There was excitement in the air as members of the ARMMAN team gathered at Vakola Welfare Centre last month to celebrate 10 years of the organisation. The event kicked off with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp by founder, Dr. Aparna Hegde, her mother Mrs. Parvati Hegde, CEO Geetanjali Jha Chakraborty, COO Carlyle Pereira and Bipin Diwakar, HR & Administration Manager. The atmosphere was emotionally-charged as Dr. Aparna, Geetanjali and Bipin recounted the highs and lows of ARMMAN and shared anecdotes from the early days. Bipin’s speech, in particular, had many reaching for their handkerchiefs as he thanked Dr. Aparna’s mother for being her source of strength during the tough times. He thanked Dr. Aparna for her leadership and presented her with a token on appreciation on behalf of the entire team. The hospital supervisors and call centre staff were felicitated with certificates for their exemplary work during World Breastfeeding Week and Nutrition Week and the event culminated in a team lunch.
Some of the team members rode a wave of nostalgia as they reminisced about the journey of the organisation and how far we’ve come.
“Most people now are proud to be working for a big, established organisation like ARMMAN, but not many are aware of the struggles faced by Dr. Aparna. In the initial years, she faced so many rejections. She was working as a doctor, and also trying really hard to get funding for the organisation. All her grant applications would get rejected; all her meetings would fail. But she didn’t give up. It took ARMMAN five years to get its first funding. She was one young woman with a big dream, and ARMMAN is a result of that dream. It goes to show that dreams do come true with hard work and perseverance. We started with 1 person, and now we are close to 120 people.
For me, it doesn’t feel like I’m coming to work everyday. I feel like I’m coming from a small family to a big family. There’s a sense of attachment that motivates me every single day.”
Bipin Diwakar, Manager – HR & Administration
Team ARMMAN since 2010
“When I joined ARMMAN, there wasn’t even enough space for everyone to sit. We were constantly playing a game of musical chairs. Someone would leave to attend a meeting or concall and someone else would take their space. Even Geetanjali, who was Executive Director at that time, didn’t have a separate cabin. She sat right at the entrance. On my first day, Geetanjali gave me her place because I didn’t have one. If we had a conference call, we would step out into the lane behind the office and find a quiet corner to talk. The pantry was so tiny that we would each lunch in batches and some of us would sit on the platform. Now we have so much space and dedicated people for each vertical. So much has changed.
It’s always a good experience working with Dr. Aparna because it helps you to become a perfectionist. She makes sure you have understood thoroughly and does not leave you with improper/incomplete information. This inspires us to mirror her dedication towards the cause of saving the lives of mothers and children.”
Pramila Poojari, Manager – Mobile Sakhi
Team ARMMAN since 2015