SAN’s staff, volunteers, and board include: a majority of women, who are persons of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Nepali origin from Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist traditions; first-generation immigrants and American-born; speakers of Hindi, Nepali, Gujarati, Urdu, Bangla, Punjabi and Sinhala; and queer and heterosexual members.
SAN’s diversity reflects the multiple identities within the community, as well as multiple issue areas and methodologies for community building. Staff come with extensive experience and knowledge of public health, civil rights/ immigrant rights, intimate partner violence and community education.
Kinjal was born in India and moved to California in 1999 at the age of 11. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science from California State University, Fullerton. Having an extravagant fondness of serving the community, she maintains a strong connection to the work of non-profit, community based organizations and aspires to pursue a Masters in Public Health in the near future. With a strong leadership demeanor she challenges herself by performing in a variety of administrative and fundraising roles as needed along with intake coordination. She is fluent in Gujarati and Hindi.
MH therapist/Sexual Assault Advocate
Nida was born in Karachi, Pakistan and migrated to California at the age of 10. Nida has always had a passion for empowering individuals and families through life challenges. She strongly believes in helping others overcome their challenges through psychotherapy. She recently graduated from CSU Los Angeles with a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) with School Counseling credentials. Nida has experience in working with individuals aged 4 to 60 within organizational and school settings. She joined the South Asian Network to promote Mental Health within the South Asian community. In addition to Mental Health, she works to advocate for survivors of sexual assault. Nida is fluent in Urdu.
MH therapist/Community Advocate
Shyamolika was born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in Los Angeles. She recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a Masters in Social Work. During her undergraduate studies, Shyamolika spent a semester working as an intern at the Mother Theresa Foundation in Kolkata, India. At USC, she submitted an abstract and presented on, the often overlooked, traumatic experiences of women during the partition of India and Pakistan at the International Association of Forensic Psychiatrists conference at Yale University. Shyamolika interned as a case manager for the YMCA Youth and Family Services Kinship Program where she navigated resources for grandparents raising their grandchildren. She also interned for Assemblymember Chris Holden of disctrict 41 as the constituent services representative where she contacted government agencies on the constituent’s behalf. Her passion is to work with victims of trauma. She is currently a Mental Health Therapist and Case Manager within the health and violence prevention programs at SAN. Shyamolika is fluent in Bengali and Hindi.
Saima was born in Pakistan, raised in four countries, and speaks five languages. With a Ph.D in Human Rights, Saima started at SAN in 2007 as community advocate with AWAZ, she later coordinated the AWAZ unit, and is now SAN’s Deputy Director. In 2009, Saima was selected as a Fellow for the Women’s Foundation of California’s Women’s Policy Institute, a project that trains women to take on leadership roles in state policy advocacy. She has previously worked on police violence, disability rights, and governance.
Manjusha (Manju) P. Kulkarni is Executive Director of South Asian Network (SAN). Located in Artesia, California, SAN serves the needs of individuals of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Sri Lankan descent in the areas of civil rights, violence prevention and health and health care access. On April 24, 2014, Manju received the White House Champions of Change award for her dedication to improving health care access for South Asian Americans.
Before joining SAN, Manju served as Senior Attorney at the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), where she worked to improve access to quality health care for low-income individuals. She authored numerous articles, reports and training materials and provided legal assistance and training to hundreds of health attorneys across the country. Earlier, Manju worked at a civil rights law firm appointed to monitor compliance with the Denny’s race discrimination consent decrees. Manju has taught classes on health care access, civil rights and policy advocacy at Stanford Law and Medical Schools, University of California at Los Angeles and University of Southern California.
Manju received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from Duke University and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law.
Riffat Jahan Rahman obtained her Master’s Degree in Social Science with a concentration in International Relations. In Bangladesh, Ms. Rahman was the Program Officer of The Asia Foundation, an international donor organization. In her capacity, she managed several programs involving governance and law, Legal and Economic Rights, Women’s Political Participation and Violence against Women. From 1999 to 2001, Ms. Rahman was employed full time by the Center for Communications Program, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication, as a Campaign Executive in Bangladesh. At this organization, she successfully conducted a multi media campaign on reproductive health. In 2005, Mr. Rahman became a volunteer with South Asian Network’s (SAN) Koreatown community mapping and housing rights projects, and later in 2006, she was hired as a Community Advocate by SAN. As a result of working for 20 years in social change work, she has dedicated herself to promoting community development and policy advocacy, especially as it impacts women in the private and public sector. Ms. Rahman has completed her second master’s degree in public policy and management from University of Southern California in 2013. Currently she is working as a Program Coordinator at SAN and successfully managing programs in domestic violence and sexual assault, health and other sectors. Riffat speaks Bangla.
Civil Rights Advocate
Tami Shaikh was born in Santa Monica and moved to Lahore at the age of 9. She moved back to Orange County at 19 and has lived here ever since.Tami also lived in Dubai for 9 years and worked with people from all socio-economic and racial backgrounds. She has a Masters degree in Education and years of experience working with under privileged kids around the world. Tami has always had a passion for Social Justice and Civil Rights. Her work has included organizing fundraisers for UNICEF , making weekly visits to the local prisons and organizing events in the community to raise awareness on issues impacting our communities. She is fluent in spoken and written Urdu. She is also a blogger for the Huffington Post and an author of two books.
Nina has a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from Dhaka University, Bangladesh. She worked in SAN’s Health Unit from 2002-2008. Nina also worked as the Resident Care Coordinator and a Cal-Works Case Manager at a domestic violence shelter. Nina is currently a Community Advocate in SAN’s CHAI and AWAZ programs. Nina mostly works with the Bangladeshi community in Koreatown and various other places. Nina can speak Bangla and Hindi.
Deanna Cherry, Executive Coaching
Katherine Kubarski, Grant Writing
Danyaal Mashedy, Technology
Purvi Shahpatel, Mental Health
Janis Weir, Fundraising
Holly Witham, Accounting
Board Chair – Neetu Pahal, Pahal, Vora & Associates
Board Secretary – Meena Makhijani, Motion Picture & Television Fund/UCLA
Board Treasurer – Pawan Chaturvedi, UCLA Investments Co.
Sanjay Chhugani, Birdi & Associates
Firdaus Dordi, Dordi Williams Cohen, LLP
Sayema J. Hameed, Cabada & Hameed LLP
Milan Kapadia, Boeing, Inc.
Vidhya Ragunathan, Inner City Law Center
Manju Ramareddy, Arodhum
Sonia Shah, Kaiser Permanente
Rohit Shendrikar, Yahoo! Inc.
Brinda Vasisht, Whisper
Nisha Vyas, Public Counsel