About the Team
Dr Rishi Handa BSc (Hons), MA, PhD
Co-Author of Diwali, Holi and The Ramayana
Dr Rishi Handa graduated from University College London (UCL) with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics with Theoretical Physics, and thereafter qualified as a secondary school teacher in Mathematics from the London Institute of Education (UCL IoE). Following that, he completed his MA in South Asian Area Studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS) in which he majored in Hindu jurisprudence and minored in Indian philosophy and Sanskrit. Rishi’s higher education culminated at the same institution with the completion of a PhD in the Study of Religions focusing on the construction of religious identities in India.
As a school teacher, Rishi is currently Head of Sanskrit at St James Independent School for boys where he teaches the classical language along with religious studies, having formerly taught ancient Greek there too. Previously, he taught at Slough Grammar and Langley Grammar schools covering a varied range of subjects from mathematics, religious studies which comprises of philosophy and ethics, theory of knowledge and critical thinking. Rishi also taught Panjabi and Hindi to adults at the SOAS language centre for nine years. For two years, he was the external examiner of Panjabi at King’s College London (KCL), and for the same period of time worked periodically for the Independent Television Facilities Centre (ITFC) translating and subtitling in Panjabi for a series of English cartoons.
Co-Author of Mahvir
Nirav Gudhka, a professional in the Automotive industry, has a passion for Jain religion. He has been teaching the religion to young children in his community, including his own two kids, for several years. He has used that teaching exposure as a platform to write a new Jain book, that gives a simple and easy to understand representation of what the religion is all about.
Co-Author of Yoga and Mindfulness Cards
Deepa Shah has a passion for working with children and helping them learn and grow in a creative way. Deepa has been studying and practising and teaching yoga for 12 years. She believes it can helps everyone find their won wisdom and ‘hidden teasure’. Deepa has been a key influence in creating The Jai Jais Yoga and mindfulness cards, and written poetry expressing positive intentions and mindfulness for each of the cards.
Working with the Jai Jais Podcasts
Bijal Shah is a bibliotherapist, counsellor, author and poet. She is the founder of Book Therapy, which offers individual, couple’s and group bibliotherapy, literary curation and personalised reading services as well as bibliotherapy training. Bijal’s book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice and various other publications. She is a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and the American Library Association. She is also the author of the non-fiction book, "The Happiness Mindset”, which has received more than 50 reviews on Amazon with a 5 star rating.
Bijal has also completed a post-graduate professional accountancy qualification and a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from the University of Warwick, after attending Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls. She is a mother of two and currently resides in Hampstead, London with her husband
Developing Yoga Teaching Videos
Reena Vekaria is a qualified Yoga Instructor from Wembley. Reena developed a love for Yoga during her teenage years and after getting her Masters in English Literature and teaching the subject in a Secondary School for four years, she decided to take her passion further and qualified as a Yoga Instructor from Bangalore, India in 2014. Voluntarily, she has also taught English, Gujarati and Hinduism at her local HYA (Hindu Youth Association) and HSS (Hindu Sevika Samiti), a women's charity organisation, nurturing children in the importance of our Dharma and knowing Hindu Gods and Goddesses, which heightened her love for teaching.
Reena has been teaching Yoga ever since 2014, and currently working in local schools, gyms and with the community, her passion for teaching Yoga to children has grown over the years immensely. A child’s mental and physical health is vital to their well-being and she strongly believes that this can be nurtured through Yoga. A good child is a happy child, and a happy child will always prosper!
Girish Naker FCMA CGMA MBA
Print & Distribution
Girish is a qualified Accountant with over 40 years’ experience in the printing, packaging and publishing. He started work in family-owned print business in 1979 and has been responsible for Operations, Administration and Accounts.
In November 2019, the Jai Jai’s team successfully launched the Jai Jais Yoga and Mindfulness cards using crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. With 238 backers £16842 was raised. Girish was involved in the entire process from its initial inception to delivering the marketing, the promotion and finally the communications to all the backers.
Girish brings wealth of experience of commercial environment in addition to the in depth understanding and knowledge of publishing and printing.
Nemash Patel Bsc (Hons), Computer Systems for Business
Social Media and E-Commerce
Nemash began his career at the luxury department store, Harrods, where he started out as a Business Analyst working on various projects throughout the store. He spent much of his time working on projects within the direct mail and distribution departments. During the later part of his time at Harrods, Nemash took on the role as Internet Services Project Manager, where he was responsible for overseeing Harrods.com.
Nemash has also spent time as Web Media Manager for one the UK's largest Housing Associations; where he was responsible for the managing the organisations numerous websites and the corporate Intranet. He went on to become an Online Business Specialist, where is was responsible for developing and rolling out the businesses first online portal; which enabled residents to login and view rent statements, repairs etc, as well as making payments and submitting requests.
Nemash has been responsible of Digital and Social Media Marketing for Luxury, Business and Lifestyle publication Asian Wealth Magazine, since its creation over 7 years. In addition, he has been a partner in an eCommerce business and now works in the social media space; focusing on paid social ads using Facebook and Instagram.
Nemash met Sunita at the end of December 2015, when he came across the first of The Jai Jai's books on social. He was so impressed with the book and the concept, that he contacted Sunita through a mutual friend, with a view to helping promote the books via social media. Nemash has gone onto support the not only the social media for TheJaiJais but also to develop the eCommerce website.