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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Parija is a Community Advocate at SAN for the AWAZ, CHAI, and the CRU unit. After attaining her B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies, she attained a Juris Doctorate. Parija is passionate about helping underrepresented South Asians. She speaks Gujarati and Hindi.
Mental Health Therapist
Rucha was born in India, raised in Dubai and has resided in the US for over 13 years. She has a masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) with a specialization in clinical Art Therapy. She began her work with non-profits through developing and teaching art programs for under-served children in India, Dubai, and San Francisco. Rucha is passionate about utilizing culturally relative expressive arts therapies to better serve her clients and affect social change. Rucha speaks Hindi and Marathi.
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.
Danyaal Mashedy, Technology
Deanna Cherry, Fundraising
Janis Weir, Fundraising
Neha Shahpatel, Mental Health, email@example.com
Board Chair – Sayema J. Hameed, Esq., Cabada & Hameed LLP
Board Secretary – Meena Makhijani, Motion Picture & Television Fund
Board Treasurer – Neetu Pahal, Pahal, Vora & Associates
Sanjay Chhugani, Santa Barbara Applied Research
Firdaus Dordi, Federal Public Defender
Sridavi Ganesan, Blank Rome LLP
Milan Kapadia, Core Point
Suma Mathai, Los Angeles Center for Law & Justice
Sonia Shah, Kaiser Permanente
Rohit Shendrikar, Yahoo! Inc.
Nisha Vyas, Asian Americans Advancing Justice|LA