Hon. Ela Gandhi
Trustee, Gandhi Development Trust
Co-President, Religions for Peace
As many members of the well-known Gandhi family, the Honorable Ela Gandhi is commonly seen on the front lines of the global Interfaith movement in the current day, having not stopped her pursuit of social justice since prior to her service on South Africa’s Parliament. Born in South Africa in 1940, Gandhi was educated well, receiving two Bachelor degrees from Natal University, after which she served at several family welfare societies.
Some of her most notable work has been her efforts for social justice during the time of Apartheid in South Africa. In the mid 1970s, her protests were deemed inappropriate, she was banned from activism and placed under house arrest. Despite these obstacles, she continued to work toward an end to the unjust social practice, despite the continued struggles it brought to her life and family. She also assisted in helping South Africa transition to a post-Apartheid state of normalcy by sitting on the Transitional Executive Committee in the South African government.
She proceeded to serve in South Africa’s Parliament from 1994 to 2004 with an alignment toward the African National Congress with a focus on Welfare programs and Motherhood Support. Following her time in Parliament, she developed a 24-hour domestic violence support organization, founded and still chairs the Gandhi Development Trust, is a member of the Religious Affairs Committee and chairs the Salt March Committee. She has received numerous recognition for her long humanitarian career, including the Pravasi Bhartiya Award and the Community of Christ International Peace Award. Ela Gandhi’s high profile as an individual devoted to the cause of perpetuating peace with a determination to cross religious boundaries in her efforts serves as an incredible source of support for Religions for Peace.