Our Team


Aruna Sankaranarayanan
Founder & Director of PRAYATNATM

She holds a B.A. (Psychology) from Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. (Developmental Psychology) from Harvard University. When she was in college, she wrote an essay on wanting to start a centre for children with learning difficulties. In 1998, she was awarded a Fellowship by the Echoing Green Foundation, New York to establish PRAYATNATM in Bangalore, and was thus able to realize her dream of creating a child-centered space for kids to achieve their potential. She considers PRAYATNATM her ‘baby’ and has nurtured it since inception. Besides finding creative and fun ways to help children acquire academic skills, Aruna writes for leading newspapers like THE HINDU and Mint on issues related to psychology and education. She also enjoys reading, painting and calligraphy.


Divya Suresh

Divya Suresh, Branch Head

Divya Suresh has been working with PRAYATNA since 2010. She has a Master’s degree in Psychology from Bangalore University. Although she started her career in a start-up as a counsellor where she worked for a year, she found her true calling as a Special Educator in PRAYATNA. The satisfaction of seeing kids improve by leaps and bounds is what motivates and drives her at work every single day. While PRAYATNA keeps her mind and body busy, she soothes her soul with books and travel .

Kavita Menon

Kavita has completed her M.Sc. in Counseling Psychology and B.A. Honors in Psychology from Christ University, Bangalore. Her passion for the subject and her love for working with children led her to pursue a career in Special Education. She has an avid interest in fine arts and is a trained Kathak dancer. In her free time, she also enjoys painting, music and baking.


Prakriti has a Master's degree in Developmental Psychology from Lancaster University, UK. Her interest in the subject and passion for working with children led her to pursue a career in education. She is also keen on gaining knowledge on various intervention programs for children. In her spare time, she loves to bake and finds travelling therapeutic.

Jerusha Samuel

Jerusha Samuel has a M.Sc in Counselling Pychology from Sampurna Institute of Advanced Studies and a B.A in Sociology-Anthropology from St. Xaviers College. Her love for kids and interest in the field of special education brought her to Prayatna. Her interests include music and reading. In her free time she likes to binge watch TV shows and eat out and spend time with friends.

Rachel Chackochen

Rachel Chackochen has a Master's in psychology from Montfort College, Bangalore. She completed her Bachelor's in Psychology from Women's Christian College, Chennai. From eighth grade itself, she has wanted to work with children. When she is not working, you can hear her beatboxing, listening to music or watching movies. She also loves to travel and try different cuisines.


Kushal Bailur

Kushal Bailur, Branch Head

Kushal Bailur, a post-graduate in Psychology, has been a part of the PRAYATNATM team since 2006. Even before that, she worked as a part-timer at PRAYATNATM while doing her undergraduate studies at Mount Carmel College. She holds that period very important in her life as it helped her make her career choice as a special educator. Being a voracious reader, she was overwhelmed when she first interacted with the children at PRAYATNATM, who due to their reading difficulties were missing out on the wonderful world of books. It was then she decided that helping children with learning difficulties was what she wanted to do. Kushal heads the Prashantnagar branch of PRAYATNATM. Besides reading and teaching children, she enjoys sports and travel.

Sneha D M

Sneha D M, has completed her Masters in Psychology from Montfort College, Bangalore. She always wanted to work with children as she finds it rejuvenating and hence joined PRAYATNATM. She is passionate about music and would like to pursue music therapy in the future. She enjoys binge watching sitcoms and being in the company of loved ones.

Ann Sarah Paul

Ann Sarah Paul, holds a Masters in Psychology from Montfort College, Bangalore. Her love for children made her pursue a career in Special Education, a decision she does not regret. She is a dog-lover and is the proud owner of four dogs! She is a dreamer and wishes to explore the world one day. Ann has a wide range of interests. She is a trained classical dancer, a certified snorkeler and holds a black belt in Karate.


Gita Nambiar

Gita Nambiar, Branch Head

Gita Nambiar holds a Master’s in Psychology and has been working at PRAYATNATM from 2005. These have been some of the most enriching years of her life. Each day, a child may pose a new challenge and teaching kids the three R’s has been a gratifying experience for her. While she teaches, she has also learnt a great deal. While working at PRAYATNATM, over the years, she has also enjoyed the company of her younger colleagues, who have made her feel young at heart with their enthusiasm. Besides teaching, she enjoys reading, writing, listening to music and gardening.

Supriya Raja

Supriya Raja always wanted to do something “different” from childhood. She found her calling in 2008 when she joined PRAYATNATM. She feels that children have taught her just as much as she has given them. She also admires the dedication of parents who raise children with special needs. Supriya enjoys travelling and listening to music and sampling various cuisines. She believes in living life to the fullest with a young heart. Supriya holds a Master’s in Psychology.

Crystal Nikita

Crystal Nikita S. J., completed her Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Christ University, Bengaluru. She loves dreaming about new possibilities and is passionate about art, soulful music, and inspiring biographies. Her greatest desire is to positively transform the lives of children and adults who have difficulties coping. Helping others is her true calling. Further, she believes that determination can help surmount any obstacle and would like to inculcate the trait of perseverance in children.

Andrea Christina Nirmal

Andrea Christina Nirmal holds a Master's in Applied Psychology from Pondicherry University. To work with children has always been her passion. Teaching children with special needs in a school after her Bachelor's at WCC gave new meaning to her passion; she knew that was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Joining PRAYATNATM has been a dream come true as she loves working with children using creative and tried-and-tested methods. She believes that everyone is made for a purpose, and each day is a step forward in discovering and living out that purpose. S he learns something everyday, and when she is not at her work desk, you can catch her singing at her Church, baking red velvet cupcakes or driving by the beach.