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Team

 

Meet our Team

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Our hardworking team consists currently of volunteers from Germany, Canada, India, Netherlands.  They all live in and around Auroville and receive no payment from the project. We are consequently able to spend an exceptional 98% of the funds we receive on college fees.

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Stephanie Bussmann

Founder

Stephanie Bussmann, German, has lived in Auroville for 19 years. Stephanie has NGO experience through her work in the Auroville Tsunami Relief and Rehabilitation Project. She has worked for the financial administration of the city of Auroville. She is the founder of the Reach for the Stars project and is responsible for finances, reporting and organization.

Mukta Martens

Executive

Mukta Martens grew up in Auroville and after studying abroad moved back here with her family. She has experience in the field of development and while working for another Auroville project, she takes care of the management and administration for Reach for the Stars.


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Poovizhi

Management Team

Poovizhi hails from Edayanchavadi, where she now serves as a point of contact. She was sponsored by Reach for the Stars in 2013 for her Bachelor's degree and again in 2021 for her Master's in Computer Science Engineering. In addition to her studies, she has been a steadfast supporter of our team's activities for years and is now an integral part of the management team.

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Saravanan

Management Team

Saravanan is born in Kuilapalayam. In 2012, we supported his Bachelor of Engineering (ECE) degree, and when he shifted focus, we assisted him in obtaining his Bachelor of Education in Mathematics in 2017. He now teaches mathematics at Aikiyam School. A few years ago, he became an Aurovilian. Saravanan has been dedicatedly supporting our team for years, and he is now part of the management team.


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Kumari

Management Team

Kumari was born in Kuilapalayam and grew up in Martin's Boarding in Auroville. We supported her during her Bachelor's studies in English in 2016 and during her Bachelor of Education in 2020. During her last degree program, she taught our students English on Sundays. Since last year, Kumari has been part of our management team.

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S. Shankar

Contact Kuilapalayam

S. Shankar, Indian, from the village of Kuilapalayam. Shankar is a long-term resident of Auroville and has a Master's degree in Tamil, and second language teacher training from the Mysore Institute. He has taught Tamil in Auroville schools and as a second language to adults in Auroville for over 20 years. He also teaches Tamil language and culture at the University of Washington in the USA . He is the Principal of Aikiyam School, a school adjacent to Kuilapalayam and supports our project as the representative for this village.


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John Zandbergen

Selection Team

John Zandbergen, Dutch, joined our team in 2013 as member of our selection team. He worked as an ICT engineer in the Netherlands before joining Auroville. John teaches programming at Auroville's Future School, builds websites and other software for clients inside and outside Auroville.

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Priya Sundaravalli

Selection Team

Priya Sundaravalli, born in Pondicherry, grew up in Madurai. Priya trained as a doctor in India and went on to study biomedical engineering and industrial engineering in the USA, where she lived for 10 years. She joined Auroville in 2002 and has been involved in journalism, teaching, and currently runs a pottery unit called 'Pottery Sipapu'. Priya is a member of our selection team.


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Francis P. Neemberry

Organisation

Francis P. Neemberry came to live in Auroville in 1968. His long association with Auroville and work in the Auroville Land Fund makes him an a person of valuable experience in matters of village dynamics and relations. Francis will be a consultant to our recruiting team and provide advice and support for the selection process.

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Elaine Phillips

English Teacher

Elaine Phillips hails from Canada and has been living in the villages surrounding Auroville for many years. Today, she is an Aurovilian. Besides teaching our English class, she organizes exciting field trips and visits to various projects in Auroville. Through her, our students not only learn English but also become acquainted with the unique aspects of Auroville. Additionally, Elaine places great emphasis on imparting important life skills to the girls.


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Rajan Naidu

Communication

Rajan Naidu, born in India, grew up and educated in UK. Experience: human rights education, campaigning, environmental, social issues, consultancy. Has worked with children with special needs. In Aikiyam School organised a very fine organic garden; joyful participation and achievement. Works, when in UK, with people feelings suicidal. Rajan helps with communication.

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