Founder & Director of PRAYATNATM
She holds a B.A. (Psychology) from Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. (Developmental Psychology) from Harvard University. When she was in college, she wrote an essay on wanting to start a centre for children with learning difficulties. In 1998, she was awarded a Fellowship by the Echoing Green Foundation, New York to establish PRAYATNATM in Bangalore, and was thus able to realize her dream of creating a child-centered space for kids to achieve their potential. She considers PRAYATNATM her ‘baby’ and has nurtured it since inception. Besides finding creative and fun ways to help children acquire academic skills, Aruna writes for leading newspapers like THE HINDU and Mint on issues related to psychology and education. She also enjoys reading, painting and calligraphy.
Divya Suresh, Branch Head
Divya Suresh has been working with PRAYATNA since 2010. She has a Master’s degree in Psychology from Bangalore University. Although she started her career in a start-up as a counsellor where she worked for a year, she found her true calling as a Special Educator in PRAYATNA. The satisfaction of seeing kids improve by leaps and bounds is what motivates and drives her at work every single day. While PRAYATNA keeps her mind and body busy, she soothes her soul with books and travel .
Kavita has completed her M.Sc. in Counseling Psychology and B.A. Honors in Psychology from Christ University, Bangalore. Her passion for the subject and her love for working with children led her to pursue a career in Special Education. She has an avid interest in fine arts and is a trained Kathak dancer. In her free time, she also enjoys painting, music and baking.
Jerusha Samuel has a M.Sc in Counselling Pychology from Sampurna Institute of Advanced Studies and a B.A in Sociology-Anthropology from St. Xaviers College. Her love for kids and interest in the field of special education brought her to Prayatna. Her interests include music and reading. In her free time she likes to binge watch TV shows and eat out and spend time with friends.
Ashwini Bhat has a Master's degree in Psychology, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, English and Economics from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. She loves being around children and her interest in techniques used in improving language skills led her to Prayatna. She enjoys reading, writing, and watching sketch comedy shows in her free time. She also loves to learn about cultures and languages from different parts of the world, and wants to travel to different places. She enjoys listening to music and is fond of animals.
Priyanka Jacob has completed her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Christ University, and her Bachelor’s in Journalism, English and Psychology from St. Joseph's College. Her love for children and passion for the subject brought her to the field of special education. She is an artist and is passionate about music. In her spare time she likes to paint, play the guitar and read crime fiction. She loves to travel and explore new places.
Kushal Bailur, Branch Head
Kushal Bailur, a post-graduate in Psychology, has been a part of the PRAYATNATM team since 2006. Even before that, she worked as a part-timer at PRAYATNATM while doing her undergraduate studies at Mount Carmel College. She holds that period very important in her life as it helped her make her career choice as a special educator. Being a voracious reader, she was overwhelmed when she first interacted with the children at PRAYATNATM, who due to their reading difficulties were missing out on the wonderful world of books. It was then she decided that helping children with learning difficulties was what she wanted to do. Kushal heads the Prashantnagar branch of PRAYATNATM. Besides reading and teaching children, she enjoys sports and travel.
Nanditha Prabhu has completed her Masters in Psychology from Montfort College, Bangalore. Her firm belief that children teach us to be more aware and mindful about the present made her pursue a career in Special Education. She is a voracious reader. In her free time, she loves watching TV shows, painting and listening to music.
Sharmili Chatterjee has completed her Masters in Psychology from Jain University, Bangalore. Her love for children made her pursue a career in Special Education. She is passionate about expressive therapy and loves reading about it. She is an animal-lover and is the proud parent to her rabbit. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and reading comic books.
Gita Nambiar, Branch Head
Gita Nambiar holds a Master’s in Psychology and has been working at PRAYATNATM from 2005. These have been some of the most enriching years of her life. Each day, a child may pose a new challenge and teaching kids the three R’s has been a gratifying experience for her. While she teaches, she has also learnt a great deal. While working at PRAYATNATM, over the years, she has also enjoyed the company of her younger colleagues, who have made her feel young at heart with their enthusiasm. Besides teaching, she enjoys reading, writing, listening to music and gardening.
Supriya Raja always wanted to do something “different” from childhood. She found her calling in 2008 when she joined PRAYATNATM. She feels that children have taught her just as much as she has given them. She also admires the dedication of parents who raise children with special needs. Supriya enjoys travelling and listening to music and sampling various cuisines. She believes in living life to the fullest with a young heart. Supriya holds a Master’s in Psychology.
Crystal Nikita S. J., completed her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Christ University, Bengaluru. She loves dreaming about new possibilities and is passionate about art, soulful music, and inspiring biographies. Her greatest desire is to positively transform the lives of children and adults who have difficulties coping. Helping others is her true calling. Further, she believes that determination can help surmount any obstacle and would like to inculcate the trait of perseverance in children.
Kritika Gupta has done her Masters in Applied Psychology from Amity University,Noida. She was working on raising awareness about learning difficulties as a counselling psychologist in Amritsar, her hometown, when she got married and moved to Chennai. She wanted to continue working in the field of Special Education and found PRATATNA to be really helpful in training her and enhancing her knowledge about learning difficulties. She is a big fan of Sigmund Freud and like him, believes that childhood is the most important stage in a person’s life. As a stress-buster, Kritika likes to paint Mandalas.