Faisal Ashraf Nomani
Mr. Faisal Ashraf joins the Keystone Institute India team as an educator and facilitator after several years of working together collaboratively. Faisal is well known for his work as an innovator for technological adaptations, a disability rights activist, and a powerful advocate for the advancement of people with disability into valued work roles. He completed intensive training in Social Role Valorization principles in 2017 and is an extraordinary facilitator and a natural community builder.
His post-graduate degree from Jamia Milia Islamia University in 2013 in social exclusion and inclusive policy prepares him well for this work. He has extensive experience working in the commercial sector in accessibility and inclusion for Indigo Airlines, as well as heading up several employment initiatives to assist people with disability to have work roles and to serve as a change agent in workplace mindsets around disability and inclusion. He worked for the Cheshire Home India Delhi Unit within a Livelihood Projects supported by the European Union, where he supported people with disabilities in employment and vocational training, as well as assistive technology. He currently works with V-shesh, providing support for people with disability to find employment.
As an athlete, Faisal has won a gold medal in the wheelchair 100mt race in the Delhi State Athletic Powerlifting and Table Tennis Championships in 2017-2018. He won bronze medals in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in 2016 and 2017. In the Reverse-Trike project with IIT Delhi, he is customizing motorbikes for people with disabilities.
We are so fortunate that Faisal has joined KII's change agentry initiative.
Dr. Nidhi Singhal Director of Training and Research, Action for Autism
Dr. Nidhi Singhal is a researcher, master trainer, and psychologist who has dedicated her career to working to create opportunities for good lives for people with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families. Dr. Singhal is passionate about creating supports for vulnerable people which are respectful and assist people to have valued roles as contributing members of society, with full, rich, and meaningful lives. She graduated from the inaugural intensive SRV course held in Delhi in 2016 and has been teaching and using the ideas, and has begun incorporating them into other bodies of knowledge. She is personally connected with people experiencing disability in her personal and professional life, and has served as a pioneer in learning about and using Social Role Valorization in India. She attended a PASSING service evaluation course in the United States and has participated on a PASSING test evaluation in India. She has represented India in the International SRV Association.
In addition to being an expert clinician and counsellor, she is committed to working towards inclusive practice and using Social Role Valorization as a way to promote good lives. Dr. Singhal has extensive experience working with people with autism and their families, as well as professionals in the field, and works for Action for Autism, the National Centre for Autism located in New Delhi, currently serving as Director of Training and Research. She conducts screening and diagnostic assessments, counsels adults with autism, designs and executes individual and group programs for parents, and addresses the impact of autism in the person, marriage, and family, social, and work relationships.
Dr. Singhal serves on several committees, including the International Steering Committee developing a WHO ICF Core Set for ASD, and is recognized as an expert on autism by the Rehabilitation Council of India. She provides consultation and training as an expert consultant and associate faculty for KII.
Dr. Neelam Sodhi
Dr. Neelam Sodhi has been a trailblazer in establishing parent-led supports and services in her home state of Punjab. She was drawn to engage in the work of creating possibilities for people with disability by the birth of her son, who has cerebral palsy. In 1999, she led the development of the North India Cerebral Palsy Association to advocate, and Ashirwaad was created to provide early intervention and other supports and services in Ludhiana.
She has served on the board of the National Trust for Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disabilities, and Multiple Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, providing significant national level training, and serves as a coach and mentor to many, many families trying to create pathways to help their disabled sons and daughters take a valued place in society. She is also a member of Training Resource Group, RBSK, Ministry of Health. She regularly conducts Adolescence Education Programs in schools and works for awareness against female feticide.
She became involved with our work back in 2016, and has been developing and presenting materials based on her strong values base, a firm belief in social justice for all, and a passion for teaching and mentoring.
Ms. Arpita Yadav envisions the creation of an alternative path of development and inclusion using creative platforms wherein theater, dance, drama, and other participatory activities lay the foundation for an inclusive society, and a society that is more accessible, tolerant, non-judgmental, and consequently, more fulfilling. The mother of a teenage boy, Nirbhay, who was born with a rare neuro-metabolic disorder, Arpita chose to look upon this event as an invitation to chart out a survival path for Nirbhay. Within this journey, she found her calling to support all those with special needs and their families. Arpita realized first hand that the greatest fear of a parent of a child with special needs is the uncertainty of who will care for their child when they are gone. She envisions an inclusive residential arrangement where people with disabilities live alongside typical people and all work to support each other.
Arpita brings expertise in coaching and counseling those with learning disabilities. She launched Learning Aspirations, where she serves as Director. Arpita has served as a special educator with AADI (Action for Ability Development and Inclusion), followed by a multi-dimensional role with DISHA, a resource center for multiple disabilities, Jaipur, Rajasthan, in addition to various independent consulting assignments and appointments in the private and public sector domain covering women and child welfare and development. She engaged with the government as part of a policy formation team for the newly instituted “Persons with Disability Act.”
She was introduced to Social Role Valorization in an intensive course in 2017, graduated from the course, and has been both teaching and using the ideas ever since, as well as mentoring others. She is a member of the informal Rajasthan SRV Leadership Circle, working to strengthen SRV use and expertise across the state and serving as national and state-wide resources. She has recently relocated to the Delhi area.