Director, Mariwala Health Initiative
Raj Mariwala is Director, Mariwala Health Initiative, an advocacy, capacity-building, and grant making organization focusing on accessible mental health for marginalized communities. With an educational background in Business Economics and International Relations from Lewis and Clark College, USA, and HEC (École des Hautes études commerciales) Geneve. Raj’s previous work experience includes livelihood-related work at Mercy Corps International with refugees, immigrants, and low-income Americans. The standpoint of lived experience informs Raj’s approach to philanthropy, mental health, and social justice which lies at the intersection of feminist, queer-trans, and mad studies. In line with this approach, Raj spearheads and is editor of MHI’s annual journal ReFrame which challenges existing norms and explores diverse voices within the mental health space — expanding horizons for who gets to participate in such conversations in an effort to firmly ground mental health in a contextual, intersectional, rights-based, inter-sectoral framework. In the past, Raj has served on the Advisory Board of the Global Mental Health Action Network, a global joint advocacy, communications, and learning coalition on mental health as well as on the Advisory Board for the Lancet Commission on Stigma and Discrimination. Under Raj’s leadership, MHI launched the Alliance for Suicide Prevention (ASP), which brings together stakeholders, including policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and funders, to work collaboratively to prevent suicide. Currently, Raj is also a board member of Parcham, a not-for-profit that works with young marginalized women on human rights, equity, and social justice. Raj is also a practicing canine and feline behaviorist.
Business and philanthropy must recognise that we have a responsibility towards social justice and humanity. We must all hold ourselves accountable. To this end, it is my hope that platforms such as SABERA help us to keep questioning ourselves and learning together.