The Asia Society recently honored Luna Ranjit ’00, co-founder and executive director of Adhikaar for Human Rights & Social Justice, for her “outstanding achievements, commitment to public service, and desire to make the world a better place.”
The society named her to their Class of 2013-14 Asia 21 Young Leaders, a prestigious group of emerging leaders under the age of 40 in fields including government, business, policy, education, and arts.
Ranjit has guided Adhikaar’s programs, research, policy advocacy, and partnership since its inception in 2005. Under her leadership, Adhikaar has served thousands of immigrant workers and helped their voices change laws, including the NY State Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and the International Convention on Domestic Workers.
Regarded as an expert on emerging immigrant communities, she has been quoted and featured in print and broadcast media, such as the The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Daily News, NPR, PBS, and community media, on the issues related to data disaggregation, language access, and workers’ rights.
Ranjit attended Grinnell on a Nepal Special Scholarship, and received numerous awards while a student. She went on to earn a master in public and international affairs at Princeton, then moved to New York City where she began working with community-based organizations serving the area's burgeoning South Asian population.
Ranjit saw that the Nepali-speaking community was often underserved or not served at all by organizations nominally dedicated to helping South Asians. So in early 2005, she and a group of like-minded friends founded Adhikaar — the word means "rights" in Nepali — to fill the gap. In 2006, Grinnell awarded her the Wall Service Award, a $20,000 award to support her work.
In serving her community, Ranjit says, "I draw upon the two things I took from Grinnell — my dream of making a positive difference in the world and the confidence that I can do it."