Xchange Thursdays: A forum for social change by Simona Terron

ahimsa fest 2017

XChange Thursdays, a monthly event, organised by GHP member Simona Terron in Bandra, is raising awareness about important social movements happening around us.
The last edition had The Ahimsa Fest 2017 speakers in conversation with guests.

Ahimsa Fest 2017: Did you know that there’s a large-scale Vegan event that’s coming up this month?

We got to know via an equally interesting event being organised by GHP member and social change champion, Simona Terron. Known as XChange Thursdays, it is being put together on the first Thursday of every month at Title Waves bookstore in Bandra West.

Simona Terron

What’s XChange Thursdays?

As organiser of Xchange Thursdays and co-founder of charity initiative The Bicycle Project India, Simona shared, “These events are truly a heart-warming experience, and the reason I started Xchange Thursdays was because I honestly believe in the idea that change begins with each of us. In the last 9 years, The Bicycle Project has been bringing smiles through recycled bicycles to school children in rural areas. And this was mainly possible only because of the involvement of community members since we are a very small team. I wanted to celebrate this idea of people working together for the good of everyone.”

Open to everyone and inviting people who wish to learn about small organisations or individuals who are trying to actively bring about some change in society, XChange Thursdays started only recently in September. Yet, it has interesting guests raising awareness about unusual and illuminating topics. Like upcoming The Ahimsa Fest 2017, slated for 26 October  – 11 November 2017.

Ahimsa Fest 2017What happened this month at XChange Thursdays?

The last session on October 5 saw speakers from this Fest – one of India’s first vegan events. The Ahimsa Fest 2017 brings on a large scale everything from food and clothing to healthy lifestyle products and processes that promote eco-friendliness, caring for the environment, stopping animal cruelty and living a life that is as close to natural and positive as possible.

The speakers – NutriChef Vinita Contractor, fashion designer Monica Chopra, marathon runner Siddharth Shukla and Dr Rupa Shah of the Ahimsa Parmo Dharma Trust –  weren’t there to preach or convert anyone to veganism. They simply shared their stories very honestly and practically about why they turned vegan and how this inspired them to follow their passions.

Speakers from The Ahimsa Fest 2017 at XChange Thursdays 

Vinita Contractor spoke of how her two young sons cemented the decision to go vegan as a family, which ultimately led to her training and getting certified as a plant-based NutriChef who now teaches healthy vegan cooking workshops.

The Ahimsa Fest 2017
(L-R) Monica Chopra, Vinita Contractor, Siddharth Shukla and Dr Rupa Shah speaking at XChange Thursdays October edition

Monica Chopra recalled how her understanding of the dairy industry’s inhumane practices propelled her to start offering sustainable, cruelty-free, and vegan alternatives through her portal to people who felt the same way she did but didn’t know where to start.

Barefoot runner of ultra-marathons, Siddharth Shukla revealed how turning vegan transformed his health so radically that despite having had surgery four times for kidney stones, he began to run marathons. He is now in training for one of the world’s most gruelling, one-day international sports competitions called the Iron Man Triathlon, which takes place next month in Malaysia.

Dr Rupa Shah, a core member of the Ahimsa Parmo Dharma Trust that is behind The Ahimsa Fest 2017, shared how she heals people and reverses diseases by helping them change their diets.

Audience members won discount vouchers for Vinita’s upcoming baking workshop and for shopping on Monica’s portal, while everyone gravitated towards Siddharth and Dr Shah for fitness and health tips.

Next edition of XChange Thursdays

Date: November 2nd 2017.
Venue: Title Waves bookstore, Bandra W.
Timings: 6 – 8 pm


The Bicycle Project India is a charity initiative that donates recycled bicycles to underprivileged/village/tribal school kids, so they can commute easily to the government-run, free schools and don’t drop out because of the distance.

Click here for more details on the Ahimsa Fest 2017

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