Anu George Canjanathoppil


  • Program Year
  • 2010-11
  • Country of Current Residence
  • India
  • City/Town of Current Residence
  • New Delhi
  • Current Position
  • Director, National Strategy and Interventions
  • Organization
  • International Justice Mission
  • Profession(s)
  • Lawyer, Playwright, Activist

  • Sector(s)
  • Advocacy, Law, Social justice, Women's rights
  • Language(s)
  • English
  • Interest(s) / Expertise
  • child labour, children's rights, empowerment of women, writing
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Anu is the Director of International Justice Mission (IJM), an anti-human trafficking NGO based in India. Since co-founding an events management company at the age of 16, Anu has become an accomplished intellectual property lawyer, and also a playwright, filmmaker, and social activist. Throughout her home country of India, she advocates for access to education and a political voice for women and children.

Born in Cochin, Kerala, Anu obtained her B.A.,B.L. from Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College in Chennai and a special diploma in Intellectual Property Law at the Indian Law Institute in Pune.  While still a student, Anu taught university courses on media laws and intellectual property rights at Manipal University, Bangalore. She is a member of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu.

While a scholarship student with the Bangalore Management Academy (BMA), Anu worked as the Head of Operations of the University of Aberdeen, Indian campus. She obtained her Masters in International Business, which was awarded by Edith Cowan University.

Anu uses her legal and creative skills to tackle injustices throughout her country. She campaigns ardently on behalf of the Youths Student Party in Chennai, and assists the party in educating the public about the accountability of all political parties. Through her participation in over 25 street theatre productions which she wrote and directed, Anu has sought to raise public awareness about a range of issues close to her heart: the education and empowerment of women, domestic violence, child labour, and the importance of young people’s participation in India’s democratic system. Anu has also scripted over 200 short radio plays in regional languages, addressing themes such as peaceful co-existence, and exploring the question of how to live according to one’s value system and faith.

Before becoming a Sauvé Fellow, Anu worked as the Creative Director for Accel Animation Studios and has produced two film scripts: one advocating against domestic violence and the other about child labour in India.

As a Fellow

Anu spent her Sauvé year researching the links between corporate social responsibility and child labour. Her vision was to develop a working model for the education of underprivileged children with a global curriculum that will ensure that education is chosen over child labour. An essential part of the concept is a revenue-generating model that supports the needs of this unique project. Anu aimed to explore various schooling models, to design a pedagogy that sets aside India’s sixty-year old syllabus in favour of one that focuses on the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of young learners and that cultivates their sense of civic responsibility.

To bring about this radical shift, Anu knows that the tools of the law and advocacy are not enough: she must understand and realistically confront the economic realities that underlie child labour. As a Sauvé Fellow, she built partnerships with academia and education-based NGOs that will enable her to refine and implement her vision.