Who Makes Change Happen?

Human rights work is complicated—so we’re asking key questions and breaking it down together in our new series, Repairing the World, Step by Step.


Last month, we unpacked how AJWS makes change. Today, we’ll talk about who.

Everything we do at AJWS—whether we’re funding grassroots organizations, nurturing social movements or meeting at the White House—begins with local people.

We don’t devise solutions in New York and send them overseas. We fund organizations within the communities where we work. And our team that supports them comes from those same communities. We call this our “grassrooted” approach, because we believe those most affected by problems are best suited to drive the solutions.

And we aren’t simply sending money; we partner to help our grantees to grow, collaborate with others, and build strong social movements around the world.

Let’s look at one example of who makes all this happen.

This is Rama Vedula. She’s one of 29 intrepid local human rights experts who lead our work in each country.


Rama is a champion for gender equality in India. Before she joined AJWS, she had been an active member of the Indian women’s rights movement for more than 15 years. She has the knowledge, skills and connections to earn people’s trust and support community-led change.

Today, Rama is a key contact for our grantees across India. She identifies organizations to receive grants, supports them to learn new skills, and brings them together to collaborate.

We have at least one local leader like Rama in every country where we work, and they’re in the trenches with each one of our grantees as allies and partners.

Rama and her colleagues in each country:

  • Identify talented activists and organizations to fund and support
  • Accompany each group with coaching, skills-building & resources to catalyze their growth
  • Help grantees navigate crises and emergencies and boost their safety and security
  • Bring grantees together to collaborate, form coalitions & strengthen social movements to multiply our impact

Trusted local leaders. Grassrooted social change organizations. Courageous activists—and you. Together, we’re making lasting change we can all be proud of.

Want to support local changemakers to make a global impact? Make a gift today.