Board of Directors
Nidhi Goyal, Executive Director
A disabled feminist activist from India, Nidhi Goyal has been working on disability rights and gender justice since a decade. Her work spans research, writing, training, campaigns, advocacy, and art. She has been invited on the core group of persons with disabilities by the National Human Rights Commission, India, is on the diversity and inclusion task force of FICCI, and sits on the advisory board of Voice, a grant making project by the Dutch ministry. She has just completed her term as President of Association for Women’s Rights in Development and as a global advisor to UN Women’s Executive Director. She works to raise the profile of issues at the intersection of disability and gender through op-eds, journal articles, and lectures in national and international forums. She influences organisations, systems and structures, policies and human rights discourses to be more inclusive in national and global spaces.
Nidhi has been committed to changing lives of persons with disabilities and has worked with a range of National and global women’s rights, disability rights, and human rights organizations, including Point of View, Human Rights Watch, Sight Savers, and CREA. Her work on disability, gender, diversity and inclusion have made way into many corporate offices and policy spaces.
Nidhi is also India’s first female disabled stand-up comedian and uses humor to challenge prevailing notions about disability and gender. At 15, when Nidhi started losing sight and learning to live a full life with her disability, she promised herself that she would work to extend opportunities for growth to other people with disabilities who did not have access to the family support, resources, and privileges she drew upon for support. Rising Flame takes this commitment forward. You can follow Nidhi’s work on Twitter @saysnidhigoyal.
Neha Goyal, Co-Director
Dr. Neha Goyal is a Mumbai-based practising dermatologist and cosmetologist. In practice for the past eight years, Neha runs Dr. Neha’s Skin Klinik, provides medical services through renowned local hospitals, and regularly presents papers at conferences and seminars. A Gold Medalist in her MD, Neha secured her MBBS degree from KEM Hospital Mumbai, and held a Fellowship in Pediatric Dermatology and Lasers from Singapore.
Neha is committed to offering affordable and quality health care to underprivileged persons and works to realise this goal through her practice at Charitable hospitals and institutions; contributing expertise at free medical camps held at her clinic and by community groups and social clubs; and through volunteering to provide guidance on health and gender with charitable trusts like Balaji Health Foundation and non-profits like Point of View.
A sister to two disabled siblings, disability rights and empowerment is a personal issue for Neha. She believes that much more needs to be done to create a just and equal world where all persons with disabilities live dignified and fulfilling lives, She has co-founded Rising Flame to help reach that goal.
You can follow Neha’s work at @DrNehaSkinKlinik
Shikha Silliman Bhattacharjee, JD
Shikha is a lawyer and researcher. Her research and writing takes an interdisciplinary and transnational perspective in understanding the capacity and limitations of the law to address systematic violence for marginalized communities, including persons with disabilities, women, and labour migrants. Shikha holds a BA in English and Ethnicity, Race, and Migration from Yale University, a JD and Certificate in Global Human Rights from University of Pennsylvania Law School, and is pursuing a PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy from University of California, Berkeley.
Shikha’s work is informed by more than a decade of experience working with grassroots campaigns and civil society organizations in the U.S. and South Asia, using legal, research, media and community organizing approaches. Shikha has been an Ella Baker fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, and a Fulbright Fellow at Swayam. She has worked with numerous organizations in South Asia including Human Rights Law Network, Jan Sahas Social Development Society, PRADAN, the Society for Labour and Development, and Women’s Fund Asia.
In 2015, Shikha jointly founded HELM Social Design Studio, the first social design studio in South Asia dedicated to partnering with human rights defenders and their organizations to ideate, fund, and build social design solutions that promote human rights and access to justice.
You can follow Shikha’s work on Twitter @shikhaphone and access her research publications at https://berkeley.academia.edu/ShikhaSillimanBhattacharjee.
Ashish is a portfolio manager in a leading macro hedge fund. His experience as an investor in the international financial markets spans the past decade, his area of expertise lies in global macroeconomics, with a specific focus on Asia.
In 2015, Ashish was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. The first visually impaired student to have graduated from Wharton Business School, Ashish has the distinction of becoming the first visually impaired trader in the world. Ashish has been honoured by the President of India with India’s highest civilian award for a disabled individual, the National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. At Wharton Business School, his peers selected him to receive the annual Joseph P. Wharton award given to individual who best represents the “Wharton Way of Life.”
In the past few years, Ashish has raised thousands of dollars for [charitable causes including] education for underprivileged children in India, blindness research, and international peace. Passionate about theatre, Ashish is also a supporter of The Print Room, a new theatre based in London. Ashish represented the London Metro Club in the domestic UK Blind Cricket Tournament, which his team won.
You can follow Ashish on Twitter @insaneodyssey.
Richa Kaul Padte
Richa Kaul Padte is a writer and editor. Most recently, she is the author of critically-acclaimed nonfiction book Cyber Sexy: rethinking pornography, published by Penguin Random House India in May 2018.
Richa is also the co-founder of the award-winning publication Deep Dives, which specializes in long form storytelling around issues of gender and sexuality, and the co-author of www.sexualityanddisability.org, a pioneering online resource on disability, gender, sexuality and violence. Her writing has appeared in several publications including VICE, GQ, Buzzfeed, Racked, Rolling Stone, Extra Crispy, The Caravan Magazine, and India Today.
Richa has worked extensively within various women's and sexual rights movements across India and the UK. Her work is available at richakaulpadte.com.
You can follow Richa on Twitter @hirishitalkies.
Janet Price is a disabled feminist active in queercrip politics, and is based in Liverpool, United Kingdom, with links to Taranaki, New Zealand. In Liverpool, she is on the board of DaDaFest, a disability and deaf arts organisation with a growing global reach. She has also made long-term academic contributions to the gender groups at Liverpool University and at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Through friendships, Janet has a connection of over 30 years with social justice activism in India. In particular, she has been involved with CREA, a Delhi-based feminist, human and sexuality rights organisation. Over several years, she has helped enhance CREA’s involvement with disability issues, increase the presence of disabled people in their staff and training and ensure inclusion of disability as an aspect of intersectional understanding. In addition, Janet is a partner in the creation of a coalition of groups working in disability, sexuality and justice across Africa.
Janet hopes that the expansion of disability art will enhance all people’s understanding of the prejudice disabled people face, the battles they must fight daily and the skills, talent and insight they bring to ways of living life fully and with pleasure. Janet writes intermittently, contributing through blogs, discussion papers and occasional journal and book articles, commonly jointly authored.