top of page

About Us

 

Mission

 

Shakti Regeneration Institute (SRI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to cultural and ecosystems regeneration and intersectional equality, empowering women, Indigenous and marginalized communities worldwide.  We focus on three of the UN SDGs: climate, equality, and education. We utilize the powers of multidisciplinary partnerships, Indigenous wisdom, science, technology, anthropology, participatory storytelling, art, film, and social movement marketing, to maximize change for good. 

Vision

 

Empowering Indigenous-led and women-led regeneration, our vision is awakening public consciousness, shifting cultural attitudes, and transforming behavior through impactful art, education, advocacy, and innovation.  We build transformative influence and mobilize social movements, to create a more just, equitable, and regenerative world. 

Overview

We provide regenerative equality-based empowerment education, literacy, and neurodiversity education, vocational training, micro-financing, homeopathic medicine, anti-trafficking, and frontline community support for low-income women, children, marginalized and Indigenous communities. Founded in 1994 in West Bengal, India, with offices in New York and Virginia, USA, with Shakti Empowerment Education Foundation (SEEschool) and Ramakrishna Vidyapith, our foundation has supported over 8,000 students. Our powerful collaborations have helped raise over $26 million for nonprofit partners, and over 1.8 billion impressions of our multimedia images, films, and public service announcements.

Recognition

 

Our work is recognized by organizations such as the United Nations with a 2018 Women’s Entrepreneurship Distinguished Fellowship, at the Global People's Summit, and the Science Summit at the United Nations; by Rotary International with its Max Mark-Cranbrook 2019 Global Peace Makers Award; a CNN Expose Best Picture Award; at the Harvard University, Kennedy School Carr Center's Pride & Progress Symposium; Princeton University's The Art of Social Justice; the Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Disruptive Innovation Award; and as XPRIZE Rainforest Semifinalists 2023.

"The work that this organization is doing, with so much compassion, this must inspire us all." -- Suhel Seth, Journalist.

Leadership

UN_INDRANI+PAL-CHAUDHURI-crop.jpg

"Internationally recognized for her extensive work on social causes” (Priyanka Dasgupta, Times of India)

Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri Founder & Executive Director

Born in Bengal and raised volunteering with Mother Teresa and the Ramakrishna Mission, as a teen, Indrani co-founded SRI / SEEschool after trekking across India. Discovered by Bowie and Iman, who launched her career as a photographer and director, she is a TEDx Speaker, and has worked with 25 nonprofits and 300 global brands. She is recognized at the United Nations as a Women’s Entrepreneurship Distinguished Fellow and co-host of both its Science Summit and Global People’s Summit. Recipient of the Max Mark-Cranbrook Global Peace Maker Award, Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award, CNN Expose Award and 2 Gold Lions at Cannes, her work is exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, Center Pompidou, and Australian Center for the Moving Image, on HBO, BBC, Bravo, NY Times, Vogue, & Vanity Fair. Co-founder of Open Origin, DXStudios, CMO at Neuralign, she is the co-lead of the XPRIZE Rainforest Semifinalist team. Indrani graduated with High Honors in Anthropology from Princeton University, and lectures at Princeton on "Mobilizing Millions with Art and Film for Human Rights and Social Change".  www.indrani.com

 

Ajay_portrait4.jpg

Ajay Pal-Chaudhuri Founder & Chairman

Ajay grew up in his family's historic home in Ranaghat. Inspired by his father who devoted his life to meditation, Ajay grew up dreaming of uplifting those in need. Studying at the Ramakrishna Ashram Vidyapith in Bihar, he then received his degree from Calcutta University, and moved to London, England, to become a Certified Chartered Accountant. When he returned to Kolkata as the CFO of British Oxygen, he volunteered with Mother Theresa and with the Ramakrishna Mission. After working for decades in the UK and Canada, he retired and returned to create with his daughter Indrani a charitable school in their family home. Now in his mid 80’s he continues to inspire students and teachers with his dynamic words and music.

craig hatkoff.jpeg

Craig Hatkoff  Board of Advisors

Hatkoff is cofounder of the Tribeca Film Festival, the Disruptor Foundation, and Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards, with the father of disruptive innovation theory, Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen. Hatkoff began his career at Chemical Bank, a pioneer of the real estate securitization industry, and cofounded Capital Trust, serving as a board member and chairman. He is co-author and founder of Turtle Pond Publications, a leading publisher of Scholastic children’s books, including #1 New York Times bestseller Owen & Mzee. He received his MBA from Columbia Business School where he is an adjunct professor, and created the course on Disruptive Innovation. He serves on the NYSE Board of Directors: SL Green (SLG) 2011- present; Colony Capital (CLNY) 2019-present; Taubman Centers Inc (TCO) served 2004-2019. His previous and current Non-Profit boards include: Mandela Institute for Humanity; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; Borough of Manhattan Community College Foundation; Scholastic Young Artist and Writers Awards; Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, Wildlife Direct, and Wild Bird Fund.

Rosane Puyanawa copy.jpg

Txukukaytxi Rosa'ne Puyanawa  Board Member and Director of Indigenous Communications

Txukukaytxi Rosane, is a proud Indigenous Youth Activist and communications facilitator for the Puyanawa Tribe of Guardians of the Amazon, in Acre, Brazil. At 20 years old, she is also a spiritual guide, leading ceremonies at home and across the world. An advocate of Indigenous culture and music, she is a talented artist and singer, and recently released her album “Puya Tour Adetera”. Rosane traveled to Singapore as a Semifinalist in the XPRIZE Rainforest on the ACTNOW Amazonas team, and is a speaker at the Science Summit at the United Nations during the General Assembly 2023.

Screenshot 2023-08-29 at 10.44.34 PM.png

Sherif Nahas   Board Member

Sherif Nahas has been the director of private equity and real assets at the Ford Foundation since July 2009. Prior to joining Ford, he served as the director private equity and real assets at University of Virginia Investment Management Company for eight years. He is currently a board member at the Reset Foundation, a movement to disrupt the prison to poverty cycle. Nahas holds an MBA in finance from the University of Michigan and an M.E. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia. He also holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.  

Tom.jpg

Tom DeSanto  Board of Advisors

Tom DeSanto is the founding writer/producer behind the X-Men and Transformers films. Inspired by social justice themes and an exploration of the intersection of technology and humanity, they are some of the biggest franchises in movie history, grossing more than $6 billion worldwide at the box office, in addition to billions more in home video, merchandising, and video games. DeSanto has also produced several social issue docu-mentaries including Lost in America which deals with youth homelessness and Kidnapped for Christ, which puts a spotlight on abusive evangelical camps for children.

 

During the COVID-19 pandemic DeSanto co-founded Facts2Health in partnership with the CDC Foundation to activate Hollywood to help in messaging in the battle against the virus. DeSanto created the Heroes Wear Masks campaign which enlisted pop culture heroes to join the global battle against COVID-19. The website and social media program helped change the narrative on wearing masks helping people, especially children and young adults, understand that you wear a mask to protect others. The campaign was cited for excellence in social media in 2021.

 

DeSanto’s world-building continues into the world of digital medicine as he is a Co-Founder of NeuroAnimation. The company uses computer animation and virtual reality to help people recover from stroke and other neurological medical issues. The cutting-edge technology is twice the current standard of care for stroke recovery.

Puwe 1.png

Puwe Puyanawa  Board Member and co-Lead of the Sacred Forest Project

One of the main spiritual and social leaders of the Puyanawa Tribe, known as Protectors of the Amazon, in Acre, Brazil, Puwe has a degree in Biological Sciences, and is a teacher at Ixubay Rabui School. As President of the  Puyanawa Community Association he has dedicated 30 years to rescuing and preserving the Amazon, Indigenous culture, and spiritual traditions. He has been working with sacred medicine for 16 years. In 2013, with his mentor Benki Piyãko, he began traveling to make known their community's history and seek support from the global community for their work in protecting the forests and biodiversity. Puwe is a Semifinalist in the XPRIZE Rainforest on the ACTNOW Amazonas team, and a speaker at the Science Summit at the United Nations during the General Assembly 2023.

Krishna Palchaudhuri Board Member
and
 School Principal 

Krishna has dedicated her life to empowering the most low-income children and women of India. After losing her parents as a child, she took on the responsibility of raising her many younger siblings. She became an eminent educator focusing on humanities-oriented education. SRI's Shakti Empowerment Education - Ramakrishna Vidyapith has been fortunate to have Krishna as its strong-minded principal for over two decades. She runs the day-to-day operations of the school and women's empowerment with firm positivity, ensuring that students receive a good balance of humanities, practical education, sports, and music, and makes sure that the staff receives the training and support they need to provide a holistic, loving atmosphere to empower their students. She oversees SRI's Ayurvedic / Homeopathic Free Clinic, and provides yoga classes to community elders.

Eugene_slought 3_edited_edited_edited.jp

Eugene Brave Rock  Board of Advisors

Brave Rock is one of the best-known Indigenous actors worldwide, with his hard hitting roles in AMC's Dark Winds and The Stranger, and his standout role as "The Chief" in Wonder Woman (2017) alongside Gal Gadot. He advocated to bring the first Blackfoot words spoken on the silver screen, and to bring Blackfoot mythology to life with his character, setting up the first Indigenous superhero. 

 

An advocate of ecological, cultural and linguistic regeneration, Brave Rock is the founder of the OKI Language Project. Born and raised near the Rocky Mountains on the Kainai (Blood) Reserve, he began his career as a stunt person in "Buffalo Bills Wild West Show" at Euro Disney in France, and worked on the Oscar-winning film "The Revenant." He is a keynote speaker at institutions such as Princeton University for “The Art of Social Justice and Anti-Racism”, Slought foundation at University of Pennsylvania on “Representation, Symbolization, and Indigeneity,” Stanford University on "Indigenous Food Sovereignty," and the Science Summit at the United Nations on “Digital Democracy for Climate Action.”

gerald.png

Gerald Nebeker  Board Member

Dr. Nebeker has two doctoral degrees, one in management of nonprofit organizations and the other in behavioral health. He is considered an expert in nonprofit governance and has consulted with over 50 nonprofit organizations, providing pro bono board training and strategic planning facilitation. He founded the nonprofit organization RISE, Inc. in 1987 to support people with various developmental disabilities, now operating in Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, Florida, and Utah. He created Orange Socks in 2016 to educate new parents of children with disabilities. In 2021 he founded the nonprofit Nebo Children’s Fund to move orphanages in Uganda from donation dependency to self-sustainability. He has served on many local and national nonprofit boards and helped many nonprofit organizations incorporate, establish relevant missions, and monetize them through relevant strategic plans.

Thanks for your support!

I-AM-Iman.jpg

Iman

"Not only does award winning photographer Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri create magnificent images… Indrani also grasps the meaning of giving-back!  Indrani and her father, Ajay Pal-Chaudhuri started SEEschool in West Bengal, which provides free quality education and vocational training for women and children.... Indrani embodies talent and social conscience."

 

- Iman in the foreword to ICONS: The Celebrity Exposures of Markus and Indrani (Perseus Press, 2021)

Deepak Chopra

Deepak's Chopra Foundation has supported SEEschool by donating many books to our Library, and linking to our foundation on its website in 2010. The Chopra Foundation is dedicated to improving health and well-being, cultivating spiritual knowledge, expanding consciousness, and promoting world peace to all members of the human family - missions which SEEschool wholeheartedly shares.

Suhel Seth

 

Columnist, Financial Times, Hindustan Times, The Telegraph, and Indian Express; Founder and managing partner of Counselage India; Chairman, Marketing Committees of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).

"Shakti Empowerment Foundation, run by Indrani’s father at this advanced age is so beautiful, it’s an example of how we should all be. It is not just a duty, it’s a moral obligation to make sure that everyone is supported... The work that Indrani and her dad are doing, the work that the NGO is doing, with so much compassion, this must inspire us all." 

- Suhel Seth at #United4India Clubhouse, 2021

SEEschool_music2.jpg

Shakti Empowerment Education Teachers and musicians lead students in traditional cultural performance, 2020.

Shakti Empowerment Staff

15 teachers

5 teaching assistants

3 administrators

5 children’s helpers

5 kitchen staff

1 medical doctor at our Free Clinic

1 information technology specialist

Our Mission

MISSION

Empowering women and girls, setting them free from oppressive systems, to unleash their potential for regenerative change.

“Shakti” is the Sanskrit word for the feminine creative energy of life and love.

“Regeneration” is a term that includes cultural and ecological renewal, consciously building the capacity to respond to climate change and encourage transformation.


FOUNDATION & RAMAKRISHNA VIDYAPITH RANAGHAT, WEST BENGAL SCHOOL

Providing regenerative education, front-line community support, vocational training, and micro-financing for the lowest-income children and women.

Shakti Empowerment Education Foundation and its school Ramakrishna Vedanta Vidyapith provide front-line support, free quality education, literacy, vocational training, and micro-financing for 300+ low-income and marginalized women and children annually in both Ranaghat, West Bengal, and with global partners. Working in collaboration with the community, families, teachers, and volunteers, to support female empowerment and provide innovative interventions to address gaps in the system for students from the lowest-income families, and from indigenous, marginalized, and refugee communities. We also provide resources and support to protect from the risks of early marriage, child labor, trafficking, and domestic violence. SEEschool teaches the values of regenerative original thinking and problem solving “outside the box,” equality, collaboration, spirituality, music, culture, and sports, and respecting those of different genders, faiths, and backgrounds.

We are small but mighty - we are dedicated to our students and community, many of whom return after graduation to support the next generations. 100% of proceeds go to those in need.

SEEschool_postcard3_4mtFL.jpg

OVERVIEW

History

SEEschool was founded in 1994 in Ranaghat, West Bengal, India, by co-founders Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri and Ajay Pal-Chaudhuri in their ancestral home. At first they had to go door-to-door in the community, to ask families to let at least one of their children gain an education instead of working in the fields and factories. These students were often expected by their families to bring home education for their siblings as well.

The current modernized school building was dedicated in 2002 to provide 300+ students with education and meals. High School Coaching classes are provided in the Pal-Chaudhuri Gupinath Mandir and Gardens. In 2005, the foundation expanded to provide literacy and vocational training to mothers and women from village communities, and found that they are able to dramatically improve the circumstances for their families, empowered by our microfinancing program. Women's Education classes are held both in Ranaghat and in the villages outside Kolkata.

Founders

Indrani is “Internationally recognized for her extensive work on social causes” (Priyanka Dasgupta, Times of India). She is a Princeton University Visiting Lecturer, a United Nations Women’s Entrepreneurship Distinguished Fellow, a Max Mark-Cranbrook 2019 Global Peacemaker, and executive director of the Shakti Regeneration Foundation and SEEschool. Born and raised in Bengal volunteering with her parents with Mother Teresa and the Ramakrishna Mission, she traveled the world as a teen model/actress, and returning to India for a cross-country pilgrimage, initiated by Swami Bhuteshananda, she realized the need to co-found SEEschool. Ajay, her father, is an 86-year old Chartered Accountant, who left a comfortable retirement in Canada to co-found and run the charitable foundation as its devoted Chairman.

Awards & Press

SEEschool is featured in numerous publications including Times of India, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, Indian Express, Marie Claire, DTK Canada, South Asia Magazine, Soma, featured on Larry King Live, in the Double Exposure documentary series on US TV channel Bravo /NBC and Fox worldwide, and on the Princeton University website. Our work is recognized at the United Nations with a 2018 Women’s Entrepreneurship Distinguished Fellowship, by Rotary International with a Max Mark-Cranbrook 2019 Global Peace Makers Award, by CNN with a 2018 Expose award, and by the TFF 2019 Disruptive Innovation Award.

We Need Your Support Today!

bottom of page