Ribhu was born and raised in Auroville, South India, with his sister and WasteLess co-founder Chandrah Nusselein. After high school, he studied and worked in the Netherlands for 10 years. During this time, he received a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management along with an Innovative Communication and Training diploma.
In 2008, he left his corporate job and spent a year travelling around the world with his wife. He discovered that waste management was a challenge faced in every country. When his travels ended in Auroville, he found his heart in garbage!
Ribhu committed himself to waste-related issues, beginning with a creative anti-litter campaign targeting children. He then spent more than three years working on grass-roots waste management projects with residents and local government, researching innovative and sustainable methods to increase resource recovery from Indian waste. Simultaneously, with a small team he developed Garbology 101, a creative activity-based educational programme on waste. This led to the founding of WasteLess.
Ribhu does not accept the direction in which the world is going. He is a dreamer but is deeply rooted in action. Fascinated with participatory action research and the power of educational experiences to drive positive behavioural changes, Ribhu loves this work.
Born and raised in Auroville, India, Chandrah has always been passionate about the environment. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in the United States and a master’s degree in Pedagogical Sciences from the Netherlands, she spent a decade working in the development sector.
Her work has included designing and implementing projects in rural India on water and sanitation, as well as on education and the environment. She has been involved in both qualitative and quantitative research and analyses of solid waste, focusing on possibilities to improve its management in rural communities.
Through this work she realised that waste, one of the fastest-growing global issues, was not receiving adequate attention. Together with her team, she developed an innovative, child-oriented campaign called ‘Litter Free Auroville’. This led to the creation of Garbology 101; an educational toolkit focused on sustainable consumption and responsible waste management, and subsequently the establishment of WasteLess with her brother Ribhu.
Chandrah has witnessed first hand the power of education, particularly in children and sees her work at WasteLess as a way of planting a seed of positive change and watching it grow.
Born In Italy, Maya moved with her family to Auroville, South India. Having always been passionate about the environment, after completing high school she moved to the UK to undertake a bachelor’s in Geography and Ecology.
After this she returned to Auroville where she taught Geography and Biology at the local high school and was a project coordinator for a local NGO working on environmental sustainability projects. She worked on various programmes targeting environmental education, health and women empowerment in rural South India.
In 2015 Maya joined the WasteLess team where she felt she was part of a movement to tackle environmental issues such as waste and bring about much needed change. In 2016 she moved back to the UK to complete an MSc in Climate Change and Development.
Maya is now back with the WasteLess team and eager to continue tackling the key issue of waste through education.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Mimansha completed a bachelor’s in Psychology and subsequently a master’s in Counselling Psychology. She is trained as a motivational coach, and in meditation as well as in leadership training workshops.
Working for an international NGO for over 10 years Mimansha was responsible for designing and leading workshops as well as undertaking the training of more than 1,000 people in the field of memory, leadership, relationships and lifestyle. Whilst volunteering for different social organisations, she gained experience in the fields of event management and website design.
Mimansha is passionate about waste reduction and fighting plastic pollution. She describes her adventure with waste as having started with upcycling old clothes and materials collected from the community and turning these into cool bags. This experience inspired her to want to work on closing the tap on plastic waste. She feels WasteLess has a wonderful approach to solving one of the world’s most important issues – waste management.
Mukta was born in Italy and grew up in Auroville, South India. After completing a bachelor’s degree in Geography and International Relations, she worked in both the private and public sectors across several countries, including the United States, UK and Australia. She gained experience in the legal sector, as well as in foreign policy, academic research and data analysis.
While participating in a project researching the impact of climate change on rural livelihoods in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, she was inspired to continue her studies with a focus on the environment and the pressing topic of water in particular.
Mukta returned to the UK in 2015 and completed an MSc in Water Security and Development. Upon completing her studies she returned home to Auroville where her passion for the environment and conservation led her to join the WasteLess team.
Mukta is deeply impressed with WasteLess’s dedication to fighting the seemingly insurmountable challenge of waste and jumped at the opportunity to help them with their goal of empowering change through education.
Having grown up in a small village in northern Germany, Jasper knew he wanted to go abroad to experience different environments and cultures and be involved in projects he was passionate about. After completing high school he applied to the German Weltwärts programme and chose to come to Auroville, India, for one year.
Jasper’s interest in the environment, specifically conservation of native flora and fauna, led him to volunteer with WasteLess. He wants to discover action in sustainability as well as work on issues that matter for the world. He aspires to preserve an environment that is habitable and beautiful for future generations. After his volunteer work at WasteLess is complete, Jasper plans to return to Germany and study biophysics.
Having grown up in Erie, USA, Faith obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Spelman College Atlanta, Georgia as well as an MA in Global Communication and Development from the American University of Paris.
She has since lived and worked in various countries including Burkina Faso, France and India. Over the past seven years, her professional experience has included working in project research, development, coordination, and management. She worked within public policy with the Georgia House of Representatives USA and conducted a sustainable development field mission in Burkina Faso with The United States Peace Corps. She is currently engaged in an impact study on the effectiveness of participatory frameworks for environmental game based educational programmes in rural India.
Faith’s goals and beliefs as an environmental advocate align with the participatory framework of WasteLess; the humility of the team, the collaborative spirit, and the relentless work to create and preserve our environment through education. She is keen to help scale up the amazing work WasteLess is doing to create models of environmental development that may be shared with others.
Joining the WasteLess team in September 2015, Darius was immediately attracted to their professionalism, efficiency, and huge successes. After graduating high school in Darmstadt, Germany, he knew he wanted to do voluntary service abroad. Through the German Weltwärts programme, he decided to move to Auroville for a year of service. He chose Auroville as he wanted to live in a place that aligned with his values and lifestyle.
Darius’s personal philosophy is to improve the world with his time and energy. After his year with WasteLess, he is interested in attending university and a career with the biggest impact possible in the fields of animal rights and sustainability. He sees the work at WasteLess as just the beginning and believes it has the potential to scale up in a big way. “What I like about WasteLess is that with a very small team, in a short amount of time, they were able to create something quite big; a worthwhile cause that I wanted to contribute to.”
Kaya has been a Weltwärts volunteer with WasteLess since September 2015. When choosing where to work in the area, she could choose between many organisations. However, when she saw Ribhu and Chandrah and heard about the work they do, she instantly knew this was where she wanted to be. “Waste is such an important issue, but when we throw it in the bin, it’s gone and forgotten. Addressing that disconnect is so important and the way WasteLess approaches it makes a lot of sense.”
Growing up in the Kreuzberg area of Berlin and exposed to green politics and eco-consciousness, Kaya has been aware of sustainability issues since a young age. It was working with Greenpeace youth that really changed her way of thinking and behaving though. After her volunteer work in India, she plans on attending university and focus on environmental studies.