OUR VISIONA gender equal society in which girls & women* can exercise their rights.

adolescent girls (10-18 year) and young women (19 – 25 year) who are discriminated against because of their sex, sexuality, ability, caste, class, creed, religion, geographic location and/or economic background.

OUR MISSIONLeverage the power of sports* to create ecosystems that empower girls & women to fulfil their Potential

*Maitrayana uses the definition of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace (2003) ‘all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental well-being and social interaction, such as play, recreation, organized or competitive sport, and indigenous sports and games.

Our values


doing the right thing


the right way


with dignity


for all, with all

Our Goal


Adolescent girls and young women access their rights towards sexual reproductive health & GBV, economic justice


Families and communities work together to Families and communities work together to and make decisions about their lives.


Stakeholders in the society will take measures to advance gender equality

The Three Pillars



Empowering adolescent girls and young women

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Influencing families and communities

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Ecosystem building with other stakeholders in society

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The Young People’s Initiative

The Young People’s Initiative (YPI) is a sport for-development programme that uses sports and life skills to empower adolescent girls (between the ages of 10-18) and young women (19 – 25 year). It provides girls and young women access to safe spaces in sport and builds their leadership. The YPI was piloted in India in 2006 and has since reached out to 130,000 participants. Currently, Maitrayana implements the YPI in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.

What is the problem that the YPI addresses?

Girls and women in India – and especially those who are discriminated against because of their sex, sexuality, ability, religion, caste, economic or geographic background - are not fully able to exercise their rights as a result of gender biases, patriarchal mindsets and social structures leading to gender inequality. A lack of knowledge and the ability to voice their concerns or to make themselves heard on issues round Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Gender Based Violence, the lack of places safe spaces to discuss this as well as the limited presence of women and their leadership in public spaces make it difficult for girls to access many opportunities that are available for boys, among them access to sports.

What is our solution?

The core of the programme is a sport (netball) training in and awareness building of life skills, education and leadership development to empower adolescent girls and young women to exercise their rights and achieve their potential. The YPI provides girls and young women with access to a safe space for sports through which they can also acquire knowledge on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, develop life skills, become confident, stand up for themselves and become leaders in their families and communities. With sport taking place in public spaces, gender stereotypes are challenged. The YPI works with families, communities and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment in which girls and women can access opportunities and their rights.

How does it work?

Adolescent girls (10 – 16 year) participate in sessions (duration up to ten months) in the community. They play netball and learn life skills from young female coaches – role models - who have been participants in the programme. This is where the journey starts for girls learning to play netball in a community that often discourages girls playing netball. Their presence in public playgrounds starts challenging gender stereotypes. Family and community members see girls in leadership, developing skills,taking decisions, managing themselves and each other and having fun! YPI Pragati participants play a netball league in their community and Udaan, a city-wise tournament for community teams.

The YPI also uses other modalities that can be tailor made to address specific needs::
  • Essentials, a short life skills programme with interactive games for 16 – 18 year old girls/young women used where netball can’t be used as a tool
  • Camps, a short 5 days netball and life skills programme used where YPI Pragati can’t be run e.g. in residential settings, with NGO partners, outside Delhi, Bengaluru or Mumbai
  • Events, one-day activity to meet a specific need as defined by the host or to include those girls who can’t be reached otherwise.

Sport offers many girls and young women Leadership opportunities. With their age and ability responsibilities have the potential to increase. As the YPI programme aims at helping girls to understand and claim their rights, they participate in action project in which they address problems that they see in their communities. Peer leaders support girls in their batch, club leaders manage the netball club activities and Community Sports Coaches intern as co-facilitators while they’re developing employability skills. Girls playing in Maitrayana netball clubs are role models in their communities.

They play together, manage their clubs, discuss topics that are important for their present and future regarding their rights, gender, sexual reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence, study and career. They engage in positive activities, are fit and inspire other girls. Through netball leagues, girls can build their skills, excel in their sport bringing them to the highest netball skills levels in India

The YPI runs an economic empowerment programme that supports girls and young women to work towards their education- and career goals. It recognises that young women need to set goals in their lives, learn hard- and develop soft skills, and need mentoring to address the barriers that they face such as lack of mobility, gender-based-violence, division of labour etc) in a country were less than 25% of the women constitute the workforce. They are provided with guidance, training programmes and industry exposure through internships which often lead to employment.

Our Team Changing The WayWe Look At Women’s Empowerment

Dr. Sanjay Patra


Dr Sanjay Patra is the Executive Director of the Financial Management Services Foundation (FMSF). He is widely recognised in the Voluntary sector as a social activist and writer. Dr Sanjay has been a part of several national, government, and international committees focused on civil society subjects.

With 25 years of experience in the Voluntary & Development Sector, Dr Sanjay is part of the visiting faculty for Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), Greater NOIDA and Haggai Institute, Singapore and Hawaii. He is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Dr Sanjay holds an M.Com and degrees from the Ravenshaw College of Cuttack. He is also an ex-member of the Task Group formed by the Planning Commission for drafting policies on the Voluntary Sector.

Sandeep Sharma


Currently, the co-founder of INDIAdonates and the Director of Programmes at Financial Management Service Foundation, Sandeep Sharma lends his expertise in Capacity Building, Financial Management, Legal Issues and Governance aspects to several NGOs in South Asia.

The co-author of a book on “Handbook for Social Audit of NGOs,’ Sandeep is also the co-editor of Half Yearly Journal Interface and a visiting faculty for Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH), Greater NOIDA. Sandeep holds a Masters degree in Rural Management from the Faculty of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Rural Management, Jaipur.

Reshmi Shankar

Board Member

Reshmi is a seasoned FM professional who brings in 22 years of in-depth knowledge and skills in areas of Workplace Strategies, Human Experience (HX), Change and Culture Management, Integrated Facilities Management (IFM), Sourcing & Procurement, BCP, Emergency & Disaster Preparedness and Project Management.

A highly passionate and motivated communicator, she has the ability to manage multiple stakeholders across varied portfolios. She currently heads the Facilities Management Group at Wipro Limited and manages the groups assets and infrastructure portfolio spread across India and Bangladesh along with the Central Material Function.

Navin Gupta

Board Member

Navin Gupta is the Managing Director of South Asia & MENA at Ripple. Navin has extensive experience in global transaction banking, payments and cash management, and strategy planning following nearly two decades working for HSBC and Citigroup across the U.S., Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, and India. During his tenure as Head of Payments and Cash Management for HSBC Japan, the business was transformed and voted the #1 Cash Management Bank in Japan by Euromoney. He was also a chief architect of HSBC’s global initiative on Working Capital and Liquidity Management and in 2008 was recognized as one of “The 50 Most Promising Young Leaders” in Asia-Pac by The Asian Banker. Prior to joining HSBC, Navin worked at Citigroup in San Francisco as a global relationship manager for technology, media and telecommunications clients. He joined Citigroup as a management associate shortly after graduating from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona. Navin is a former board member of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Navin currently lives in Mumbai with his wife and two children, and is an Art of Living teacher.

Kalyani Subramanyam

Board Member and Chief Executive Officer

A passionate advocate for gender and social justice, Kalyani has worked for over 25 years in the Indian development sector. In her previous role as the COO of The Naz Foundation (India) Trust, she piloted and implemented the Young People’s Initiative and oversaw the execution of all programmes.

As the CEO, Kalyani brings in a strategic perspective to the strengthening and building of Maitrayana into a resilient organization. She ensures the smooth functioning of all programmes, develops and curates resources, and represents Maitrayana as a fierce advocate for gender equality.

Kalyani is a Vital Voices Lead Fellow, the Dasra Leadership Program alumnus, UNICEF’s International Safeguarding Children in Sport board member, and the 2017 Global Goal Summit’s Life Time Achievement awardee.

Jaya Tiwari

Senior Manager- Programmes

With over two decades of experience working in the Indian development sector, Jaya has worn many hats. Since 2009, Jaya has been responsible for the overall implementation of the Young People’s Initiative (formerly Goal programme) across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and through partners in Tamil Nadu and Punjab. She ensures high quality execution of the programme, manages grants and is instrumental in the further development of the YPI. Jaya manages a team of 70 young leaders and builds relationships with a variety of stakeholders.

She has attended various leadership conferences organised by Dasra (India), American Express, Women Win (Netherlands) and Laureus (UK) and has been a member of Global networks like Vital Voices and Woman Sports Leadership Academy (University of Chichester).

Jaya holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development, S.N.D.T University, Mumbai and wrote her post-graduation dissertation on Home-Based Care for People Living with HIV.

Shailendra Badola

Chief Financial Officer

Shailendra has 15 years of experience in accountancy, auditing, inventory management and taxation. He specialises in conceptualizing and implementing cost-effective and efficient new-age compliance systems.

With a long experience working with social impact organizations such as The Naz Foundation (India) Trust and Magic Bus, Shailendra has a knack for ensuring efficient utilization of funds, flawless controls and compliance to laws.

As the Chief Financial Officer for Maitrayana, Shailendra oversees the organisation’s finances and oversees the financial planning, management of financial risks, record-keeping, and financial reporting.

Vivek Gaur

Senior Manager - Sustainability

Vivek has 18 years of experience learning, creating and leading high-quality sports interventions. In his previous organization, Vivek rose through the ranks to become a part of the organization’s senior leadership team.

With his passion for sports, he has volunteered in the 2010 Commonwealth Game’s organizing committee, International Hockey Federation (FIH) men’s World Cup, and the 2017 FIFA under 17 men’s World Cup.

As Maitrayana’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, Vivek looks after strategizing and managing partnerships and fundraising activities. His diverse skills are vital in establishing and strengthening relationships with donors and external stakeholders.

Vrushali Sawant


Benefitted from sports as a player, mentee, and later as a coach, Vrushali believes sports can promote holistic development and provide opportunities otherwise inaccessible to vulnerable groups.

Vrushali started her professional journey with Magic Bus. She then joined the Young People’s Initiative (YPI) as a coach under The Naz Foundation (India) Trust and became the Mumbai City Coordinator in 2013. Vrushali believes in creating a space free of gender and other social hierarchies to allow players to achieve their highest potential.

As the Learning & Advocacy Coordinator, she brings
13-years of learnings and insights on the role of sports in
gender empowerment to make our programmes more
accessible and impactful.

Employment opportunities Come be a part of the team

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