Salaam Bombay Children's Fund - About Us

"Salaam Bombay," literally translated, is a salutation to the innovative character and indomitable spirit of the city of Bombay (Mumbai). For generations, Bombay represents a metaphor for the spirit within each of us that dreams and makes things happen. Salaam Bombay is a salutation to this drive to create change.

Our Mission

We work with children growing up in India's slums. These children live in conditions of extreme poverty and deprivation. Salaam Bombay seeks to improve their daily lives by instilling life skills and job skills to break the cycle of poverty for them and their families. We do this by engaging them through in-school leadership and after-school sports, arts and vocational skill programs. These programs build their confidence, self-esteem, and encourage active decision making. They sow the seeds of leadership and ambition, inspiring children to stay in school and work towards a healthier, brighter future.

Our Mission

Our Children

Poverty, Poor Education, Lack of life and job skills, Tobacco Abuse

Map Legend

Mumbai is one of India's largest cities with a population of almost 14 million, the city where our programs started and a lot of our work is centered around. 56% of its residents live on merely 6% of the land. The worst affected are the children. 36 percent of Mumbai's slum children are malnourished, posing a significant risk to their health and development. The absolute poverty has also deterred the pursuit of formal education as it is not deemed a high priority as compared to other basic necessities. Other obstacles are inter-generational illiteracy, deficient quality education in local public schools, no competent help for children to do well academically, lack of exposure to the outside world, and the sheer absence of physical space needed to allow children to be curious, creative, intelligent and therefore successful. Uncertain and fluctuating incomes typically force children, in particular girls, out of the school system as soon as they are deemed capable of contributing to the family income or multiple domestic chores. Limited learning levels are another deterrent in their ability to contribute to the formal organized work force once they complete school.

Such a high pressured, multi responsibility childhood leaves them susceptible to negative influences and vulnerable to substance abuse – in particular, tobacco. Every 16 seconds, a child in India tries tobacco for the first time, putting the lives of approximately 5,500 children at risk from tobacco-related diseases every day.

  • Over 10 million Indian children are estimated to be users of tobacco
  • 45% of slum children drop out before the 8th grade; only 12% complete the 10th grade
  • Only 1 out of 100 students graduates from high school (12th grade)
  • 60% of Indian youth are considered unemployable due to low education & skill levels


Executive Committee of the board of Directors

Ashley Kadakia, CEO, Salaam Bombay Children's Fund

After over 10 years working in international luxury sales at Christie's auction house and Swiss watchmaker F.P.Journe, Ashley Kadakia owns and runs her own retail company, Beyond Bombay, which sources unique goods from India. Being married to an native of Mumbai, Ashley visits India each year where she has developed a learning of Indian designs and customs. After spending years coveting all the beautiful textiles India has to offer and understanding that not everyone has the opportunity to travel to India, Ashley created Beyond Bombay to bring the beauty of India to the US customer. Ashley lives in New York City with her husband and two children and serves on several other local boards and committees.

Avtar Ganju, President, Salaam Bombay Children's Fund

Avtar partnered with Victor to start the Salaam Bombay Children’s Fund in 2012. Avtar Ganju has a PhD in Pharma and an executive management degree in marketing. He is a Certified Financial Planner (C.F.P), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and a Chartered Financial Consultant (Ch.FC). Avtar has been in the financial industry for over 35 years and specializes in Retirement Planning and Wealth Transfer with a focus on Legacy & Charitable Planning. Avtar has 600 plus endorsements on his LinkedIn Profile.

Victor Martinez-Angles, Chairman, Salaam Bombay Children's Fund

Victor started the Salaam Bombay Children’s Fund in 2012 to raise awareness and funds to promote education and skills for underprivileged youth in India. He is also a partner at Lumis Partners since 2009. Before Lumis, Victor lead Corporate Development for Genpact and held Business Development and M&A Executive positions at General Electric Company.

Advisory Board Members

Ashley Kadakia, CEO, Salaam Bombay Children's Fund

Avtar Ganju, President, Salaam Bombay Children's Fund

Victor Martinez-Angles, Chairman, Salaam Bombay Children's Fund

Rashida Ahmed

Rashida Ahmed is the Founding officer and Operations Director Interplast, LLC. Established in 1987, Interplast is a manufacturer of plastic and paper shopping bags and worldwide sourcing manager for high molecular weight flexible packaging. Rashida has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Monmouth University and she is the proud President-elect of the Stamford, CT chapter of Kiwanis International. Stamford Kiwanis will be celebrating 100 years in June 2017.

John J Cerullo

Founding Senior Partner and Managing Executive of professional services firms engaged in the providing of accounting, tax, consulting, valuation, forensic and investigative, financial advisory and financial management services. Mr. Cerullo studied accounting & Finance at Baruch College and grew up in New York.

Julian Elliott

Julian Elliott started his professional career at Price Waterhouse. After many years spent in the Geneva and San Francisco offices, he joined the private wealth management firm of Notz Stucki & Cie working from the Geneva and Montreal offices. Julian retired as a Partner from Notz Stucki & Cie in 2010 at which time he founded Fargo Management Canada Ltd. providing international strategic consulting services from Montreal. Julian is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant.

Dr. Rajkamal Iyer

Rajkamal Iyer’s research focuses on the area of banking and contract theory, with a particular interest in understanding the role of interbank markets in the provision of liquidity. Raj holds an MA in Economics from Bombay University, an MSc in Economics and Finance from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in Finance from INSEAD.

Vinay Nair

Vinay Nair is an investment manager, professor and author. He is the co-founder and co-chairman of 55 Capital Partners, an investment firm with offices in New York City, San Francisco and Mumbai, India. Nair is also a visiting professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Scott Nathan

Scott Nathan provides a variety of risk management and mitigation and legal counsel services as outside general counsel, corporate director and start-up investor. His experience includes outside General Counsel and Board Advisor of a privately held global supply chain and BPO company with offices around the world; General Counsel for a healthcare service delivery company and an online sports publishing website and an investor and/or promoter in projects ranging from start-ups involving social networking and mobile apps to roll-ups in the auto and healthcare industries. He has written articles and co-authored book chapters regarding privacy, intellectual property and risk allocation. Scott also volunteers for a number of non-profits that support children and families in need. He is a graduate of Syracuse University and Suffolk University Law School.

Dr. Ashok Shaha

Dr. Shaha specializes in head and neck surgery. His commitment has been to foster a better quality of life for cancer patients. He has been elected to top leadership positions in the American Head and Neck Society, the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, the New York Head and Neck Society, the New York Cancer Society and the American Society for Surgeons of Indian Origin.

Aditi Shrikam

Aditi Shrikam has spent over ten years working in the role of Financial Controller at Malabar Bay & Jayes Studio. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Aditi is a President of the Board of Trustees at the Long Ridge School. Aditi graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, and holds a Bachelors degree in Economics & Management.

Padmini Somani

Padmini Somani is the vision and force behind Salaam Bombay Foundation which started in 2002. Her holistic approach to life has been decisive in her move to spearhead the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation which supports causes in the area of health, education and employment generation. She is a graduate from the London School of Economics and has a M.Sc. in Financial Economics from University of London.