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Sheela Patel

Director, Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC)

Sheela Patel has worked with urban poor communities, with a particular focus on women and children since 1974. She realized that welfare does not produce real change for the poor, and organizations working on poverty issues needed new ways to address these problems. Thus, with other like-minded peers, she founded the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) which seeks to create institutional arrangements where communities own and control organizations and institutions that provide services to the poor. She is the Board Chair of Shack Dwellers International, a recipient of the 2009 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award and the 2000 UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award.