Have a scroll and meet the team behind Friendsline
Avisha Patel, Founder
As soon as I was old enough to understand life, I realised that if you had a voice, there was no option but to use it for all those who could not be heard. My ambition is to use simple video seminars to transform mental health access for women in developing countries. Our team strongly believes the empowerment of women is the key to sustainable development. It is hard to believe that we live in a world where 67% of all illiterate adults are women, 1% of the titled land in the world is owned by women, and that 70% of the 1.2 billion living in poverty are women and children. Until statistics such as these are diminished we do not plan to stop.
Ameer Patel, Trustee
I’m currently exposed to a myriad of gender equality issues as Head of the government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) – a joint unit between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Home office. Before that, I joined the FCO a year and a half ago as Syria Political/Military Desk Officer. Over the past six years I have spent the majority of my post university career as a trader for a number of investment banks. I have also had the fortune of travelling the world for two years. It was during this time where I realised the magnitude of challenge facing women and girls globally. Friendsline is unique as it utilises technology to break down the barriers between us and a gender equal society. I have the privilege, as a trustee, of helping set the direction of the charity as we look to change both the perceptions and lives of women.
Sabree Thakrar, Trustee
From a young age I have believed in the importance of helping those living in less fortunate circumstances, having raised funds for orphanages and volunteered at schools and homes for the elderly. My passion for Friendsline lies in its ability to build the confidence and economic skills of women and girls, which is so crucial for the sustainable development of communities worldwide. While working in financial advisory and through my passion for economics in developing countries, I am also able to apply a commercial mind-set into the work of Friendsline, to help effectively expand the reach of our mission for generations to come.
Ashling Chin, Trustee
Volunteering is my passion. As a result of this, I’ve become a bit of a nomad over the years, travelling far and wide to seek out new experiences, meet interesting people and to try and help them in any way that I can. Having worked in developing countries such as Tanzania and Sri Lanka, I have been exposed to the challenges that are experienced by women, and how it affects their everyday lives. This is what drew me towards Friendsline, an organisation who are tackling the issue of gender inequality from a whole new standpoint, Mental Health. I’m a strong advocate for this cause and am very happy to be part of a team that wants to drive change in this area. When I’m not travelling, you can usually find me working as a Risk Analyst in London, or hiking up a mountain somewhere in the Lake District…
Maninder, Mentor and Impact Lead
My path crossed with FriendslineUK, when I heard a very confident young girl sitting in the panel of speakers, at Harvard School of Business, explaining how Friendsline is using online yoga seminars and workshops to bring about a change in the lives of girls and women in difficult circumstances, through mental health promotion and mindfulness .This was year 2016 and I was doing my MBA in Boston. Having worked with poor and marginalized people in India for nearly 15 years, as a public health specialists working for various national and international non-profits, I knew there was a dire need for preventing mental health problems like depression, anxiety and the resulting social isolation. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to collaborate because online resource creation and dissemination is just the need of the hour in LMICs where resources allocated to mental health are meagre and the burden of disease is high with only the tip of the iceberg being seen and acknowledged.
I am currently studying for an MA in Politics, Development and the Global South. For too long theories of development have ignored the voices and power of women. I am passionate about the fight for gender equality and believe that this is the key to sustainable development. Through Friendsline, I am excited to have the opportunity to empower women in less fortunate circumstances and become a part of this growing global network.