Managing Trustee & President
Urja Shah is the President of Setco Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Setco Group of companies. The Setco Foundation implements the Setco Group’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Under Urja’s leadership, the Setco Foundation is today recognized as one of the key innovators in the field of integrated community health and childhood development. The foundation received “The Best Corporate Foundations” award on World CSR Day by the World CSR Congress. The Setco Foundation has also been featured in a book “ Small but Beautiful” on meaningful and innovative social change, published by the Ministry of Industries, Gujarat.
Urja holds an M.A. in Environmental Economics and Policy from Duke University, Nicholas School of Environment, along with a Certificate in International Development Policy from Duke University, The Sanford Institute of Public Policy (Year 2000). She also holds B.S. in Environmental Science, Toxicology and Chemistry, summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Year 1998).
Urja lives in Mumbai, India with her husband, Harshal Shah, and their son, Hrehan. Together they enjoy scuba-diving, judo, designing, traveling, hiking, watching movies, music and spending time as a family.
Dr. Joshi is a pediatric occupational therapist by profession. Post her career as an associate professor at the O. T. School and Center at the K. E. M. Hospital in Mumbai, she was the Director of Occupational Therapy and Training at Ummeed Child Development Centre, Mumbai. At Ummeed, she developed the training modules for the unique one year “Child Development Aide” Training Programme in which community workers are trained to monitor early child development and provide support to families of children with developmental disabilities.
Over the years, Dr. Joshi has conducted over eighty workshops and training programs all over India and abroad for registered regional and national professional bodies and forums and for parents of children with special needs on occupational therapy intervention. In this year alone, she was invited by the All India Occupational Therapists Association and the Nagpur Branch of Occupational Therapists, the Kuwait Ministry of Health, and the Manipal University of Allied Health to name a few.
Dr. Joshi has received much recognition for her work. In 1994, Dr. Joshi received the International Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study at the University of South California where she was trained in sensory integration techniques. In 2012, she was invited as an expert by UNICEF, India, to work on developing a screening tool for early childhood development. In 2013, she received the SPANDAN award from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and National Trust India in the category of ‘The best professional to have worked with individuals with disabilities’. In June 2014, she was elected on the Board of National Trust of India, a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Government of India which was set up under the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities” Act (Act 44 of 1999).
Dr. Joshi has authored many research papers and books and she is very often a guest speaker, panelist and key note speaker at professional workshops and conferences and television programs across India. Presently, she is an expert advisor and trainer for Muskan Foundation in Mumbai and Association for Welfare of Mentally Handicapped Persons in Maharashtra.
Sweta is passionate about women’s empowerment and the children's welfare. She gained her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and began working with the foundation in 2015. Prior to Setco Foundation, she was working as a facilitator for the Avehi-Sangati Program at Muktangan Schools.
Sweta began her work at Setco Foundation by developing the content and audio-visual aids for training field staff in basic pertinent health topics such as feeding, pre-natal and post natal care and nutrition. She is currently working on the development of the PlayPal: Sports for Inclusion training programme. In her spare time, she enjoys art and is a cellist with the Bombay Chamber Orchestra.
She is an occupational therapist and founder of Little Joys Paediatric Rehabilitation Centre. She works with families on a range of developmental disabilities involving client evaluation, treatment planning, one on one and group intervention for children with special needs. She is also the c0-founder of TreeOfHappyness (TO which is a social network platform dedicated to bridge the gap between professional services and the Special Needs and Differently-abled communities.
Prior to her work as a private clinical practitioner, Dr. Saadiyah Merchant was the Head of the Early Intervention Center (EIC) at Ummeed Child Development Center in Mumbai. The EIC is a specialized, group therapy program for children with special needs between the ages of 2 and 5 years and Dr. Merchant planned and implemented a curriculum for these children based on their functional abilities in addition to supervising the EIC team members. Dr. Merchant is a lecturer and has several additional certifications to her medical degree which include “Handwriting Without Tears”, “PEERS Social Skills training program for teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder” and “Oral Motor/Oral Sensory Issues in Children- An NDT Perspective”.
Dr. Merchant also offers consultation services to children from various parts of India including Gujarat, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Rajasthan and also to children from China and Middle East where professional resources are scarce. Given the dearth of skilled special needs and shadow teachers, Dr. Merchant is extremely keen on strengthening the skills of teachers and parents who work with special needs children.
Dr. Hemal Parikh is an Occupational therapist (1994), and founder of the Enliven Therapy Center which comprises of a multi-disciplinary team of specialists in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, counselling and remediation, and autism intervention therapy,for children and adults. In addition to her Bachelor of Sciences degree in Occupational therapy, Dr. Parikh has been certified in Cortico–sub cortical rehabilitation, Neuro-Developmental therapy (U.S.A.), Sensory Integration (University of Southern California, U.S.A.), and recently in Therapeutic Listening.
Before founding the Enliven Therapy Center, she worked as a Senior Occupational therapist with the S.P. J. Sadhana School and with Dr. Vrajesh Udani at the Child Development Clinic at the Hinduja Hospital. She was a Consulting Occupational therapist at the ADI School for Children with Autism at the Nair Hospital, and is presently offering her consultancy services at the Gilder School for the Developmentally Handicapped, Kshitij Sheltered Workshop and Vocational Centre, VConnect Foundation for the Hearing Impaired and EAR. She has also co-authored a research paper for the NDTA Network entitled “NDT and Autism”.
Dr. Parikh’s passion lies in helping children and adults with special needs, and adults with neurological dysfunctions. Her goal is to ensure that children and adults alike are able to cope and overcome their functional problems and add life to their years.
Dr. Khyati Dharia is presently the Director of Services at Theraplay, a multi-disciplinary pediatric clinic in Mumbai. She has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from G.S.M.C and K.E.M.H. (Mumbai). In addition to her degree, she has been certified in Sensory Integration from University of Southern California (U.S.A.) and also in the Bobath Concept from the Bobath Child Center in the United Kingdom.
Over the years, Dr. Dharia has been working closely with schools and health care professionals to provide family centered services. Prior to being the Director of Services at Theraplay, Dr. Dharia was an occupational therapist at the S.P. J Sadhana School. She was also a consultant for the Pediatric Therapy Network in Los Angeles in the fall of 2007. She is presently a consultant for the Let’s Talk Clinic and the Paediatrics NDTC and Research Center. Dr. Dharia is a member of the All India Occupational Therapists Association and the Maharashtra State OT/PT Council.
Her aim is to make a difference in the lives of all those she serves by using the latest techniques available from research and continued education in the field of occupational therapy.
An occupational therapist and gold medalist in the field, Shriharsh is presently the Assistant Professor at the O. T. School and Centre at the T. N. Medical College and the B. Y. L. Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai Central. He also serves as a honorary consultant for the Institute of Psychological Health, Kelshikar O.T. P.T. Rehabilitation Centre and Swayam Rehabilitation Centre, all located in Thane. He is a member of the All India Occupational Therapists’ Association (AIOTA) and is presently an executive member of the Mumbai Branch of AIOTA branch.
Dr. Jahagirdar has also written several research papers published in the Indian Journal of Occupational Therapy. His international publication “Together we can!” Working with family and caregivers of children with developmental disability was published in the World Federation of Occupational therapists’ bulletin. In the book publication called Occupational Therapy: Changing quality of life in children with special needs, Dr. Jahagirdar, has contributed by writing a chapter on “A guide to home based rehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy.”
Dr. Jahagirdar has been a part of several training programmes, conferences, workshops and camps, and is also a resource person and trainer empowering parents and teachers of children with special needs. He has also been a guest speaker on television shows like “Swastha Bharat” on Sahayadri TV and “Career Mantra” on Star Maza.
After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy in Mumbai at the Seth G.S. Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital in Mumbai, Priyanka, went on further to secure a Master’s Degree in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy) at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. As part of her master’s degree, she has been trained in Falls and Balance Dysfunction: PT Management and Intervention and Evidence Based practice Clinical Considerations for The Spine, Lower extremity and Upper extremity.
She has attended numerous workshops and has volunteered for the Paraplegic Foundation at Sion Hospital, the National Paraplegic Games and the Standard Chartered Marathon as a part of the Asian Heart Institute. Priyanka is also currently associated with Alchemy for physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
Dr. Chaula Badiani, is an occupational therapist for over 15 years and is the Founder and Clinical Director at Reach Therapy Center for Children, Mumbai for the last 6 years. She received her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from University of Illinois, Chicago, IL (USA). In addition to her Master's Degree she is also certified in many specialised techniques, namely in sensory integration, neuro-developmental therapy, aquatic therapy, therapeutic listening and early intervention, among others.
Dr. Badiani has immense experience in her field. Prior to founding her therapy center, Dr. Badiani worked in the U.S.A. as a paediatric occupational therapist in early intervention, outpatient and school settings. Later, she offered her consultancy services as a paediatric occupational therapist at Ummeed Child Development Center and privately consulted with families for occupational therapy and aquatic therapy.
She has conducted numerous workshops on topics such as Sensory Integration, Sensory Processing and Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Handwriting, Supports for maintaining attention in schools and classrooms, Introduction to neuro-developmental techniques etc. These workshops were conducted for teachers, parents and professionals. Dr. Badiani is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and adults with visible and invisible disabilities and engages in projects which help her to do so. Currently, Reach Therapy Center for Children also has a secondary center and provides consultancy services at the American School of Bombay.
Parul Kumtha is currently the President of Forum for Autism, a parent support group. She is also a counselor at Ummeed Child Development Centre and Adult Support Kendra.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture (with Honours) from the University of Mumbai. She has diversified her qualifications by studying Conservation of Biodiversity from the Bombay Natural History Society and Built Heritage Conservation Studies with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region-Heritage Conservation Society.
If there is anyone in Mumbai who is a stalwart in the advocacy for special needs, it is Parul. She comes with strong experience in advocacy, parent and family support and school outreach.