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
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
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.
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.
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 has completed his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Clinical hypnotherapy, Arts-based therapy and is currently pursuing his masters in integrated meditation and holistic counselling. He also dreams of making it big someday.
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.
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.
Poonam has done Masters in Clinical Psychology. 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.
It is okay to try new things, to be silly and to fail because that is what helps us ahead in life.
Coming from the same slum surroundings, facing similar challenges for discovering herself, she says “I know what a child requires, because I have been in the same place, receiving love and acceptance from my mentors”. Now Sonam is on this path of love, acceptance and wisdom by giving back what she has 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.
She has completed her graduation in Mass Media.
Sonam strongly believes that “As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears”. ~Rumi.
“I am very excited to complete my journey of being a mentor" – Divya Thevar
Divya is again on board with Touching Lives as the Beginners Class Mentor. She is a Post Graduate in English Literature, has a diploma in Early Childhood Care Education and Waldorf Training.
Divya is a proud former student of Touching Lives and joined the team in the year 2013 after completing her graduation. Divya relocated to Chennai in 2016 but is now back to Mumbai and back to the Touching Lives team to complete her purpose.
Divya is also supported by Touching Lives to run her initiative of creating and selling hand-made jewellery accessories and other art products – Serena Sutra Arts
“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it!” – Franz Kafka
Travel and places excite her, and so does creativity and novelty. It was this passion of being with something she always dreamt as a child, that led her to the travel industry at an early age of 18. With a postgraduate degree in Economics, a diploma in Travel & Tourism and IATA, Shirin unravelled some of the best experiences in her travel career. However, feeling a void of doing something beyond took her to the path of education. She pursued B.ed and Cambridge International Teacher Training course, and began with another adventurous journey into teaching-learning.
While she has rich experience of working with education institutions, she feels that Touching Lives has given her the opportunity to nurture and empower young minds with the true potential to give students a perspective into the real world. With the aspiration to create and build something for these young souls, Shirin rejoices in this new space and world with college going students of Touching Lives.
“Ultimately, it all comes down to being truthful to your cause and patient in its pursuit. You are, what you don't know yet."
“I love to work with all age groups, especially children and teenagers. As this stage is a sensitive stage and an important one. We should also teach dance and arts to the children".
Radhika is a focussed individual. She has completed Masters in Human development. She is a professional Bharatnatyam dancer who loves to express emotions through her dance. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Psychology from IGNOU university.
She loves to work with children and says, “What inspired me to join the Touching Lives team is how extensively they work with children for different age groups. I felt really connected with the work and I felt that I could contribute from my side in the journey for these children."
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 supporting Touching Lives financially, for it to reach higher levels so that the children have a bright and better future.
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.
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
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.