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Ms. Poonkothai Chandrahasan comes from an illustrious political family from Sri Lanka. She studied in Chennai for her schooling and college. After completing her Masters degree in communication, she spent time on the Harvard University campus to do a diploma in film making from NYFA. She has also directed many documentaries on refugees and human rights. She is now the Director of new programmes at an NGO called OfERR www.oferr.org which works for the upliftment of the Sri Lankan refugees and also for the local marginalised communities in Tamil Nadu. She is very passionate about social work and giving back to the society. Poongkothai was also an actress in the Kollywood industry and has been in the fashion industry from a very young age. She started Serendip in 2016 to help rural women and underprivileged children of Chidambaram village in Tamil Nadu. Also, she has two dogs, Bambi and Ronaldo who are the apples of her eye!
Dr. A. Xavier Raj, an experienced Anthropologist, Development Sector Specialist and Human Centred Design, is a Professor of Entrepreneurship Management at LIBA, Chairperson of C.K. Prahalad Centre (LIBA), Adjunct Faculty (Honorary Position) in National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), IISc. Campus (Bengaluru) and Executive Director of Loyola Inclusive Innovation Impact Centre (L3iC) at Loyola Campus (Chennai). Xavier has 15 years of work experience as business head in global market research and consulting with various firms. He is also an expert in nuclear energy, artificial intelligence, inclusive manufacturing, science communication, etc. With his vast experiences he advices Serendip and guides it along its path of being a new social enterprise in this competitive world. Serendip started off as an idea and he helped us in executing it and giving us direction. Thanks to him serendip is also a part of Loyola Inclusive Innovation Impact Centre (L3IC) and so we get the support of distinguished professionals. It is a great honour to have someone of his calibre leading our team. “Serendip Boutique (SB) has global aspiration to source, manufacture, distribute, trade and retail goods. SB shall engage, involve and benefit economically disadvantaged producers, manufacturers and processors. SB shall target growing consumer segments, which is conscious of social, economic and environment responsibilities of each individual.” -Dr Xavier Raj
Thenmozhi is Serendip’s director and CFO. She came from Jaffna to India due to the devastating war in a boat. She joined OfERR (Organisation for Eelam Refugee Rehabilitation) in 1990 and she has since worked with refugees and has over 30 years of experience in the field of social work. She is now the head of women empowerment unit at OfERR has been instrumental in starting 600 self-help groups in the refugee community and they now have a saving of about 2 crores! She joined Serendip because she thought it was an innovative idea and jewellery is always on demand- the silver lining is that it empowers women, which is what Thenmozhi’s passion is. She oversees the finances of Serendip and is a constant inspiration to us!
Gandhimathi is a Sri Lankan who came to India in 1990 as a refugee due to the devastating civil war. She was only 19 years old when she was forced to leave her country. She lived in thenpallipattu Refugee camp which is in Tirruvanamalai for the longest time. then she relocated to Chennai in 2006 and joined OfERR. Currently, she is the head of productions for Serendip Boutique & Serendip Be the Change, designing and handcrafting the collections. Adding to this she also trains other Refugee women and vulnerable Rural Indian women to become Serendip producers. “I have faced a lot of difficulty in my life since I was young. I had to ee from the violence in Sri Lanka and start a new life here. Adjusting to life in a refugee camp, as a refugee was a struggle, and I underwent a lot of suffering. through Serendip I learned to make jewels, to do accounts, dealing with retailers and giving training for rural women in Chidambaram etc. It gave me nancial stability and it helps in me to pay the school fees for my son. Serendip completely changed my life!” - Gandhimathi
Anujan is a young asset for Serendip. He is a student of Economics at Loyola college, Chennai and has come from the central province of Sri Lanka. He came to India with the dream of being an Economist but enjoyed his time working for Serendip and now wants to be an entrepreneur. Anujan spends all his free time voluntarily working for Serendip and is involved in different verticals; he handles logistics, finance and marketing. He was impressed with the concept of a social enterprise and was moved by the work Serendip does and hopes to learn about the it from his time with us. Plus this also adds a practical aspect to what he does in his university. Anujan is the most enthusiastic and youngest core member of Serendip! His constant dedication, hard work and empathy for the cause played an important role in kickstarting Serendip
Nagalakshmi came to India as refugees in 1990, fleeing the devastating Sri Lankan civil war. She comes from the Kilinochchi area and has since lived in the Sri Lankan Refugee camp in Tamil Nadu. She was only 18 years old when she came and has had to overcome many struggles in her life. During the 2004 Tsunami she helped the affected women gain income by giving them tailoring and handicraft training for more than 1,000 people. She makes bags and jewels for Serendip Boutique. Her training is very valuable to us and it also gives employment to numerous women in the rural villages.
Giridharan is the auditor of Serendip Boutique. He has experience in auditing for companies from various sector in local and international regions. He specialises in taxation and also has experience with banking sector audits. He is also a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) . Giridharan been an encouraging presence since the inception of Serendip because he believes in the idea. He has helped the enterprise every step of the way and has spent countless days providing the founders with coffee and encouragement!
Swaroop is an auditor for the Serendip Boutique. He has an expertise with taxation in local and international organisations. He is also involved with Income Tax appellate authorities in India and is an sssociate member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Swaroop executes the vision of Serendip Boutique. He has helped the enterprise throughout the process and has given the staff encouraging advice and guidance!