We have been applying Design Thinking to address social issues since 1993. It has enabled us to incrementally build a framework for lasting change.
Communication for Change
Changing harmful social norms need deep conversations and insights. We create pictorial play-way tools to hold safe spaces for conversations on taboo issues.
Rights & Justice
We empower marginalized children, youth, and women to claim Universal Freedoms, including Child Rights, Gender Justice, Queer Rights, Disability Rights, and Multiple Identities.
We strive to unlock the enormous potential of Collectives to shift the balance of power, to ensure the marginalised their voice and agency, to nurture Compassion, and sustain Change.
We believe that inner transformation leads to outer transformation; that a generation of empathetic young leaders can transform society. Our work involves healing, developing inner resources of children aged 6, up until they are adults on a path of purpose.
Adolescent Sexual Health & Rights
Champa & Shankar toolkits, set of games and stories, were developed in 1995, and are still in use. These toolkits have been used by ~200 organisations across India, reaching ~2 million girls and 1 million boys.
Diversity & Inclusion
Our work on Multiple Identities have influenced young community leaders in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Jordan and Lebanon.
Pictorial Tools developed for the We Can Campaign to end Violence against Women [2004-2011] were used by ~600 grassroot organisations across 6 countries of South Asia, to empower ~5 million Changemakers.
Our youth programme has been sustaining change in communities since 2007, It has created ~1000 leaders, influenced ~5000 children and 25000 community members in marginalised areas of rural and urban West Bengal.
“We at DKA share a very vivid and beautiful cooperation with TF since 2015. The team around the designers Himalini Varma and Santayan Sengupta comprise of young talented and dedicated people who never tire to venture out when young people are in trouble. Their high standards of following child rights is demonstrated in how seriously participation of children and youth is enacted in all that TF does. We are honoured to partner, support and learn from and with the children, youth and the gifted team members of TF." ...
"The inspiring work of TF has many facets: creating curricula and learning materials in a professional and creative way while working on ground with disadvantaged children and youth in urban and rural areas of West Bengal. The sensitive methodologies created by TF have become learnings for us as a donor organisation working with children, as well as for our partners in India.”
“Thoughtshop Foundation, is one of the best organizations I have come across in my career of almost two decades in the social development sector. I’ve worked with the TF team in various capacities. As an implementing organisation, it's grounded when it comes to working at the grassroots. The skills and experience of the team to nurture the roots of change deep in the community, hold their hands till they want, and then leave them free to soar, is a one-of-a-kind model. Wishing them always more power, more love always!” ...
“As a communications team, the richness Himalini and Santayan bring emerges from nothing less than 100% real time experience of understanding the process of change, and what it takes for a social change to take place.”
Gender Specialist. Executive Director, PCVC
“Thoughtshop Foundation is an innovative and inspiring organisation that is always seeking to grow and further effect change in the communities it operates in. In working with TF, I learned a number of valuable lessons. I now understand that through compassionate leadership and through the empowerment of all people to grow, to challenge their abilities, and to support one another, there is no obstacle that is insurmountable. Through the work and mission of Thoughtshop Foundation, change is not only possible, but inevitable.”
SUAS Coordinator, team 2018
“I know Thoughtshop Foundation since 2005 and feel so proud to have got opportunities to work closely with them. What impresses me a lot and inspires me is the way they have grounded their work with youth and communities over the years putting their innovative tools to practise and also feeding back their learnings from the families and communities they work with. I feel honoured to be part of their wonderful journey!” ...
“Thoughtshop Foundation’s work is creative and powerful. In my opinion, they produce some of the best materials for social change globally. I wish that we could replicate and scale up their work in every part of the world!”
Head of Asia Engagement, Girls Not Brides
“Many moons ago I strolled into Thoughtshop Foundation and met Himalini and Santayan, who were holding space for so many young people in the city and its periphery. After my Masters I immersed myself in development work, both in theory and practice. This experience was fundamentally life-altering in many ways. Over the last 14 odd years, when I’ve felt disillusioned about the ecosystem of development I find myself returning to the Thoughtshop Foundation, where the seeds of my engagement and activism were actually sown.”
Executive Director at AIACA India
“Thoughtshop Foundation provides an empowering and uplifting program for both community youth and volunteers alike. They are at the forefront of social change through education at a grassroots level. TF is dealing with the most difficult issues with respect, compassion and cultural awareness, while challenging these issues head on. I feel privileged to have volunteered with such inspiring individuals, who have changed my world-view for the better.”
SUAS volunteer, team 2018
“I have followed Thoughtshop Foundation's journey since its inception in 1993. My association has been with Himalini and Santayan, who have been one with the Foundation over the past 27 years. They have been steadfast and committed, educating and uplifting communities with their big hearts and creative design solutions, while never losing sight of the bigger goal, to do good for others. I feel great pride when I see their selfless service and wish them well always.”