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 at the age of 4. Having been passionate about the environment from an early age, after completing high school she moved to the UK to undertake a bachelor’s in Geography and Ecology.
Returning to Auroville after completing her undergraduate studies in 2012, Maya taught Geography and Biology at the local high school and was a project coordinator for a grassroots 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 2017 she took a year out to complete an MSc in Climate Change and International Development in the UK. Her studies focused on current challenges such as water and food security and sustainable consumption. Her academic experience strengthened Maya’s conviction that education needs to evolve in order to tackle the growing environmental issues we face.
Maya continues to be an integral part of the WasteLess team in its mission to tackle issues of solid waste, plastic pollution and water security through education.
Vivekan grew up in France and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an MSc in Evolutionary Behavioural Anthropology in Canada. As he is of half-Indian origin and has family living in Tamil Nadu, Vivekan always paid close attention to the growth and development of India, and its rapid changes. In 2017, his twin passions of environmentalism and education led him back to his home state to get more hands-on experience in these two important fields.
After conducting research in Auroville on the development of sharing behaviours in Indian and Canadian children, Vivekan started to work for WasteLess in 2018. His work allows him to interact with government teachers across Tamil Nadu in order to gather the feedback needed to improve the WasteLess educational programmes.
Vivekan is passionate about helping WasteLess spread environmental education in schools across Tamil Nadu. His grasp of the Tamil language and his skills as an anthropologist are put to good use in this important work.
Originally from the UK, Chris’s love for the environment led him to study Physical Geography as an undergraduate with a particular focus on the science and impacts of climate change. After working for a year Chris returned to university to study for an MSc in Environmental Technology with a particular focus on renewable energy generation as well as waste reduction and management. Following the year long Masters he chose to remain in academia and began doctoral research focused on the development of a social simulation of the impact of rainfall on human migration within and from Burkina Faso.
Since completing his PhD in 2012, Chris has worked in university environments in the UK, Germany and Australia. He has worked on projects that have taken him to East, West and Southern Africa as well as South and Southeast Asia for both the United Nations and his own post-doctoral research. He has extensive experience of novel data collection, analysis and simulation techniques as well as grant writing and reporting for a range of audiences.
Chris is excited to join the WasteLess team in the valuable work they are pursuing in the environmental education sector. The thorough and rigorous approach that WasteLess applies to every project they deliver makes working with them a satisfying and rewarding experience.
Divya was born and raised in Auroville, South India. Having grown up in a town with a strong environmental focus, she moved to the Netherlands to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a focus on Sustainable Development and Sociology. In 2017, Divya spent 6 months in Australia as part of her semester abroad, taking courses on community-level resource management and ecology. It was there that she became passionate about bottom-up approaches to sustainability.
Upon returning to the Netherlands to complete her degree, Divya chose to write her thesis on sustainability in the context of Auroville. Analysing her hometown through an academic lens motivated her to return and work here rather than immediately continue with a master’s degree.
Joining the WasteLess team in 2018, Divya was deeply moved by the organisation’s aim to target long-term behavioural change in children. She believes that teaching children to think critically and make informed choices is a powerful tool in the struggle to tackle our growing waste crisis.
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.
Cristina was born and raised in a town close to Barcelona, Spain. Spending her childhood playing in the fields around her town, she felt connected to nature from an early age. After completing high school, she moved to Barcelona and began studying product design at ESDAP La Llotja, one of the first design universities in the country. She spent her final academic year at the faculty of Saint Luc in Liege, Belgium, where she first approached the topic of sustainability by participating in various projects. After graduating from university Cristina led her first sustainable product design project creating medical equipment for diabetic patients using entirely biodegradable materials.
Cristina is certified in graphic design and management strategies in digital marketing. She spent several years in the field working for various companies, combining her jobs with traveling the world. During her travels, she was inspired to delve deeper into the theme of eco-friendly design. She wanted to pour her creativity and energy into projects that mattered to her; projects that sparked an inner search for progress as well as focused on improving the world. Working at WasteLess allows Cristina to remain in the field that she is passionate about while also inspiring positive change in the next generation.
Julius grew up in a small town called Würzburg, in the South of Germany. After graduating from high school in 2016, he decided to take a gap year and travelled across the US, Cuba and South America, connecting with local people and communities from diverse cultures. Before joining the WasteLess team through the German Weltwärts programme, Julius spent time doing internships in schools, assisted-living communities for the physically and psychologically disabled, and other institutions working in the field of education, social work and psychology. It was during this time that he also became interested in environmental issues and eco-conscious living.
Working at WasteLess therefore combines Julius’s two main areas of interest; education and sustainability. Having travelled around India before arriving in Auroville, he observed first-hand how an unregulated waste disposal system coupled with a growing consumerist society could have massive consequences for the welfare of the country. He believes that education is key in tackling the waste problem at its roots, as it can help transform negative habits into positive behaviours. Collaborating with teachers in a hands-on way in order to develop new ideas for waste education is how he hopes to help bring about this change.
Former team members
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