Meet the faculty and teaching assistants for DSROI 2022

Niluka Gunawardena

Modules 1 and 2

Niluka Gunawardena, is an educator, researcher and disability rights advocate based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Kelaniya and a curriculum developer at the University of Colombo. She has a MA in Disability and Gender from the University of Leeds, UK. She serves on the Board of Women Enabled International and the advisory panels of ARROW, LIRNEasia and HYPE Sri Lanka. Niluka is an alumnus of DSROI 2011 and has been on the DSROI teaching team since 2019. She has worked as a disability consultant/ trainer for a range of organizations including CREA, UAF, WFA, MAS and IFES among others.

Nelly Bassiliy

Modules 1 and 6

Nelly Bassily is a queer disability justice advocate and intersectional feminist, anti-racism and sexual rights activist, and media maker with over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Egyptian of origin but born in Tiotià’ke (so-called Montreal), immigration, diaspora, and identity also inform her activism. In 2021, she received the Top 25 Women of Influence award. Her biggest and most important challenge to date is being the mother of 1-year-old baby girl whom she loves with all her heart!

Sonaksha Iyengar

Module 2

Sonaksha is a fat, queer, chronically ill and disabled illustrator, graphic recorder and book designer. They use art to participate in building social justice movements, and work with organizations defending human rights and the environment. Sonaksha is currently dreaming and drawing about disability justice, care, fat liberation and queerness while living in Bangalore, where they are often found in the aisles of bookstores, or eating paint. You can find their work on

Shamim Salim

Module 2

Shamim (pronouns: She|Her|Herz) is a young Queer Muslim disabled feminist and a human rights activist. She is an intersectional feminist and continuously create spaces for young women, women with disabilities, lesbians, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTIQ+) persons. Shamim’s work is centered on sexuality, religion and disability justice. Shamim is the founder of henna space; an organizing for Queer Muslim Women and Queer Disabled folks creating visibility and advocacy on the intersectionality sexuality, religion and disability. Shamim’s work on disability justice is centered on bodily autonomy and integrity; and that disabled folks are diverse, living and affected by different forms of marginalization. She is also a champion for inclusive and affirming faith spaces. Shamim is also invested in resource young feminist organizing to support their work on pushing back on repressive systems.

Lydia X. Z. Brown

Module 2

Lydia X. Z. Brown is an advocate, organizer, attorney, strategist, and writer whose work focuses on interpersonal and state violence against disabled people at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, language, and nation. Lydia is an adjunct lecturer in the Women's and Gender Studies Program and the Disability Studies Program at Georgetown University, as well as Self-Advocacy Discipline Coordinator for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Fellowship program. They are also an adjunct professorial lecturer in American Studies in the Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies at American University. Lydia is Policy Counsel for Privacy & Data at the Center for Democracy & Technology, focused on algorithmic discrimination and disability; Director of Policy, Advocacy, & External Affairs at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network; and founding executive director of the Autistic People of Color Fund, a project of collective care, redistributive justice, and mutual aid,. They are co-president of the Disability Rights Bar Association and Disability Justice Committee representative on the National Lawyers Guild board. Lydia is currently creating Disability Justice Wisdom Tarot. They are a former member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights, visiting faculty at Tufts University, and chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council. Often, their most important work has no title, job description, or funding, and probably never will.

Phyllis Mbeke Ndolo

Module 3

Phylis Mbeke is the Executive Director at Women spaces Africa (A feminist disability-led organization working on access to information and services on SRHR). She has been working with the grassroots movement on advocacy for sexual reproductive health and rights for the past fourteen years. Her work is centered on promoting the inclusive participation of girls and women with disabilities in programming, taking cognizance of their double marginalization that arises out of gender and Disability stereotypes. She believes the community lens is crucial for policymakers and is a diver to regional and international conventions.

Dwi Ariyani

Module 3

Dwi Ariyani is the Regional Head of Programs-Asia for the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund. Dwi is a disability rights activist. Dwi has worked for over twenty years in Indonesia on disability rights and movement building. She has worked with grassroots and national organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) to promote persons with disabilities rights and provide technical assistance for OPDs and work with them to achieve their advocacy agenda through; legislation reform and budgetary advocacy, building a bridge across the movement. As a woman with a disability herself, Dwi has also advocated for the empowerment of women with disabilities and ensures that women with disabilities are heard in every decision-making process that affects women's lives. She received the 2020 Women of Distinction Award- NGO CSW New York

Megan Smith

Module 4

Megan Smith, is a disability rights activist with over 12 years of professional experience working with grassroots organizations of persons with disabilities globally. Her work has focused on reproductive justice, the rights of women and girls with disabilities, and anti-landmine advocacy in Afghanistan, Cambodia, the United States, and Australia. In Afghanistan she led projects focused on ensuring reproductive health programmes and safe family planning practices included women and girls with disabilities. She additionally held the position of Gender and Development Officer with the International Disability Alliance (IDA) in New York, where Megan led gender related partnerships within the United Nations system. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of Iceland researching the bioethical implications of prenatal testing and fetal impairment on disability culture and rights in Iceland and Ireland.

Agness Chindimba

Module 4

Agness Chindimba is the founder and Director of Deaf Women Included. She is a disability rights worker and social development facilitator on issues to do with Gender Based Violence (GBV), sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and Disability rights as human rights. Agness is a member of the Grant Review Committee for the Black Feminist Fund. She was the coordinator of the team that translated the National Constitution of Zimbabwe into Zimbabwe Sign Language. Agness was part of the team that introduced Zimbabwean Sign Language courses at Great Zimbabwe University and a member of the team that produced the Zimbabwean National Sign Language dictionary. In her role as the founding Executive Director of Deaf Women Included, she has spearheaded the development of Information, Education, and Communication materials in Sign Language on GBV and SRHR. She is passionate about disability and gender issues as well as building inclusive and accessible communities for all. She is a Mandela Washington fellow and a 2020 gender champion awardee from the Dutch Embassy in Harare.

Jeeja Ghosh

Module 4

Jeeja Ghosh is a disability and gender rights activist. She has been associated with gender rights organizations like TARSHI and CREA. She now works with EnAble India in Bangalore.

Janet Price

Curator for disability arts

Janet Price is an activist and academic, who works at the intersection of disability, sexuality, and gender. In partnership with many others from Nigeria, India, Kenya, and Australia, amongst others, she has been convening DSROI since 2010. She is also on the Board of Disability and Deaf Arts (DaDa), Liverpool, which holds a biennial International Festival, DaDaFest.

Nidhi Goyal

Modules 5 and 6

Nidhi Goyal is the founder and executive director of the leading non profit organisation Rising Flame working for leadership and rights of persons with disabilities in India. She has been working on disability rights and gender justice for over a decade at the national, regional, and global levels, through research, writing, advocacy and art. She has been appointed to the Core Group of Persons with Disabilities by National Human Rights Commission India, is on the diversity and inclusion task force of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and sits on the advisory board of Voice- a grant making project by the Dutch ministry. She has led multi stakeholder and cross movement work, influenced policies and systems, authored ground breaking research, all with a vision to foster inclusion of women and youth with disabilities within India and globally. She has steered a leading global women’s rights organisation – AWID- as the youngest and first ever disabled president, and made huge strides in inclusion as the former global advisor to UN Women’s Executive Director. Her leadership and work have been appreciated and awarded by the government of India, National Association for the Blind, ABP News and Sur Optimist Mumbai amongst others.

Srinidhi Raghavan

Module 5

Srinidhi is a disabled feminist, writer, researcher and educator. She works at the intersections of sexuality, gender, disability and technology. Her work focuses on deepening conversations around sexuality, on understanding how technology and accessibility intersect, on rights of persons with disabilities, and building more spaces where disabled people can thrive. She has conducted trainings, undertaken research and built programmes on sexuality, leadership, digital access, security and usage, violence against women with disabilities, sexual and reproductive health, and media representation of children and disabled people. She has worked with young persons, parents, caregivers, women across ages, educators, women's rights, feminist and disability rights organisations for the past decade. She is the Co-leads Programmes at Rising Flame.

Hiker Chiu

Module 6

Hiker Chiu is an intersex human rights activist who founded OII-Chinese in 2008. As part of their work mission, Hiker started a "Global free hugs with intersex" campaign at Taipei's LGBT Pride Parade in 2010. In 2011 and 2012 they participated as spokesperson for Asia in the first and second International Intersex Forum. 2015 Hiker was elected as Co-Chair of ILGA Asia and a member of the ILGA World global Board being the first intersex activist ever elected to become a member of an ILGA board. In February 2018 Hiker and fellow intersex activists founded Intersex Asia as an umbrella organisation for intersex human rights activism in Asia. Hiker is currently serving as chair and Executive Director of Intersex Asia.

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