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Nick Grono


Nick was appointed as the inaugural CEO of the Freedom Fund in January 2014. The Fund is an ambitious effort to mobilise the knowledge, capital and will needed to end modern slavery.

In its first four and a half years of operation the Freedom Fund has worked with some 100 frontline partners around the world to directly liberate 18,873 people from slavery and return over 43,408 at risk children back to school. Overall, its programs have positively impacted the lives of over 460,000 of those most vulnerable to exploitation. And it is changing the systems that place many millions more at risk of slavery.

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Nick is also chair of the Jo Cox Foundation, and a board member of Girls Not Brides: the Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

Prior to the Freedom Fund, Nick was the inaugural CEO of the Walk Free Foundation, a leading international actor in the fight against modern slavery. And before Walk Free, Nick was the Deputy President and Chief Operating Officer of the International Crisis Group (ICG), the world’s leading conflict prevention NGO, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, with offices in over 20 countries.

Nick is a lawyer by background and, prior to ICG, he was Chief of Staff and National Security Adviser to the Australian Attorney-General. He has a law degree with first class honours from the University of Sydney and a Master’s in Public Policy from Princeton University.

Pauline Aaron

Senior Program Officer

Pauline Aaron joined the Freedom Fund in August 2016 as Program Officer for our Central and South-Eastern Nepal hotspots. Prior to this, she worked for Progressio, managing a DFID funded youth volunteering programme in Africa and Central America.

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Previously, Pauline was the Country Director for the Jesuit Refugee Service in Thailand, overseeing programs serving migrant workers, refugees and immigration detainees. She also spent three years with JRS in Malawi managing education and psychosocial programs in Dzaleka refugee camp.

Pauline holds a Master of Research in European Public Policy from Birkbeck, University of London. She has also worked in a number of UK based research and policy roles. As a Researcher in Middlesex Social Policy Research Centre she contributed to publications on migration policy and using community researchers to access hard to reach groups.

Michel Agbodjinou

Head of Finance

Michel Agbodjinou joined the Freedom Fund as Senior Finance Officer in December 2017. He was previously Director of Finance and Administration at Vision Aid Overseas, an international NGO fighting poverty through the development of services for uncorrected refractive error and primary eye health in poor and marginalized communities in Africa.

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At Vision Aid Overseas, he was lead on strategic financial planning for the NGO, as well as an adviser to the Chief Executive and Board on strategies to ensure that the NGO achieves its objectives within a realistic financial framework.

Before that, Michel worked for Shelter, the Salvation Army, the Fostering Network and Southwark Council in the UK.

Michel is a member of the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants, with an extensive experience in the non-profit sector, helping organisations to improve their internal effectiveness so that they can successfully achieve their missions.

Chloé Bailey

Program Officer

Chloé Bailey joined the Freedom Fund as Program Officer in September 2017. Prior to this she worked at Global Partners Governance, a development consultancy specialising in political and institutional reform, where she managed the monitoring and evaluation of projects in the MENA region.

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In her previous role at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Chloé conducted research and analysis for the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, developing indicators to measure human rights, rule of law and political participation in African countries. She has also worked as a Research Assistant to an MP in the UK parliament and at human rights organisation Reprieve, where she assisted with research on the legal implications on the use of drones as part of the “war on terror”.

Chloé has a legal background, with an LLM in Public International Law from King’s College London and a double degree in English Law and French Law from King’s College London and Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Ginny Baumann

Senior Program Officer

Ginny Baumann joined the Freedom Fund as Senior Program Officer in August 2014. She was previously Associate Director of Programs at Free the Slaves (FTS), an NGO that liberates people from slavery around the world, and enables governments, development agencies and businesses to take effective action.

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As a founding team member of Free the Slaves since 2000, Ginny has developed FTS’ country programs alongside community-based anti-slavery NGOs, especially in India, Nepal, Brazil and Ghana. She helped create its strategy for identifying, articulating and supporting locally-rooted solutions to slavery.

Before that, she worked for UK-based agencies Christian Aid, Shelter, and Quaker Social Action establishing, managing and evaluating programs of community-based development, housing, employment, conflict resolution and human rights. In the Mississippi Delta, she also carried out programs of peer mediation in schools, evaluation of after-school programs, and research on racial discrimination by banks. She taught courses on peacebuilding and on models of international development at University of Surrey, Roehampton, and University of Mississippi.

Colleen Boselli

Program Officer

Colleen joined the Freedom Fund in June 2018 as a Program Officer overseeing the southern India hotspot. She has a background in public health and over six years of experience managing international development programs.

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Previously Colleen was a Senior Associate at Geneva Global, a philanthropy consultancy firm, where most recently she launched and managed the work in southern India on behalf of the Freedom Fund. In addition, she was involved in a variety of client initiatives including developing and launching a humanitarian effort to support community-based groups in West Africa during the Ebola Crisis, and managing a portfolio of grant programs focused on treating and preventing neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) across the developing world on behalf of the END Fund.

Colleen holds a Master’s degree of Public Health Degree from George Washington University with a focus on prevention and community health.

Shafrana Carpen

Administrative Assistant & Office Manager

Shafrana joined the Freedom Fund in April 2018 as Administrative Assistant and Office Manager for the Freedom Fund's New York office. She previously worked to increase patient engagement and quality of care at Housing Works, a NY non-profit working to end the dual crises of HIV/AIDS and homelessness. She has also served in a variety of administrative roles at other non-profit organisations.

Hannah Elliot

Program Officer

Hannah Elliott joined the Freedom Fund as Program Officer in July 2018. As a Program Officer, Hannah focuses on amplifying the voices of local partners by providing grant management and strategic oversight to the Freedom Fund’s hotspots in Ethiopia and Thailand.

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Previously, as a consultant for the Freedom Fund, Hannah assisted in setting up the Thailand hotspot and established partnerships with locally-based organisations focusing on combatting human trafficking within the seafood sector. In the same capacity, she oversaw the Ethiopia hotspot and helped push the strategy forward through initiatives focused on mental health, government engagement and strengthening local capacity. In addition to program management, Hannah worked on the development of Freedom Fund’s strategy for the Myanmar hotspot.
Applying an analytical eye to challenges, Hannah produces high quality hotspot reports, develops systems and processes for tracking and analysing data and facilitates meetings with various stakeholders. Her team has affectionately given her the nickname of “moderator” for her ability to convene different stakeholders and help others reach consensus on important issues. 
Hannah’s previous experience includes work with both U.S. domestic and international nonprofit organisations. She previously worked with a U.S.-based grassroots organisation, assisting in the development of local leaders and supporting community advocacy initiatives. She has also provided technical assistance to an international microfinance organisation, where she supported a variety of projects related to client satisfaction and program impact. Most recently, Hannah worked as a Senior Associate for Geneva Global, a U.S.-based philanthropic consulting firm, where she led on strategy development, data analysis and grant management for projects focused on human rights, health, education and economic development.
Hannah has a Master’s degree in International Economic Development from Eastern University, and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Cross-Cultural Sociology and Applied Psychology from Carson-Newman University.   

Holly Harridence

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Holly Harridence joined the Freedom Fund as Executive Assistant to the CEO in January 2017, providing executive support to the CEO and working closely with the Director of Finance and Administration on operations.

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Previously, Holly was Digital Content and Communications Manager at the Legatum Institute, a leading international think tank based in London. She also spent four years working in the communications and engagement department of Europe’s largest wellbeing website. Prior to that, she worked in the public affairs department of the Royal Australian Automobile Association in South Australia.

Audrey Guichon

Deputy Director of Programs

Audrey joined the Freedom Fund in January 2015. Prior to this, she worked at Anti-Slavery International for 7 years where she coordinated the organisation’s programs on domestic work. She oversaw the implementation of a number of projects focusing on the situation of child and migrant domestic workers across the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

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She worked closely with local partners around the world to improve the situation of workers and to put an end to slavery in the domestic work sector; together they implemented a variety of interventions from community empowerment and unionisation to access to justice and advocacy. She led the efforts of Anti-Slavery International and its partners in the run up to the adoption of ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

Audrey has worked in academic settings at the University of Birmingham and University of Ulster and in the voluntary sector in Northern Ireland and India, focusing on peace and reconciliation as well as women’s rights. She holds a Masters in Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland.

Kevin Groome

Program Officer

Kevin Groome joined the Freedom Fund in February 2018 as Program Officer for the central and south-eastern Nepal hotspots.

Previously, Kevin worked at the British Asian Trust where he led the Trust’s Anti-Trafficking Program which specifically focused on tackling the trafficking of children into hazardous labour and commercial sexual exploitation. He oversaw the program portfolio in India as well as its expansion into other parts of South Asia including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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Kevin has also worked in a number of other international development roles with UNITAR, Malaria Consortium and Gaia Education. He holds an MSc in International Politics from Trinity College Dublin.

Ulrike Hellmann

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Ulrike joined The Freedom Fund in June 2016 to help grow international support for our work and build strategic relations with governments. She comes to us with more than 17 years experience shaping the external relations strategies of various high-profile UN and non-profit agencies.

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Among other things, she has led the government engagement efforts of leading conflict resolution NGOs Crisis Action and ICG, coordinated UNHCR resource mobilisation for the Horn and East Africa, worked on refugee protection and resettlement issues in UNHCR country offices in Iran and Lebanon and designed a new donor relations strategy for the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen.

Ulrike holds an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Bachelors in Political Science and International Studies from Birmingham University.

Sophie Hicks

Program Assistant

Sophie Hicks joined the Freedom Fund in February 2018 as a Program Assistant. Previously, she worked as a Program Development Officer for African Revival in London.

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Prior to this, Sophie was based in Gulu, Uganda with African Revival, where she worked as a Communications and Fundraising Field Officer. Country experience also includes Tanzania and Togo, where she worked for eight months for grassroots NGO SADIL-TOGO. Before moving into International Development, Sophie worked for the British Council in Istanbul, Turkey as an English teacher.

Sophie holds a MSc with Distinction in Violence, Conflict and Development from the School of African and Oriental Studies, and a BA in Philosophy from Durham University.

Orla Jackson

Monitoring and Evaluation Officer

Orla Jackson joined the Freedom Fund as Monitoring and Evaluation Officer in January 2018. Prior to this, she worked at DAI, a development sector consultancy which implements a range of projects aimed at raising living standards and enhancing long-term development across many countries in Africa and Asia.

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At DAI, Orla managed a number of programs funded by the UK Department for International Development. Her work included managing large-scale economic development and governance programs in Ghana, Nigeria and Nepal. Country experience also includes Rwanda, Ethiopia and Nicaragua where she worked for six months for a grassroots NGO. Orla began her career as an analyst working for an international private sector management consultancy, before moving into international development. Orla graduated from the University of Leeds with first class honours in International Relations and is currently studying for an MSc in Applied Economics at the School of African and Oriental Studies.

Meg Kumar

Strategic Partnerships Manager

Meg joined the Freedom Fund in July 2017. She is responsible for grant management and supports relationships with institutional foundations. Prior to that she was a Consultant Development Officer for Crisis Action, an NGO that works to protect civilians in conflict, where she managed relationships with major funders in the international human rights donor community, including foundations and governments.

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Meg has a legal background and has supported research in international criminal law and international human rights law at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and as a Research Assistant for an Associate Professor of International Law at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. She began her career as a banking and finance lawyer and holds a Master's in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oxford.

Yuki Lo

Senior Research & Evaluation Officer

Yuki joined the Freedom Fund in June 2016. She leads our work to measure the impact of our investments in countries with the highest incidence of slavery, and drives the Fund’s support for research, evaluation, and knowledge-sharing across the broader anti-slavery community.

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Previously, Yuki was Manager of Evidence, Measurement and Evaluation at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, managing research and evaluations in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya and Tanzania. Prior to that, Yuki was at UN Women Cambodia assessing the impact of its ending violence against women and economic empowerment programmes.

Before switching to the international development sector, Yuki was in the finance industry and worked for Nomura, Lehman Brothers and Accenture. Yuki holds an MSc in Development Planning from University College London, and a BSc in Information Technology from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Zoe Marshall

Director of Finance & Administration

Zoe Marshall joined the Freedom Fund as Director of Finance and Administration in July 2018.  

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Zoe graduated with a degree in Politics and Economics from Newcastle University before joining Deloitte to train as an accountant. After gaining her Chartered Accountancy qualification, Zoe transferred into Deloitte’s Charities Team, working with clients such as Christian Aid, Tearfund, Mencap, Samaritans and the Disasters Emergency Committee. She left Deloitte to join international development charity Concern Worldwide (UK) as Director of Finance and Operations where she worked for nine years in total - including spending one year on secondment in DR Congo.

Immediately prior to joining the Freedom Fund, Zoe worked for a medical research grant making charity called Fight for Sight as Director of Finance and Resources for two years. 

Amol Mehra

Managing Director, North America

Amol Mehra joined the Freedom Fund in May 2018 as Managing Director, North America. Amol is an international human rights lawyer by training, focusing on business and human rights and corporate social responsibility.

Amol has worked to build accountability frameworks in both domestic and international arenas, including over private military and security companies, around supply chains and extractives industries, and has worked to strengthen measures related to non-financial disclosure, anti-corruption, procurement and due diligence regimes.

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Previously, Amol was the Executive Director of the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, an organization harnessing the collective power of progressive organizations to push governments to create and enforce rules over corporations that promote human rights and reduce inequality.

In addition to his work as Executive Director of the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, Amol serves on the Advisory Council for the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights, as a Coordinating Member and Thematic Specialist for Amnesty International USA, on the Advisory Council for Ranking Digital Rights, on the Advisory Council for the Center for Business and Human Rights at NYU Stern, on the Human Rights Advisory Committee of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and as a Board Member of GoodWeave.

Amol's work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Forbes Corporate Social Responsibility and Leadership Section, CSRWire, the Guardian Sustainable Business Section, National Public Radio (NPR), as well as in various legal journals and periodicals.

Sarah Mount

Senior Program Officer

Sarah joined the Freedom Fund in March 2018. Sarah has over ten years experience in human rights and legal project management in Asia, Africa and Australia. Most recently, Sarah worked for three years at Anti-Slavery International as the Asia Program Manager. In this role, Sarah worked in partnership with local organisations on projects focused on improving safe migration and preventing human trafficking and forced labour of migrant construction and domestic workers and on addressing bonded labour in the agricultural and brick kiln sectors.

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Sarah has also lived and worked in India and in Australia, working both in human rights and indigenous land rights. She is a qualified Australian solicitor and holds a Bachelors degree in Law (Honours) and Arts from Monash University Australia as well as a Masters in Public and International Law (Honours) from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Erin Phelps

Strategic Partnerships Manager

Erin Phelps is Strategic Partnerships Manager in the Freedom Fund’s New York office. She joined the Fund in May 2016. Previously, she served as Strategic Initiatives Officer for GoodWeave International, a non-profit working to end child and forced labour in the carpet industry and other sectors. She has also worked with several U.S. organizations serving immigrant communities, including designing and organising Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service’s first Refugee Leadership Academy.

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Erin is a 2012 recipient of the Fulbright Student Research Grant to Nepal, where she conducted qualitative research with Nepali children and teens whose parents had migrated abroad for work. She has contributed to migration-related publications and projects through the Nepal Institute of Development Studies and IOM Nepal, guest lectured at Tribhuvan University and presented at the Nepal National Conference on Migration. She has also been a regular contributor to The Migrationist, a collaborative international migration blog.

Erin received her BA in Sociology from Pomona College in Claremont, California, and completed courses in Nepali studies and language with Pitzer College in Nepal.

Cat Townley

Team Assistant and Office Manager

Cat Townley joined the Freedom Fund as Team Assistant and Office Manager in April 2018, providing support to the Executive Assistant to the CEO and the programs team.

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Previously, Cat worked at a Technology firm as their Human Resources Manager. Prior to that she worked in Los Angeles in a rehabilitation centre for survivors of human trafficking and also worked for a pregnancy crisis centre. She is currently completing a Master’s Degree in International Law.

Dan Vexler

Director of Programs

Dan Vexler joined the Freedom Fund as Director of Programs in June 2014. Dan oversees the Freedom Fund’s research and grant-making activities around the world, including its seven hotspot programs in regions of high prevalence of slavery. Dan was previously Head of Program Quality and Impact at CARE UK, an international NGO fighting global poverty and injustice. At CARE Dan oversaw programs aimed at increasing political participation and economic opportunities for people living in extreme poverty.

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Prior to joining CARE, Dan was based in Juba, South Sudan with the National Democratic Institute, where he managed an influential nation-wide public opinion research program. Before this, he was Director of Research at the International Crisis Group. Dan has led research on a range of issues on four continents. He holds degrees from McGill University and the London School of Economics.

Hannah de Ville

Senior Program Officer

Hannah de Ville joined the Freedom Fund as Senior Program Officer in September 2017 and is currently overseeing a number of developing program opportunities, including in Myanmar, as well as the Freedom Fund's mental health global initiative.

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Hannah brings a wide range of country experience, having been based in Nepal, Ethiopia and Sudan. She has worked for several INGOs - Plan International, Mercy Corps, International Alert and Human Rights Watch - on a large cross-section of issues, including protection of children, peacebuilding, civil society capacity building, humanitarian relief and international justice. Hannah holds a Masters degree in human security and conflict resolution from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a Bachelors degree in international politics from Barnard College at Columbia University.

Christopher Zoia

Communications Manager

Chris Zoia joined the Freedom Fund as Communications Manager in the New York office in October 2016. Chris is responsible for the production and promotion of the Freedom Fund’s print and digital content, including reports, website, social media, video and e-newsletters.

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Previously, Chris managed the communications of the U.S. Council for International Business, a trade association focused on international policy. Before that, he worked as a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focused on international economics and development, and he coordinated Carnegie’s Economic Strategy Roundtable series. He has contributed to The Atlantic magazine.

Chris holds two master’s degrees, one from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and one from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, where he double majored in political science and English.

Our Network of Consultants

Deepika Reddy Allana

Program Officer

Deepika Reddy Allana is based in New Delhi, India and serves as a consultant with the Freedom Fund, overseeing the Rajasthan hotspot. She has over 12 years of experience in law and policy, and leading social sector projects. Previously, Deepika worked at ICF International as the Anti-Human Trafficking Team Leader for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. She oversaw, executed and monitored a multi-faceted capacity building program for anti-human trafficking NGOs.

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Deepika has worked for several NGOs in Washington, D.C. as a public policy attorney, advocating on issues related to human trafficking, women’s reproductive health and gender.  She started her career practicing intellectual property law for six years at large corporate law firms. Deepika holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Tufts University in Psychology and Public Health, and a law degree from Boston University.

Muna Basnyat

Program Advisor

Muna Basnyat joined the Freedom Fund in March 2018 and has been co-managing the central Nepal hotspot. Previously she has worked with different NGOs and INGOs in Nepal as a full time employee as well as a consultant. She worked extensively with Terre des hommes Foundation in their anti-trafficking work, initially overseeing three projects in Kolkata, India and later focusing on internal trafficking in Nepal and alternative care. Her expertise lies on research, project design, building partnerships, and lobbying on the issue of human trafficking and child protection.

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She has been part of innovative projects such as managing a digital library catering to around 2,000 subscribers including researchers, development practitioners and academicians from all over the world.  Similarly, she collaborated and organized a photo exhibition titled 'Another Me' to showcase the issue of modern day slavery at various art festivals and universities globally.  As a freelancer she was involved in the evaluation of trafficking projects, research and project design. She was one of the writers of a report 'Substantive Equality: Progress of Women in Nepal (1995 -2015). Prior to coming to the Freedom Fund, she was the Deputy Director at CCS Italy, overseeing project empowering conflict affected women and girls in Nepal.
Muna has an MS from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Urban Environmental Management, with a focus on gender studies and an MA from the University of Wyoming in International Studies. Muna is also on the Board of 'Kumudini,' an NGO providing quality of care and protection to girls subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation. She is also on the Board of 'Angalo,' an organization that advocates on behalf senior citizens in Nepal.

Abhijit De

Program Advisor

Abhijit joined the Freedom Fund in August 2018. Before joining the Freedom Fund, he was Data Management Specialist at Family Health International 360, where he supported government and NGO partners on program management and monitoring and evaluation in eight north-eastern states of India.

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Abhijit is a development results-driven professional with more than ten years’ experience. He is proficient in designing and managing regional and national level programs, with expertise working with government and local communities. He has worked with various international organizations, including GIZ, CRS, FHI360, Freedom from Hunger and Futures Group. Abhijit has focused on health, livelihood and women & child protection with a strong niche in M&E, data management, and information and communications technologies for development. He has been successful working within a multicultural stakeholder environment towards addressing the issues and rights of women, children and marginalized communities.

Bala Ram Bhattarai

Program Advisor

Bala Ram transitioned to the Freedom Fund from Geneva Global in April 2018. As program advisor, he helped develop the Harawa-Charawa Bonded Labor project in the south-eastern Nepal hotspot.

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Prior to joing the Freedom Fund, Bala Ram worked on community mediation, conflict transformation, and as an activist to free marginalised communities in Nepal from bonded labour, such as the haliya, kamaiya and kamlahari. He worked as a mediator to prepare the kamaiya to act closely with Nepal’s goverment. He has prepared and presented a paper about bonded labor in Nepal and worked towards the elimination of cast discrimination in Nepal. He also worked for the Dalit and Human Rights Movement in Nepal.
Bala Ram has a Master’s degree in Sociology from Kumaun University, Naintal and a Bachelor’s degree in Law from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

Abdul Jaleel

Program Advisor

In his role as program advisor, Jaleel is responsible for implementing a client program in Tamil Nadu, India. He leads the program’s development of partnerships and coordinates with the government and community-based partners to reach the practical goals of the program. Jaleel is focused on building relationships with a variety of stakeholders, including brands and business owners, in order to reduce forms of bonded labor in the textile industry of Tamil Nadu.

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Until recently Jaleel worked as an HR welfare officer in the United Arab Emirates. In that role he helped create a fair workplace and ensure that employees’ rights and welfare were met. Previously, he worked with International Justice Mission (IJM) in India for seven years. With IJM he managed projects, and networked with NGOs and local government officials. He helped bring about structural transformation by identifying, rescuing, advocating for, and rehabilitating bonded laborers throughout India.
Jaleel is a trained social worker with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a Post Graduate Degree in Social Work from Madras Christian College, Chennai, India.

Manisha Jani

Program Advisor

Manisha Jani, based in Jaipur, India, works as a consultant with Freedom Fund for the Rajasthan hotspot. With over 14 years of experience in the development sector, she has worked with Traidcraft Exchange-UK, Margdarshak Development Services - India, IFC and The World Bank in Rajasthan.

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She has supported the World Bank funded Rajasthan Grameen Ajeevika Vikas Parishad (RGAVP) project for the development of the non-farm sector. She has managed various multilateral donor funded projects in India and worked on CSR projects related to skill building, livelihoods, institution building and capacity building of SHGs. Manisha is a member of the Fair Trade Forum of India and is an empaneled auditor for the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and European Fair Trade Association (EFTA). She completed her Masters in Social Policy & Social Development from the University of Manchester, UK and a Diploma in Rural Management from the Indian Institute of Rural Management, Jaipur.

Sachin Kumar

Program Advisor

Sachin Kumar has been working with Freedom Fund’s northern India hotspot program since July 2014. Sachin has been instrumental in devising the hotspot strategy and establishing the program in northern India. He coordinates with various grassroots civil society organisations, technical agencies, government departments and stakeholders to reduce the prevalence of trafficking and bonded labour.

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Sachin has over a decade of experience working in the development sector on human trafficking, bonded labour, livelihood security, education and gender in various parts of India. He has worked with different marginalised communities including landless farmers and salt pan workers to improve their livelihood and secure their rights. He also designed and managed multiple projects on anti-trafficking and has been part of the team which developed strategies for combating human and child trafficking in source areas.
Prior to joining the northern India hotspot, he worked with BAIF Development Research Foundation, CARE, and Catholic Relief Services. Sachin holds a Master’s Degree in Rural Management from Xavier Institute of Social Service in India.

Michelle Mendonca

Program Officer

Michelle Mendonca joined the Freedom Fund in August 2018. Prior to this, she was an independent consultant supporting frontline organizations with project management, policy advocacy and litigation. She is a published author and a guest faculty at Judicial Academies.

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In previous roles, she has overseen teams assisting in the prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence, legal research as well as training of judges, prosecutors and police. Michelle has a legal background with an Ll.B. from Government Law College, Mumbai and a Master's in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University, Pennsylvania.

Neeta Minz

Program Advisor

Neeta has been involved with the northern India hotspot since its inception. Prior to joining the Freedom Fund and Geneva Global, Neeta was involved in various client programs in South Asia, primarily in HIV/AIDs and maternal and child health.

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Before this, she worked for a decade with the government of an India-owned trading house handling international trade with Europe, Africa and Asia. Later, she joined the development sector where she designed and implemented programs to impact poor and marginalized women. Neeta holds a Management degree in Human Resource Development and Marketing.

Bala Murugan

Program Advisor

Bala has more than 20 years of experience in various capacities with different organizations. Before joining the Freedom Fund and Geneva Global, Bala worked as a child protection consultant with UNICEF and supported the district administration for the implementation of the Integrated Child Protection Project in the Salem district of India. 

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Prior to that, he worked as a program coordinator with Save the Children, UK and Save the Children, India (Bal Raksha Bharat) and was involved in the Tsunami Rehabilitation Program. He supported NGO partners for effective employment of child-centric programs and served as a training coordinator for the entire southern region of India with the Regional Resource Centre, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the government of India. Bala holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Law, and has several Master’s degrees, including Philosophy in Population Studies from Annamalai University, as well as Social Work, Women Studies, Human Resource Management, and Population Studies from various universities in Tamil Nadu. In October of 2016, Bala received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Gandhigram Rural Institute, Tamil Nadu.

Ravi Prakash

Program Advisor

Ravi is a consultant for the Freedom Fund’s new Rajasthan hotspot. He is a child rights specialist with more than 14 years of experience working on issues like child protection and right to education. He has headed the child right to education portfolio in the PACS (DFID) program and at Oxfam India.

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Ravi has worked with organisations including TATA Trusts (SDTT), Child Rights and You (CRY) and Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) in India.  He has exposure to working in many parts of the country and has hands-on experience on project implementation, liaison with government and policy engagement. Ravi holds Master’s Degrees in social work and human rights

Sunil Sainju

Program Advisor

Sunil transitioned to the Freedom Fund team from Geneva Global. In his role as program advisor, Sunil assisted in the development of the south-eastern and central Nepal hotspot strategies.

While at Geneva Global, he contributed to the implementation of the India-Nepal Human Liberty Program against the trafficking of children and women (2011-2013) with total budget of $6m. He was also successful in implementing the Legatum Foundation’s Nepal Accelerator Initiative grants. The program included grants to local NGOs that addressed livelihood, environment and women’s reproductive health.

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Prior to that, he served for two years as the Country Manager at Fair Trade Group Nepal (FTG-Nepal), a national level consortium of fair trade organizations and co-operatives in Nepal, and he served in the Country Coordinating Office of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and WFTO-Asia.

For many years, Sunil worked in different progressive positions and as the Deputy Director with French INGO Planete Enfants, whose work focused on preventing trafficking and promoting safe migration. At Planete Enfants, he lead on the design and implementation of numerous anti-trafficking programs with the support of various agencies that included the European Commission's Europeaid, UNICEF, DFID and the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND).

Sunil’s work with the Planete Enfants team was recognised by the Human Rights Award of the French Republic (1998), awarded to by the French Prime Minister on the occasion to celebrate the 50th year of the signing of Human Rights Declaration; by the Media prize of the “Fondation pour l’Enfance” (2002) and by The Initiative prize of AGFUND' Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Organizations (2003 and again in 2007).

Thripu Thiyagarajan

Program Advisor

Thiripu joined the Freedom Fund from Geneva Global in July 2018. Thripu is a seasoned development professional with over two decades of experience working on child rights and human rights issues. She is a seasoned practitioner who has worked on multi-cultural teams with various national and international organizations, including UNICEF, Save the Children, and Railway Children.

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She comes to this role after more than six years with Railway Children UK where she most recently served as a Senior Programme Officer. In that role, she oversaw the work in Southern India to strengthen government systems and services for at-risk children. She holds a PhD with research focused on migrant and bonded child laborers in stone quarries. She also has experience working directly with vulnerable communities doing post-Tsunami recovery work in Tamil Nadu and managing programs for HIV positive individuals and their families. She has a passion for working to impact positive changes in the lives of vulnerable children and families.

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