lives is the medium which helped her to meet real Bhagyalaxmi”.
Prashanth Jamol, Community Leader
“Not all those who wander are lost” ~J.R.R. Tolkien. Prashanth Jamol is a Wanderer, Thinker, Good Listener and this is what is important for the growth of a human being.
Prashanth Jamol has been a student at Touching Lives since his mischief years, when he was in seventh standard. Today, he attends college – SYBA and is our intellectual Community Leader. He also contributes regularly for the Touching Lives blog, as part of the Creative Writing Program. He loves thinking and reflecting on life’s big questions and aspires to be an IAS officer.
He is always ready to seek knowledge from everyone he meets, whether it is his colleague, students at community or a stranger.
He quotes that “Dusk is there to imagine and Dawn is to discover.” He is on his journey of discovering something new out of him every moment.
Ashok Goenka, Guide & Financial Support
Mr Ashok Goenka is a Qualified Chartered Accountant who practiced for legal accounting until 1993, he is self made successful Industrialist in the line of Production and Star Exporter of Designer Home Textile to European countries with his sheer passion and dedication.
The seed of paying back to society and the compassion towards ?children?, which had been brewing in his mind, finally found its connection at an event of Coffee Talk, where he heard about Touching Lives.
And since 2016 he has been closely associated with ?and ?financially supporting Touching Lives, for it to reach higher levels so that the children have a bright and better future.
Hemant Bahedia, Charted Accountant
Mr. Hemant Bahedia is a Fellow member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). He has completed his graduation in Commerce from Sardar Patel University – Vallabh Vidyanagar (Gujarat) with two Gold Medals. He is also All India Rank Holder in both the examinations of The Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) and now a Graduate Member of ICWAI.
He has been associated with Touching Lives since 2015-16 as Statutory Auditor of the Trust. He also helps the in various statutory matters related to Taxation, Accounts, FCRA, Charity Commissioner, etc.
Alok Guha, Volunteer (Media)
Alok started his career with the most renowned business news channel CBNC TV18 as feature cameraman. After working there for good 5 years, he worked as a freelance DOP (Director of Photography) and also produced several TV shows and digital media.
Some of the shows for which he has worked include- Kaun Banega Crorepati, Master Chef, IPL, Indian Hockey League, Indian Idol, Coke Studio, Mission Army, MTV Coke Studio, MTV Sync, India’s Got Talent to mention a few. Produced Award Shows Red Carpet like Filmfare, Zee Cine Awards, Screen Awards, Big Entertainment Awards, Stardust Awards. Shot for various National and International documentaries.
Elliot Campbell, Volunteer (Communications Editor)
Elliot Campbell is a marketing and communications professional who currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. He grew up in Toronto, Canada. He began to volunteer for Touching Lives in 2013 when he came to Mumbai for a year and wanted to help a non-profit organization. He has assisted Touching Lives in developing donor communications, including a monthly newsletter. While Elliot has moved back to the US, he still advises Touching Lives on communication projects.
Elliot graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He also earned a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Sneha Methil, Volunteer (Social Media Consultant)
I love to keep people around me happy! Kindness can definitely bring the better outta this world. Bring the change, it starts with us! – Sneha
Life and career ingredients – 2 years of science, 3 years of IT and 2 years of MBA in marketing, a childhood full of playing and sports, a keen interest in the enormity of the digital world and a steady inclination and love towards arts, along with some amazing humans in my life! Today, a digital marketer with 5 yrs of experience, Sneha is living a typical agency life continuously trying to balance work-social life!
If not at work, she loves to be with my family and close friends. Sneha cannot survive without art and music.
She is a firm believer in kindness, goodness and hard work. Sneha is helping the team with her expertise in social media- to share the work at Touching Lives Learning Center with the world.