The Parenting Matters team has 7 facilitators who are certified parent educators (certified from Echo Parenting and Education, Los Angeles) including two experienced counsellors, a psychology major and a professional social worker. All facilitators have worked in conducting workshops and running long-term programs with parent groups in schools,neighbourhoods and in business organisations.
L to R (top) : Mala, Prasanna, Snigdha, Sunitha, Samanta, Seema and Sujata
L to R ( bottom) : Prerna, Mrinalini, Kesang and Manasi
Kesang did a Masters in Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences and worked in the field of education and rural development before having children. As a mother she discovered how challenging it is to raise a child and how little training and preparation for this task is available in our society. This motivated her to mobilize other parents and set up Parenting Matters, initially a volunteer-run organization based on Montessori philosophy. The aim was to create forums for parents to learn, share their experiences and grow together.
She has been facilitating parenting groups and workshops since 2004. She believes that small interactive groups are a very powerful tool for learning. She also writes articles for Parent Circle magazine, the Hindu and other publications and has short online videos on Parenting.
Her goal is to create awareness so that the task of parenting gets the importance it deserves in society, and as many people as possible raise their children with sensitivity and understanding.
Mrinalini Ponappa Banerjea
Mrinalini has a 5-year college education in Social and Child Psychology.
She joined as an active participant with the parenting matters group at Harrington Road in 2007 for two years and then joined the facilitator team. She has been facilitating sessions and workshops for parents of the children particularly in the 0-6 years age group since 2009 in schools and resource centres.
She was keen to explore a very important stage of our lives, our childhood. She realized the time that we spend as children with our parents and siblings is so definitive in character building that made her sit up and take a fresh perspective of the time she was spending with her children.
Mrinalini enjoys doing research on different areas of parenting and contributes to building content for the team.
Prerna is a graduate in commerce and has done a 3 year course in software programming.
It was in 2006 when a friend invited her to join 'Parenting Matters' as a participant. She was amazed at the concepts discussed and how implementing them, changed her, making her an aware and connected parent. Having experienced the benefits of the programme she was enthused to spread the word of parenting with awareness.
After intensive training, she joined the team and has been conducting workshops and facilitating groups since 2007 in a variety of settings- neighborhood centers, schools, business organisations and women’s groups. She has actively participated in shaping the organisation to its present stature as she takes on a leadership role in many areas.
Prerna believes that every parent must receive support in the all important task of bringing up children. Therefore she is passionate about exploring new and different way of reaching out to parents through varied mediums from workshops to social media platforms to help them create nurturing family environments.
Seemanthini Iyer has a Masters in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and was in the Banking sector before choosing to be a stay at home mum after the birth of her first child. Her second child followed soon after and this was followed by a move back to India where providentially she got to know about Parenting Matters and the work they do. Following their work with great interest, she joined the team in 2015 when her younger one started preschool.
After seeing the impact of the work and how valuable and practical the knowledge shared was, as a participant, she knew that this was a field and an organisation she would love to be a part of and found her passion for it very naturally.
She finds the vision of empowering parents, very inspiring and believes that supporting parents through this crucial role is important both for parents and the children and derives immense satisfaction from this work as she believes that this is her teensy contribution towards making the world a better place for the coming generations.
Coming towards the successful completion of her intensive training she has begun facilitation and is looking forward very eagerly to her certification!
Snigdha ChavanSnigdha Chavan is a Chartered Accountant by qualification with 6 years of experience in the field ,and also with one of the Big 4 accounting firms. She joined the Parenting Matters team in 2013.
She attended the course as a participant, felt completely at home with the philosophy and methodology and knew that this was work that she wanted to be deeply involved with. With her husband’s work requiring extensive travel and no family close by to support her, she knew she wanted to help spread the word for parents with similar challenges.
An avid motorcyclist, she has been on numerous motorcycling trips, her favourite ones being the ones to Ladakh, which she has completed thrice!
She enjoys facilitating small and large groups and loves the work as she can see how we can meaningfully impact the lives of so many children by touching their parents’ lives.
Sujata Vasant Dewaji
Sujata holds a degree in Engineering.
The year 2005 was significant when she chanced upon an opportunity to attend a parenting program. It made her rethink her ‘definition’ of a parent. A year later she joined Parenting Matters and is one of the many pillars on which the organization stands.
She worked for 3 years with one of the first long term groups and through exploring and learning with them got an in depth understanding of the issues parents face today. This helped her to create new modules for organisation.
As a trained facilitator, she enjoys interacting with parenting groups at schools and has had her articles published in the ‘Parent Circle’ magazine. She believes that a nurturing environment for the child enriches the family and the society at large.
Her husband and her two children are an integral part of a continually evolving foursome.
Sunitha is an B.Com graduate. She believes in a positive approach to parenting. When she heard about a program for parents of teenagers, she enrolled immediately as she wanted to have a deeper bond with her children during the difficult teen years.
After she experienced the benefits of this method, she was inspired to support other parents and hence joined the team. She has been facilitating groups since 2009, both for parents of teenagers and for parents of the 0-6 age group as she believes the foundation for the parent child relationship begins at birth.
She is at present the coordinator of the team as she has a love for organising and planning. She is a Reiki Grand Master who does healing and also teaches Reiki.
Facilitating and meeting of parents in these workshops gives her fulfillment as she travels along with them in their journey of discovery.
Mala Saharia is a graduate in fine arts from University of Bombay. She was a counsellor with Sanjivini Society for Mental Health Delhi, for over 8 years, during which she received extensive training from experts in the field and gained rich practical experience.
She moved to Chennai in 2007 and discovered Parenting Matters. Convinced and impressed with the potential of the program, she found a direct connect between her experience as a counsellor and their objectives. The skills that she learnt at Parenting Matters helped her form a stronger bond with her sons and have also enhanced other relationships in her life.
She took on the task of developing and conducting weekly workshops for parents of adolescent children. Facilitating groups, supporting parents through the crucial, sensitive years by sharing what she has learnt gives her a lot of satisfaction. She is keen to reach out to parents and believes that parenting adolescents can be a truly fulfilling and enriching experience.
Manasi, a lawyer and a Company Secretary by profession realized early in her working years that all she yearned for was a connection with people.
She pursued a Diploma in Counseling Psychology from Fergusson College, Pune and has worked as a mentor for the subsequent batch. She has also worked as a counselor in J.N. Petit High School, a school for boarders as well as day scholars and facilitated group therapy for Muktangan Mitra, a de-addiction and rehabilitation centre in Pune before moving to Chennai after marriage in 2011.
A common colleague introduced her to the organization and their core values and belief systems appealed to her. She sees a lot of value in group therapy and recognizes that the members with the support of the other group members draw a lot of strength to meet the issues before them. She could identify with the purpose of working with groups of parents, as a way of creating a better environment for children to grow into healthy well rounded beings.
Renuka Kumar did MBA and worked with a multinational company for 2 years before getting married and moving to Chennai from Delhi.
After having her children she realised that how challenging parenting could be and was seeking better ways of doing this important task. She then came to know about the weekly sessions held by Parenting Matters and joined the program.This helped her understand the behaviour of children and empowered her to parent with awareness.
Implementing the learnings from the sessions brought her amazing results especially in her relationship with her children. After being a participant in the program for a year she joined the team in ………She has facilitated in schools, some independent groups and conducted one time workshops.
The success stories of parents attending the sessions motivate and inspire her to spread the message of positive parenting to as many people as possible.
Kalpana Sundar qualified in the U.S as a Certified Public Accountant. As a parent of two children whom she brought up initially in the US and then in India, she was exposed to differences in child rearing practices in both cultures which made her want to look at parenting issues in greater depth.
She is a founding member of Parenting Matters and from 2004 has been facilitating groups of parents of all age groups ( 0-6 years, 6-12 years and teenagers). Her passion is to work closely with smaller groups over a period of time so that she can share in their changes and discoveries. She has also worked with parents one on one to help them build skills and deepen their understanding of their children.
She believes that working on oneself as a person is an important part of becoming aware of oneself as a parent. She would like Parenting Matters to be able to touch the lives of people from all backgrounds and strata of society as parenting is an experience we all share though the challenges may vary.