About Us

Women’s Education Project (WEP) prepares women to become economically independent leaders.

About Us

WEP provides NGO partners its Leadership Academy, where young, vulnerable women, (ages 15-24), find their confidence, explore their interests and opportunities and acquire job-ready skills to pursue them – within a supportive community of peers, mentors and role models.

The Leadership Academy’s certificate curriculum of skill-building, vision-expanding experiences, field trips, guest speakers, mentors, workshops and courses prepare students to develop their inner leader and become economically independent, many pursuing a viable career or alternative livelihood of their own choosing.

Upon completion of the Certificate program, those wishing to pursue higher education or specialized training programs are provided introductions and scholarships through the Academy’s Next Step program..

All graduates may join the Alumnae Community to meet peers, mentor new students, and receive continued guidance and introductions.

Board of Directors

Nalini Dhar
First Vice President, Merrill Lynch-Bank of America

President, Minal Patel
Owner, Minal Patel LLC.

Kathy Hurley
Co-Founder and CEO, Girls Thinking Global

Deepika Mandrekar, Vice President
Advocate for Women and Education

Veeru Srivastava
Director, Bank of America

Zoë Timms, Founder
Founding Director, Women’s Education Project

Gaurav Verma
Chief Operating Officer, US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF)

Board of Directors, WEP India 

Shalini Puchalalpalli
Director at Amazon

Roopa Ravikumar
Asst. professor in Sociology at Lady Doak College

Shruti Shibulal
Director and CEO of Tamara Leisure Experiences

Malini Eden
Administrative and Program Director of WEP-India


Kirti Agarwal
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Dr. Karen Ruskin and Associates

Donna Campbell
Executive Director, Aravind Eye Foundation

Michael Campbell
Healthcare Consultant and Managing Member, Indicina

Deb DeVries
Co Founder and President at Girls Thinking Global

Amanda Gassé
Yole Inc.

Ekta Ghelani
Senior Investment Analyst, Appomattox Advisory, Inc.

Arshdeep Gill
Business Analyst, Orbis Investments

Kyle Horan
Security Consultant, Hackerone

Deepika Mandrekar​
Advocate for Women and Education

Paula Maylahn​
Paula Maylahn Consulting

Bhavani Parameswar
President, Indivate Inc.​

Maureen Quinn
Adjunct Professor,​ New York University and Seton Hall University​

Rasika Reddy

Sophie Soares
Project Manager, Adolescent Girls’ Programming at the Population Counci

Meet the Team

Zoe Timms Profile

Zoë Timms
Founding Executive Director

Zoë Timms, Founding Executive Director, first went to Hyderabad, India in 1996 as a student of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Year-in-India Program. There she was introduced to educational, grassroots NGOs, helping former girl child laborers study for the first time.  Later, in 2001-2004, directing the Wisconsin program in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Zoë worked with a young woman whose dream to obtain an MBA and enter a career in finance were blocked by serious family illness and debt. Zoë realized there were countless ambitious young women in similar circumstances. She thought about the obstacles they faced and the steps it would take to remove them. The idea of creating a Center where young women could meet, develop skills, focus their ambitions, and expand their awareness of life’s possibilities was born. Zoë returned to New York to raise the money for her friend’s scholarship and recruited others to the cause.

Sudar, WEP’s first Center, opened in Madurai in 2002.  This was followed by Hyderabad in 2007 and Kadapa in 2012.  In 2016, WEP-India was established in Bangalore with its own Board and in-Country Director.

Malini Eden

Malini Eden
Administrative and Program Director, WEP-India

Malini B. Eden, Administrative and Program Director of WEP-India, is a Development Specialist, with an experience spanning over three decades. Strong, process based management principles has been the way of working for her with organizations, international agencies and government bodies at State, National and Corporate level.

With the conscious choice to work for the empowerment of communities in urban and rural areas, Malini has always been keen to work in cross-cultural contexts. Her ability to understand the nuances of cultures, high aptitude for learning and ability to apply sound principles for perspective building and conceptualizing aspects in the context of development has been her strength. She has significant experience of working for the marginalized and underprivileged communities, creating strategic initiatives to bridge the urban-rural-poor divide.

Leadership Academy Directors

Academy Directors are women whose leadership, compassion, creativity, and laughter and commitment to the students drives the success of the WEP program.

About Us Esther

“The self confidence, skills, and self-worth the WEP girls develop, one cannot put a price tag on it.”

– Esther Subhashini –

Hyderabad Academy Director

Watch Esther’s Video
About Us Viji

“A woman with education and independence is a powerful person, who can educate and guide the children in her family and contribute economically to improve her home and community.”

– A. Vijayalakshmi –

Madurai Academy Director

Watch Vijayalakshmi’s Video
About Us Sandhya

“Because of the Leadership Academy, our girls are socially conscious leaders, who confidently discuss domestic violence, malnutrition … this courage helps them secure jobs they want!”

– Sandhya Puchalapalli –
Kadapa Academy Director

Watch Sandhya’s Video

 Organizational Sponsors