Charity founder recognised for tireless support of Leicestershire’s women

A leading advocate for women in Leicestershire has been recognised for her tireless work improving lives across the county.

A beacon of hope and empowerment for women for more than two decades, Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan is the founder and CEO of The Zinthiya Trust, a charity working to prevent poverty and abuse against women and within families in Leicester and the county.

Today (Friday 21 July), the University of Leicester formally recognised Zinthiya’s contribution to society, by awarding her an Honorary Doctorate of Laws during a graduation ceremony, held at De Montfort Hall.


After accepting her doctorate, Zinthiya spoke to the hundreds of new Leicester graduates present at the ceremony.

She said: “I am humbled to be offered this honorary doctorate from the University of Leicester. Leicester is where I have worked and for the last 15 years and have made it my home. I love the city and what it has to offer. This makes it even more special.”

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, said: “Zinthiya epitomises the Citizen of Change ethos that runs through the DNA of our University.

“It’s truly astounding to think that just one person has made such a positive difference to so many women and families in need of help, here in our city.

“For the University to be associated with Zinthiya is a huge privilege for us, and I would like to personally congratulate her on her honorary award.”

The Zinthiya Trust supports more than 2,500 people each year from some of the most marginalised communities with the aim of enabling them to live fulfilling lives.

Zinthiya has more than 20 years’ experience of working with women fleeing violence, including those who are affected by violent conflict, and in designing and developing services aimed at women and girls fleeing abuse. She strongly believes that communities can be a part of the solution as well as the problem so much of her work focuses on developing community-led solutions to prevent violence against women and girls. She also works to promote female entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship locally, nationally and internationally.

The Zinthiya Trust has won numerous awards including a social impact award at the BizX conference in 2021. Zinthiya was named CEO of the year at BizX in 2023. The Trust has special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Zinthiya has postgraduate qualifications from Loughborough University and Staffordshire University, and has sat on the boards of Leicester Rape Crisis, Leicester City of Sanctuary and Clockwise Credit Union. Since 2018 onwards she has been Director of She Inspires (Global), a UK based consultancy providing capacity building support to not-for-profit organisations. In addition, she is a published author and a Fellow of the School of Social Entrepreneurs, the Clore Social Leadership and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.