Smt. Sheela Balaji, a member of one of the country’s most respected business families, the TVS group, is a graduate of Fine Arts from Stella Maris College, Chennai. Yet she has chosen a path quite different from the corporate sector. Inspired and guided by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, she is deeply committed to community and social development projects. At present, she is the Chairperson and Managing Trustee of AIM for Seva and Swami Dayananda Educational Trust – both not-for-profit organisations that work towards societal transformation at the grassroots level. While AIM for Seva focuses on educating rural India through Free Student Hostels, Swami Dayananda Educational Trust focuses on creating a model village through sustainable rural empowerment initiatives, in the village of Manjakkudi, the birthplace of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. She is also the Founder Trustee of the publishing house Arsha Vidya Research & Publications, which publishes all of Swamiji’s talks and lectures on Vedanta. An articulate writer, Smt. Sheela Balaji has authored many books on the subject of Vedanta and also chronicled the life of her guru.
From an avid interest in textile craft using natural dyes, she became a pioneer in the field spending almost 20 years perfecting the craft. Her meeting Swamiji was a life transforming experience and she made a transition effortlessly, from a business environment to social service. Her pioneering work in providing succour to the victims of Tsunami in Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu, entitled AIM for Seva a special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Today, she devotes all her time to empowering communities in rural India through Free Student Hostels, Educational Institutions, Sustainable Living & Environment, Healthcare, Community Service, Cultural Validation, Community Development Projects and vocational study centres. Under her visionary leadership, all three organisations have transformed and continue to transform the lives of thousands of people in rural India.