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.
Community Advocate – AWAZ
Aisha, born in Pakistan and raised in the U.S., became an advocate for victims of violence and their children and for young women’s esteem at 16, after she witnessed abuse in the community. With a degree in Psychology, Aisha joined SAN in 2009.
Civil Rights Advocate
Through civic engagement and outreach programs, Almas works to support marginalized South Asians including immigrants, women, youth, and the LGBTQ community. Almas graduated from Smith College where she received her Bachelors in History and Government. After pursuing a Fulbright Fellowship in Jordan, she returned to Los Angeles to become an advocate for the South Asian community. She speaks Urdu.
Asha has been with CHAI focusing on linking low income South Asian families, children and elderly with State and Federal benefit programs since 2009. She enrolls low income community members in public benefit programs and does extensive health outreach.
Ektha graduated from CSULB with a masters in social work (MSW) and has been practicing in the field of emotional support and mental health therapy for over four years. Her thesis focused on working with the South Asian American community to increase help-seeking behaviors, provide awareness to the community, and engage them in clinical services to advocate for self efficiency. Ektha provides emotional support and mental health therapy at SAN primarily for older adults and survivors of domestic violence. She speaks Punjabi.
Manjusha is Executive Director at SAN. Prior to joining SAN, Manju served as Senior Attorney at the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) for eleven years. At NHeLP, Manju worked to improve access to quality health care for low-income individuals. Manju has been awarded the Public Service Award by the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California in 2005. She was also selected for the Women’s Policy Institute Fellowship program in 2006, a project of the Women’s Foundation of California to train women to take on leadership roles in state policy advocacy.
Manpreet is a Health Advocate at South Asian Network for the CHAI Unit. She holds a Masters in Social Work from University of Southern California. She enrolls community members in public health benefit programs. She speaks Hindi and Punjabi.
Neeta was born in the U.S. by a father who wanted to save the world. She started doing volunteer work at a young age and found a cause that would always stay with her. She is currently working on her Bachelors degree in Sociology with the goal of becoming a counselor focusing on the needs of the South Asian community. Neeta speaks Gujarati and Hindi.
Riffat J. Rahman
Riffat, holds a Masters in Social Science from Bangladesh, joined SAN in early 2005 for a Bangladeshi community mapping project and now manages cases and media projects for AWAZ. Previously, Riffat worked extensively in legal, economic and gender justice.
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.
Mental Health Therapist
Vimmi was born and raised in India. She holds Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW) from USC and speaks five languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati and English. Vimmi started working for human rights and equality for South Asian women and South Asian LGBTQ community since 2008. She uses culturally competent therapeutic techniques to assist her clients. She has previously worked with Los Angeles County’s department of children and family services, and continues to fight for human equality and social justice.
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