Mrs. Padma Venkataraman


Padma Venkataraman is the President of Gnanodaya Rehabilitation Association & one of India's well-known social activists. Daughter of former Indian President R. Venkataraman, Padma has long been a leading figure in the national fight against leprosy.

Padma lived for many years in Vienna, Austria, where she was permanent representative of the All India Women’s Conference to the U.N., member of several non-profit Committees accredited to the U.N., such as the Committee on Narcotics, Committee on Disabled, etc. She was also vice president of the non-profit organization Committee on Women and President of the United Nations Women’s Guild. In addition, Padma was a founder-member of the Women’s Indian Association and member, later Vice-President of the Austro-Indian Association. She underwent a training course and worked to help mentally and physically challenged children in Vienna.

In India, she has been most active in grassroots work in leprosy rehabilitation for 15 years. She was Honorary Director of a FAO/All- India Women’s Conference Project for leprosy patients in the 4000 strong Shahdhara Colony in Delhi; and worked with HOPE WORLDWIDE to construct houses for 800 families there. For over 5 years she was Honorary Director of a major Tamil Nadu wide DANIDA-funded leprosy rehabilitation project under the auspices of the Women’s Indian Association, Chennai.

In the wake of the Tsunami disaster, Padma has worked tirelessly for the livelihood rehabilitation of the fisherfolk in selected sites through the repair of fishing boats and catamarans and the provision of fishing nets.

Padma is currently the Vice-President of the Women’s Indian Association, Chennai, a committee member of the Srinivasa Gandhi Nilayam, a trustee of the Global Cancer Concern, Delhi, a Patron, Gandhi Peace Foundation, Chennai, etc. She also advises in an honorary capacity HOPE Worldwide

An economics graduate, her honors include awards by Women’s Indian Association, HOPE WORLDWIDE and an honorary doctorate from Emmanuel College, Kota. She is married and has two daughters.