Our Founder & LSF Journey

Our Founder

Nitin Orayan-Padukone

Founder & Trustee

Nitin Orayan-Padukone is the Founder of the Learning Space Foundation (LSF), an Indian based non-profit organisation serving rural communities, active in the Thane and Palghar districts of Maharashtra, India.


Nitin has lived and worked with rural communities since 2005.  He has dedicated his time & efforts amongst developing school infrastructure, capacity building of school teachers & livelihood programs for the rural educated youth.  In this manner, he has implemented intensive research-based education models for preschools and primary schools helping children amongst the rural community. With his vision and leadership, LSF has flourished and bettered the lives of many underprivileged children, youth, communities and women.


Nitin has been nominated for and won many awards celebrating his vast contribution to the social sector. He is married to Janhavi Orayan, a Dutch citizen currently shuttling between the Netherlands and India, working hand-in-hand with her husband in his mission. Janhavi has been traveling to India and Ganeshpuri since 2002. She has a strong passion  for the development of rural communities in and around Ganeshpuri, and she has been supporting children’s and women’s causes through the Learning Space Foundation.


Nitin is also an educator and author of several books on  personal development and spirituality. He has also penned  many short stories, blogs and wellness portal publications.  Further details about his  writing work are available at www.orayan.in

The LSF Journey

The LSF story started with a friendship and bond that developed in 2002. A friendship that founder Nitin Orayan developed with the children of Savroli village, a village on the outskirts of Mumbai. Nitin had taken a two-and-a-half-month sabbatical to spend some time writing his book in solitude amongst nature in a farmhouse away from the city. One day while writing a few pages by the riverside, a few children from the village befriended him. This soon became an open classroom by the river every evening for one hour as a ritual.

Open to their desire to learn, he cast a spell over the children with enchanting stories. The time spent with these children left a deep impression within his mind and even upon return to city life, these moments haunted him. Thus ensued a deep calling to support rural education.

Two years later, in September 2004, Nitin chose to adhere to the whispers of his heart and took a leap of faith into the villages of rural India. With a change in circumstances, he could not go back to the same village and decided to live instead at Ganeshpuri, a village well known for its hot springs and as the abode of Saint Nityananda.

In Ganeshpuri, he naturally started connecting with the children there and soon became well acquainted with the community. In April 2005, he met a senior foreign couple, Tino and Kathrina, who used to spend 4-5 months a year in Ganeshpuri running a Public Trust. The couple offered Nitin to run a one month English teaching course for young undergraduates of the village, in order to imbibe confidence and inculcate a positive perception of the western world. Nitin helped around 30 youngsters in this time period. By the end of the course, some of them had become so proficient that he included them as part of his social service project to help school children learn English.

Nitin, led by some of his young teacher colleagues, bicycled down to nearby primary and middle-level schools in the vicinity to gain support from school teachers to send their students to the programme. With immense support from the wider community, the Learning Space centre was inaugurated on August 15, 2005. By the end of 2005, 75 children had enrolled in the programme.

In early 2006, the need to register a Public Charitable Trust grew as the spontaneous endeavour had gathered so much momentum. With two social workers, Robert Dias and Sanjay Barrot, Nitin formed and registered a Public Charitable Trust named Learning Space Foundation (LSF) in Ganeshpuri in July 2006. After the demise of Mr. Robert Dias, Co-Trustee, in 2008, Mr. Jamshed Banaji, a renowned architect in Mumbai, was approached to enter the Trust as a Co-Trustee. Mr. Banaji appreciated the work being done at Learning Space and joined the Trust.

By then, LSF had penetrated Zilla Parishad schools establishing the need for creative and interactive methods of English learning among primary school children. Soon after, word started to spread about the change LSF was trying to foster and schools from neighbouring villages of Bhiwandi Taluka invited LSF teachers to help with the English Language subject component and this marked the transmission of Learning Space into the wider community.

By 2010-11, the movement embraced a formal structure with written proposals and Teacher Training programs, LSF moved from a supplementary to a large format mainstream support program.

At the end of 2011, the creator of an English learning project 'Eteach English', Mr. Astad Parakh, a prominent Rotarian from Mumbai, approached Nitin Orayan with the idea of using the electronic medium in the form of pre-recorded DVDs, with entertaining animated English learning content, in village schools associated with LSF.

English education in primary schools was the primary program at LSF since its inception.  As a consequence, Eteach grew in size and scale each year, multiplying across countless schools & their comprising students.

Moreover, in 2013-14, LSF identified a need to improve learning for village preschool children between the ages of 3-6 years in Anganwadis near and around the LSF center.  This initiative began informally with 10 Anganwadis and was titled the Early Learners Development Programme (ELDP).  Over the last 4 years, it has developed a formidable structure with outcomes established for preschool learners.  Prior to the conception of the program, much deliberation and research was done at LSF to refurbish and rejuvenate the Anganwadi buildings. This was to offer the village children a constructive and student friendly school building that promotes learning and development.  Alongside the infrastructure, the overall development in the teaching methodology at Anganwadis has been the prime focus of ELDP.

Over time, LSF has established a strong foundation and effective networking with government schools & communities of the Thane and Palghar district. This has fostered the growth of many infrastructure and student empowerment projects in addition to the primary movement.