Mrinalini Ghadiok: On Design & Challenging Mediocrity

Mrinalini Ghadiok: On Design & Challenging Mediocrity

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Welcome to our section on Real Women—where we bring you stories of and conversations with real women who inspire us, who have changed lives and given back to the community. Today, we have Mrinalini Ghadiok in conversation with Adarsh Sharma from Team FableStreet. Ms Ghadiok is an architect, writer, researcher and the Founding Trustee of Rohini Ghadiok Foundation, which bridges the gap for marginalised students through education. Watch the fun and informative chat on design, teaching & empowering children and challenging & rising above mediocrity.


Adarsh: Welcome to our live session, Mrinalini! Let’s start with the basics, what does “design” mean to you?
Mrinalini: Thank you for having me here, Adarsh! Well, that’s a loaded question! Design, for me, is everywhere and in everything we do, starting with the phone we’re using to watch this video. Everything is design and made with deliberate intent. We surround ourselves with design and it manifests itself in different ways, be it architecture, products and even running your life.

Adarsh: Moving on to the other part of your life—the Rohini Ghadiok Foundation. Tell us about it.
Mrinalini: We established the Foundation in 2011 and is named after my sister, who passed away that year. She was a sociologist and a human rights activist. We work with students from the economically weaker sections of society. These kids get into private schools via the EWS schemes under Right to Education, but they’re unable to assimilate in mainstream systems, mostly due to a language barrier with English being the medium of instruction. They’re unable to express themselves or learn things properly. They turn to violence, go down a darker path or retract and are unable to socialise.

Adarsh: So, how are you addressing this?
Mrinalini: We started with after-school classes for English, maths, science and social skills. The aim is to integrate these kids in the education system & give them a positive outlet for their energies. It’s been a massive success! The number of classes and students have now increased. Everything’s run on a volunteer basis, so we’ve got a lot of retired teachers and non-professional teachers on the team. My mother Dr Gayatri Ghadiok handles this full-time. It’s her work and her incredible team!

Adarsh: How have the last 15 years been for you? How have you seen your industry evolve?
Mrinalini: Well, it’s been absolutely fascinating! I’ve seen the industry evolve in the last 10-15 years. People are getting confident and there’s a lot of stunning, thoughtful work happening. It’s encouraging to see work at par with the rest of the world and to see such immense talent in the country. We’ve been steeped in mediocrity for too long but we’re also realising and challenging that. That’s a ray of hope for sure.

Watch the full session here.