Meenu Vadhera, mother of eight-year-old Aranya (means: “of the forest”) has been associated with the development sector for a while. Gender issues and women’s rights rank high on her agenda. Her initial years were spent in little-known rural spots for perhaps lesser-known NGOs. But the defining point in Meenu’s life were a decade ago — a stint in Africa, and a fruitful adoption process that brought home Aranya.
Meenu spent five years in Uganda heading Country Operations for ActionAid — an organisation aimed at ending poverty and patriarchy. She says of Africa: “ You’ve seen Lion King? It’s a little bit like that, animals moving about freely.”
Meenu and Aranya have been back in India now. And while Aranya’s days are spent juggling school and park games, Meenu has taken a break from the NGO sector, and is in the process of giving Delhi a by women-for-women taxi hire service. The project is underway, but will still be a while before it rolls out.