Raakhi Shah

The Circle

The 25 March 2020 saw the UK enter its first lockdown. For Raakhi Shah it was also her first day as Chief Executive of The Circle, a charity founded by Annie Lennox that empowers women.

Despite the frightening times we were living through, Raakhi focused her efforts on responding to the urgent needs of vulnerable women. Drawing on her experience in international development at UNICEF UK and Oxfam, Raakhi transformed The Circle and raised significant new funds to support vulnerable women. Critically, Raakhi initiated and led The Circle’s first emergency appeals to aid women in crises; first during the pandemic and again following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Responding to the growing crises for vulnerable women, she launched an ambitious five-year strategy, streamlined our focus to ending violence and economic empowerment, brought on new women-led grassroots partners in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Uganda, South Africa and the UK, and increased grant-giving by 146%. A believer in the power of the collective, Raakhi created safe spaces for Circle communities after the death of George Floyd, Sarah Everard, and the events in Afghanistan. She led on anti-racism training and ran events to inspire activists in allyship and anti-racism training with senior stakeholders.