Our Team

Board of Trustees

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

Jamshed Banaji


Jamshed Banaji became a Trustee of Learning Space Foundation in 2009, after a period of considerable involvement with LSF.

Jamshed graduated with a B.Sc in Architecture from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA. He is Director of the reputed architectural practice Banaji & Associates established by his father in 1960.

He has spent over 25 years making rigorously simple and sustainable architecture that speaks of the fundamentals he imbibed during his formative years of Architecture study.

He established Zaar Line in 1999, a design and construction company which translates his designs into reality. Zaar Line also undertakes real estate development.

Jamshed has a wealth of business experience which has appointed him as a member of “The Rotary Club of Bombay Main”.

He is married to Nirmala, a prolific Architect, who has influenced the new age vision of Banaji & Associates. She has been actively involved in all the trust activities and both their children Derezaar (21) & Taerra (18) have assimilated their love for giving and volunteering for various causes. Jamshed is an avid sportsman and has a passion for travel

Jamshed is extremely excited about the future of LSF and the ever-increasing responsibility of CSR, which ensures that sustainability initiatives are rooted in sound development theory and practice, without reinventing the wheel or exacerbating social issues.

Sanjay (Dev) Barrot


Dev Barrot has 22 years of experience in the field of social work and has participated in a wide range of social interventions. These include several eye surgery camps during his three years spent with a nonprofit named Prasad Chikitsa in the Tansa River Valley region.

Dev has supported many initiatives of other nonprofits as well and wanted to create an impact in education, healthcare and the empowerment of communities. With Learning Space, he is instrumental in building resources, fund raising & donor development alongside capacity building & mentoring the project heads.

Besides his active involvement in the social sphere, he has spent over two decades in the study of mindfulness and is also a meditation teacher & wellness coach.

Our Project Implementation Team

From the inception of Learning Space in 2006, founder Nitin Orayan envisioned bringing rural educated youth to be the forefront of rural transformation as leaders of change. In the very first capacity building program, conducted for 25 village-based Ganeshpuri graduates in May 2005, he had offered participants the choice to voluntarily & willingly serve rural education. Some of them were the pioneer project planners, implementers, supervisors & monitors, when LSF was formalized into a Public Charitable Trust in the year 2006.


Fifteen years later, the LSF team succeeds with constant guidance from Nitin Orayan - fulfilling the vision of rural youth as leaders of change, directing new project undertakings & serving rural education by developing systems within the rural communities.

Here is the rural team at Learning Space Foundation:

Ganesh Jadhav is a self-taught rural youth who has grown in capacity and application to head rural service projects at LSF. After completing his graduation from the University of Bombay alongside a Diploma in Computer Software in 2013-14, Ganesh has progressed to make strides in computer technology, and was able to successfully run the E-Learning Computer project for over 3000 children in the years 2017-20. Currently, Ganesh at 31 years of age, multi-tasks at LSF to steer planning and implementation, and in particular set up monitoring mechanisms for projects in education, infrastructure and community support.

Nisha Patil joined LSF in its early years (2006-7) and has been consistently supporting projects in conjunction with local community stakeholders & govt. officials across the Palghar and Thane districts. She has successfully developed a very cordial relationship with the members of the rural community, and has been the backbone for setting up Girls’ sanitation solutions in schools, expanding the established project to the remote location of Chimur in the Chandrapur District of Maharashtra. At 44 years of age, she is an inspiration to many rural youth and a guide to girls who aspire to build a career in facilitating rural education & development.

Aadesh Wayada grew up in the Gorad village in Wada of Palghar District, next to the LSF Center. He was a beneficiary of the center’s supplementary English program during his junior college years. In 2014, he completed his graduation in Commerce, and joined a local industrial unit. Later, he joined LSF as an account’s assistant in 2015, and has never looked back since. Currently, he heads the Accounts section at LSF under the direct guidance & support of the internal audit team of Chartered Accountants.

Ravindra Jadhav completed his graduation with Bachelor of Arts (2013), and followed it with a Diploma in Teaching. He joined LSF in 2014 in the English ETeach project as a Trainee, to implement the animated electronic software in primary schools around the LSF center. Over the following four years, he was trained as a Co-ordinator, Educator & subsequently Master Trainer in the ETeach project during 2018-20. In these two years, Ravindra conducted capacity building programs for local govt. school teachers as well as trainees at LSF, in learning and implementing best practices for bettering English language education in rural primary schools. Currently, Ravindra works as Projects’ Coordinator & Trainer of local Teachers at LSF, and also helps devise the teaching content for skills upgradation programs.

Dinesh Patil completed his graduation with Bachelor of Arts (2014), and complemented it with a Diploma in Teaching. He joined LSF in 2015 in the English ETeach project as a Trainee, to implement the animated electronic software in primary schools around the LSF center. Over the following year, he was trained as a Coordinator, Educator & subsequently Master Trainer in the ETeach project during 2018-20 for a set of 45 Zilla Parishad schools in the Palghar sub-district with a team of 10 village-based educator volunteers. He and Ravindra are closely working as a team of coordinators working with the rural community in areas such as Wada, Vikramgad and Palghar in projects that enhance education and school infrastructure.

Sudarshan Sonavane has been a part of LSF after he joined in the English Language Development for the Vernacular Primary Schools team in the year 2016 as a Trainee Educator. He was already a Diploma of Teaching and a Graduate of Arts when he joined LSF. After completing his post-graduation, Sudarshan pursued his academic studies and acquired his Masters in Arts in 2014. At 31 years of age, trained as an Educator and Master Trainer, Sudarshan works as Team Head for Content Creation -devising syllabus, preparing lesson plans & demos, and setting weekly implementation outcomes & goals for the ground volunteer team.

Nita Jadhav joined the English Language Development Program as part of the Vernacular Primary Schools team in the year 2018 as a Trainee Educator. She is a Bachelor of Arts from Bombay University and has also completed a Diploma in Teaching. In her village, Chimbipada, Nita is an elected Head of the Gram Panchayat (local governing body), and has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills which she has successfully employed for the betterment of her community. Currently, she heads the ground implementation team of the Education at Your Doorstep project, in which she ensures that each devised lesson plan is tested with sample groups of children in her village, making any changes, and then sharing the best practices with the rest of her team.

Bharat Handva hails from a very remote village called Kuhe, in the hilly region of Bhiwandi. He has had to struggle his way through college, doing odd jobs and menial work to pay his fees. He lost his father at an early age, and completed his higher studies on his own merit. Bharat joined LSF as a Trainee in the English Language Development for Vernacular Primary Schools team, and completed the training in the first quarter of 2020. Thereafter, Bharat has supported LSF as a field coordinator in many of LSF’s food distribution Covid relief programs. Currently, Bharat works as a village educator in the Education at Your Doorstep project, ensuring that all the preschool and primary school children in his village are given basic education.

Ganpat Patil joined LSF as a driver for the school van in 2012 and hasn't looked back since. In 2014-20, infrastructure projects for village Anganwadis and Zilla Parishad schools extended to several sub-districts in Thane and Palghar. He patiently tackled challenges in the completion of these projects by offering on-the-spot solutions. In the pandemic, he went out of his way to support families that were in severe distress, and sent grocery bags, food and other necessities to remote locations. In essence, Ganpat Patil stands tall as a social worker, supporting every project with grit and determination, and ensuring that every task is completed on time to the beneficiary's satisfaction.

Yogita Jadhav hails from a very difficult background. She was born and brought up in a family from an underprivileged community, in an interior village of the Bhiwandi Taluka. Without sufficient financial support for her higher education, Yogita struggled to complete her Diploma and ultimately her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), facing significant hardship along the way.

In 2018, she joined as a Trainee in the English Language Development project at LSF, and performed extremely well, ranking as number one in the program’s end line assessment. She managed to top her cohort, in spite of giving birth to a child in the same year.  At the same time, she conducted classes in Zilla Parishad schools & held weekly training at the LSF center.

Today, Yogita is one of the leading outreach volunteers at LSF, doing her best to implement outcomes from the Education at Your Doorstep project, in her village Joo-colony in Bhiwandi Taluka of the Thane district.