Skip to content

Arif Lemani

Arif Lemani

Managing Director, Head of Flagship Projects & Strategy Planning

Arif Lemani is an activist, artist, and social innovator. He has championed many social causes with his social innovations. His work has empowered communities, improved the lives of hundreds of children, and enabled thousands of people to consciously participate in resolving environmental challenges and fighting climate change. He founded the Non-Profit, Small Wish International Foundation and is currently serving as the Head of Flagship Projects & Strategy Planning.

His Journey

Arif was 11 when his dad, a noted environmentalist started taking him out as a field volunteer in animal vaccination camps, and wildlife sanctuaries to understand wildlife conservation, and indigenous community visits to understand rural life. His dad actively took him to activism events where he and his siblings together advocated for the conservation of wetlands and endangered species like great adjutant stock.

He started his pursuit in the summer of 2015 with a vision to build an equitable and sustainable world. He committed years to multi-disciplinary research work, Creative Problem Solving, and intensive learning to develop a solid knowledge base, find innovative solutions, develop cost-effective, high-impact, and scalable projects to meet global challenges, and support the SDGs. During the initial years of his research work, he worked in isolation, switched off his cell phone, and disconnected himself from social media. His unconditional service to Small Wish International Foundation came with great personal sacrifice. Even though this process constructively led to some brilliant ideas, he eventually lost touch with all his friends. For several years, he silently carried out his work at the grassroots staying away from the public eye. Those years changed the way he looked at life and helped him repurpose his life to work for the greater good.

In 2017, he took up a job to make savings to start his non-profit and implement his ideas/solutions through projects. In 2019, he incorporated the Small Wish International Foundation. The first three years were a lot of heavy lifting, he worked two jobs, 14 hrs a day, undertook multiple roles & responsibilities to reduce expenses, and contributed his savings to keep the non-profit going. In 2022, after the successful completion of Phase I 2015-2022. He made an early exit from his job, to put all his time and energy to work for Small Wish International Foundation.

His Ideas & Impact

He started the CCEP Project, an unparalleled environmental project to promote and foster pro-environmental behavior and sustainable living. The Project is inspired by his dad’s minimalist lifestyle which inspired him to adopt sustainable living practices at the early stage of his life. He designed a Consumer Behavior Shaping Programme to shape people’s perceptions/attitudes/behavior. He initiated a Sustainable Living Training Programme to enable people to adopt sustainable living practices as a part of their lifestyle to reduce their living impact on the planet. He developed a Super Class Curriculum, an environmental education curriculum for children to ensure environmental awareness/reshape mindset at the school level in the brain development stages of a child. He initiated the EWS Programme with a circular economy model to reduce waste by reusing and repurposing and forward-linked the produced goods to benefit women and children living in poverty.

He started the For a Change Project to ensure decent childhood for children. He founded the concept of SVGs (Social Volunteer Groups), a high-impact and cost-effective way to increase public/youth participation to sustain the humanitarian efforts of the project. “During my endeavor to find solutions to end poverty, I realized that being stuck in poverty can kill more hope than one could imagine. All those things many of us have taken for granted; some children seldom have they ever had the joy of.”

He started the Avant Garde Project, a think-tank project to explore innovative ways to solve new challenges every year from the grassroots to the global level. He kick-started the project in 2021 by undertaking a grassroots challenge to revive the Indigenous Community-Based Tourism on Majuli Island, The World’s Largest Riverine Island.

He started the Youth Action & Leadership Training (YALT) Programme to mentor young social entrepreneurs, founders of Non-Profits, and aspiring youth wanting to transition to the development sector, start a new era of advanced-thinking organizations and contribute to nation-building.

Apart from the direct impact created by his Flagship projects, He has also consulted many non-profits working at the grassroots and continually provided expert advice to improve their project delivery and impact.