Upasna Kakroo

Upasna_3 - Upasna Kakroo
  • What does your organization do?

    Peerbagh is a 501c3 that works with a mission to build storytellers and diversify our bookshelves. We produce storytelling workshops, children's books, toolkits for kids, families, and educators. We also host storytelling workshops for organizations interested in building team engagement and inclusion through storytelling.
  • How did you become interested in this work?

    I have written 4 children's books and was volunteering for Peerbagh which at that time was a volunteer-led children's monthly magazine. In 2022, I was in an office environment where a colleague shared in a meeting that non-native English speakers can't be creative. This made me work on some research that indicated that the ignorance is actually reflective of a systemic gap in our education and book industry.

    - 70% books for children and young adults feature leads who are animals or white (skewing male)
    - Only 10% books K-12 are written by authors of color
    - 54% children in schools identify as diverse and 50% students (in Canada) share getting bullied due to their ethnic diversity

    By bringing South-Asia inspired stories, we try to close this gap in classrooms, so that all kids feel that their stories matter, and they build the creative confidence to share their story.
  • What drives your passion?

    As an immigrant, woman of color, and a mother, I want to create a world where ALL children irrespective of their backgrounds and diversities can feel that their stories matter. Our world is richer when we create inclusive spaces and use stories to build critical thinking and cognitive empathy in kids and adults.
  • Do you have a mentor or a role model?

    Reshma Saujani (Founder of Girls Who Code)

    I do not know Reshma but find her work and the way she has grown the organization very inspiring. As a former engineer, I can see the systemic biases minorities and girls face in professions where they do not see themselves represented. Reshma's organization and work has changed the narrative, and created so much awareness. It's something I feel inspired by when I think about my own nonprofit.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?

    Fundraising and building a community since we are very new as a nonprofit
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?

    Don't take criticism from those you would not take advice from
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?

    - Find your community
    - Focus and prioritize
    - Show up for your purpose (consistency matters)
  • Anything Extra To Add?

    What do you enjoy most about being a One Voice Central Texas Member?
    Meeting with other nonprofits, especially those that are smaller, so it feels more relatable.

    To learn more about Peerbagh visit their website. Please see our Archive of Featured Members to read about other members.