One to One: Anima Gupta Aggarwal

Keith Vaz Wednesday 04th October 2023 07:41 EDT

Anima Gupta Aggarwal is a philanthropist, entrepreneur and active leader in multiple charities and NGOs. She has twenty-five years of experience working across the corporate and not-for-profit sectors in the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands and India.

She sits on the Executive Board of Pardada Pardadi Educational Society UK, an NGO supporting systemic change and empowerment of rural girls in India which educates over 3000 girls in Uttar Pradesh. She is also a founding member and on the Executive Board of eSHIFT Partner Network, a Swiss-based not-for-profit leader in national digital health architecture across emerging markets.

Anima has previously been employed by both The World Health Organisation and UNAIDS (Switzerland) in senior roles.

Her qualifications include an MSc in Software Engineering from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Management Sciences & Operational Research from the University of Warwick. Anima enjoys swimming, yoga and learning about holistic complementary treatments."    

Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in? 

Having lived in India, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK, I feel home is where the heart is. Home is not about a physical place but about embracing the best that your surroundings have to offer.

 What are your proudest achievements? 

Completing my master’s with a distinction from the University of Oxford, whilst working for the World Health Organisation and raising two young kids.

 What inspires you?     

Knowing that the good of humanity prevails, and that in spite of all the negative, the world is full of incredible, motivated, kind people. I am inspired by the fact there is always more power in goodness than in fault.

 What has been biggest obstacle in your career?  

Cultural norms, gender expectations and familial obligations have often caused self-doubt of my capabilities and role in the world. However, they have also taught me how to be resilient and persevere, personally and professionally.             

Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?

My mother, who has been a constant source of guidance, and physical and mental support throughout my life and career.         

What is the best aspect about your current role?

Firstly, it is having the ability to enable long-term sustainable change through Pardada Pardadi Educational Society, who educate and empower girls in the underprivileged areas of Uttar Pradesh, India. Secondly, it is being able to first-hand witness what girls are capable of when given the chance and opportunity to grow and flourish.                                                                                                              

And the worst?        

Knowing that despite the changes being made and the numerous lives being impacted by charities like Pardada Pardadi, the work being done is only a ‘drop in the ocean’. Being aware of the fact that there is so much more help needed.  

What are your long-term goals?    

To continue making a difference and changing the world, one-person at a time, with the belief that one individual can start a ripple effect of positive change.          

If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?   

I would reintroduce heart-cantered teaching and learning into schools. I believe in the power of a holistic education, where children are not only taught academically, but learn the importance of being good, kind, honest human beings.                

If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why?            

Though perhaps not entirely historical, Michelle Obama - because of her impactful stance on women’s empowerment and girls’ education, as well as her motivation to truly make a difference with her life.

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