Sumesh Mangalasseri, Chairman & Managing Director
Sumesh Mangalasseri hails from a small farmers family from rural Kerala, started his career as software professional. The experiences he gained through working with communities and environmental movements changed his destiny and later turned as an active campaigner, researcher, policy analyst and consultant for sustainable tourism.
His 16 years of experiences in community development, action research, policy level interventions and national and international NGOs particularly in the context of tourism helped him to envision the voluntary organisation “KABANI – the other direction“. His knowledge in running and facilitating community tourism initiatives has lead to the development of many sustainable social entrepreneurship models including Kabani Community Tourism & Services, with the involvement of the host communities in India.
Sumesh is an active partner of a larger international network working on sustainable tourism and related issues, contributing to various international discourses and negotiations such as climate change, sustainable development and international trade. He has contributed his vision and views to many publications and journals and has led numerous projects in various international and national organizations critically intervening in tourism and development.
Sreejith Payyadakath, CEO
Sreejith Payyadakath, an extensive explorer and avid blogger, draws inspiration and energy from the spirit of people around him. After a decade long stint in IT domain in Bangalore, Sreejith returned to his roots and became part of Kabani from 2015.
Sreejith uses his long experience working with different communitities across the country in developing new projects and partnerships with key focus on community empowerment and nature conservation.
Oamjie John, Director – Research and Training
Oamjie John is a social organizer, community trainer and researcher. He has 30 years of wide background in grass roots organizing, training, research and data collection. He is something of a polyglot speaking four languages, studying subjects as wide as journalism, screen plays and counselling and has a deep experience with coastal communities. His interests range from philosophy to creative writing and he has worked with issues ranging from climate change and globalisation to women’s rights.
The red thread that has run through his life has been an interest in people and the potential of a more just world. With this as his guiding vision he has published twenty articles on the connection between social and environmental issues and has translated books on the importance of spirituality for effective personal development. He has many years of experience as trainer and Kabani and communities associated with Kabani is benefited from this rich experience.
His life philosophy merges love and prayer. In his search for explanations and solutions he learns by interacting, observing and reading – critical skills for the work of rural empowerment.
Vysakh Seluraj, Lead- Research and Documentation (Consultancy Services)
An Anthropologist by academics and a free spirited travel enthusiast, Kabani was a natural choice for Vysakh to work with. A keen observer of the world around him, Vysakh, leads research and documentation of different consultancy projects of Kabani.
Naaz Firose, Manager- Operations
With strong communication and leadership skills Naaz has been part of Kabani operations from 2019.
A quick learner and a person of actions, Naaz leads Kabani’s operations from early 2022 and acts as the most important link between Kabani’s guests and the host communitities.