Iram Ahmedi | Intake Specialist
Iram has over two decades of experience working as a psychological counselor, coach and healer. Her multicultural exposure in the Middle East, India and the USA has allowed her to understand the needs of diverse backgrounds. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Urdu, along with Gujrati. Over the years, she has realized that helping women and children resolve their past traumas has been not only her strength but also her passion. Through working with clients in private practice using value-based counseling or playing a significant role in establishing a non-profit for women and children survivors of abuse, Iram has kept this passion close to her while creating an empathic and supportive environment for the people she helps. In her free time, she enjoys reading books on spirituality, going for walks, and listening to music.
Shipa Akter | Housing Assistant
Shipa is a Bangladeshi American, a lover of solo travel and poetry, a writer, eldest daughter of 6, and a recent city college graduate in International Studies and Anthropology. As a child, Shipa was very interested in human rights specifically with regards to women and children. Her interest in that peaked as an adult from her own personal experience with the South Asian diaspora. The advocacy she did for the women in her community, refugees and her job as a writing tutor culminated in her desire to help women in a more professional sense. Shipa’s goal at Sakhi is to grow as much as she can as an advocate, and to finally create a home and professional base for her empathy to flourish.
Ananya Bhasin | Senior Economic Empowerment Advocate
Ananya joined Sakhi in May 2021 and has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Middle Eastern Studies & Creative Writing from Umass Amherst. Prior to joining Sakhi, Ananya worked for organizations such as the MA Law Reform Institute and Project Bread with a focus on poverty law and food insecurity. In addition, Ananya spent her time as a student advocating for refugee and immigration rights and served as the president of her university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. She believes that building a strong network of solidarity amongst marginalized communities is crucial and the only way forward. In her free time, Ananya enjoys gardening, running and collecting and sending postcards! She can be reached at ananya.bhasin[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Bansi Bhatt | Economic Empowerment Program Advocate
Bansi has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Master’s degree in Public Administration, and has recently graduated from the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University with a Juris Doctor degree. She has always been passionate about human rights issues and women’s rights issues. In the past, she interned for the United Nations where she was able to work on a global scale to address human rights and women’s rights issues. During law school, she interned for the Economic Empowerment Program at Sakhi. She also worked for the Deportation Defense Clinic at Hofstra where she was able to help the immigrant community. She is a huge sports fan and in her free time she enjoys rooting for the Yankees, Knicks, and Giants. Bansi is also a huge animal lover. She is a vegetarian, but is trying to become a vegan. She is fluent in Gujarati and has conversational knowledge of Hindi and Spanish.
Fatematuz Chamak | Mental Health Counselor
Fatema joins Sakhi as a Mental Health Counselor. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a Masters in Social Work and Social Service Administration in 2018. Prior to working at Sakhi, she was a Senior Staff Social Worker for Legal Services of NYC. She is an experienced forensic social worker, knowledgeable of education, family, and immigration law, school-based advocacy, needs of students with disabilities, and interdisciplinary work with attorneys. She is passionate about ending gender-based violence in the South Asian community, and comes from a policy & organizing background. Fatema is also a birth doula and works with South Asian birthing people to help close the gap in health disparities and maternal well-being. Fatema is fluent in Bangla and English, and has a working proficiency in Spanish. When not at work, she is an avid reader, loves swimming, enjoys cooking but not as much as eating, watching artsy films, and her cat Coco.
Linda Cheriyan | Community Engagement Advocate
Linda Cheriyan joined Sakhi as a Community Engagement Advocate, bringing several years of leadership in grassroots organizing and community engagement. Shortly after graduating with her bachelors from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2018, Linda oversaw and supported day to day priorities as the Director of Operations for the Black Lives Matter Greater New York (BLMGNY) organization. During her time there, she advocated for victims of police brutality, maternal health, food insecurity, and human trafficking, while also serving as campaign manager for a Congressional campaign in the South Bronx. Even as a child, Linda was always interested in challenging the gender norms that existed within her culture and home, and continues to fight for marginalized communities. Linda is currently pursuing her Masters degree at George Washington University in Public Administration with a focus on International Women’s Health. In her free time she likes to do photography, travel and hiking.
Fauzia Choudhury | Anti-Violence Program Advocate
Fauzia’s purpose in life is to use her compassion, empathy, and communication skills combined with her love for healing through art to make this world a better place to live by creating healthy and strong relationships with people and in between people. Fauzia is a final year MSW student at NYU, concentrating in the clinical social work field, and, in the process of getting her LMSW. Fauzia’s goal upon completion of her degree is to apply all her skills and knowledge in the social service field, especially by showing up for the South Asian community and shining more light on the importance of mental health. In her free time, Fauzia enjoy traveling, dancing, and experiencing nature. She loves spending time with close family and friends. Fauzia always aims to move with love, kindness, and compassion.
Shariq Farooqi | Anti-Violence Program Advocate
Shariq is a non-binary Queer Muslim, with roots in Hyderabad and Pakistan. They graduated from George Washington University in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and a double minor in Public Health and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Shariq is a current candidate for a Master’s of Science in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They have been involved with community work for over five years now within many different spaces With sexual violence advocacy, Shariq led the Intersectionality Council for GW Students Against Sexual Assault for a year- where he served as an advocate for survivors of marginalized backgrounds. He’s served the South Asian community within the prominent GW South Asian Society- leading cultural heritage and community development initiatives as the co-president. They have also worked at Heart to Grow, a national reproductive justice non-profit, devoted to supporting the most marginalized Muslims. Shariq has also interned for the Wilson Center Maternal Health Initiative and Atlantic Council South Asia Center, where they have various published articles on topics such as maternal mental health and trans parenting. Shariq is passionate about advocating for queer, gender-nonconforming, and trans folks in Muslim and South Asian spaces, radical justice and liberation from all forms of oppression, and community healing/building. They are partially conversational in Urdu and Hindi and partially versed in Arabic and Spanish. Some things that bring Shariq joy include: trying new foods and restaurants, spending time with their partner and loved ones, reading, reality TV, and thrift shopping.
Tan Hayat | Communications Manager
Tan Hayat is a Bengali-American and native New Yorker who joined Sakhi as a Communications Manager in August 2022. He has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations & Political Science from SUNY Geneseo, and a post-graduate certificate in teaching English to Adult Learners from the University of Cambridge. Tan is fluent in English, Bangla, and conversational in French. An immigrant himself who came to the United States as a young child, Tan has worked throughout his career to elevate and empower recently resettled refugees in the United States, immigrant English-learners, and individuals with a history of criminal justice involvement and experiencing homelessness in New York City. Prior to Sakhi, Tan has worked for Catholic Charities, The New York Public Library, and most recently at ACE, a workforce development nonprofit based in Long Island City. As Tan joins the Communications team at Sakhi, he is excited to apply his skills and experience to support Sakhi’s mission to lead an intersectional, intergenerational, and survivor-led movement for gender justice in the South Asian diaspora and beyond. In his free time, Tan can be found (poorly) skateboarding, (somewhat competently) snowboarding, and traveling to as many new places as possible. He can be reached at tan.hayat[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Sakshi Kapur | Grants Management Associate
Sakshi first joined Sakhi in June 2021 as an intern with the Economic Empowerment program, where she worked with survivors and supported them in handling their economic needs such as housing and education. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at Columbia University. Currently, alongside her degree, Sakshi is working part-time as a Grants Management Associate. Sakshi is from India and has worked as an international development consultant with a deep focus on regulatory policy, market analysis and international aid project design and implementation and has worked on projects with bilateral and multilateral agencies such as World Bank and USAID. She also holds a previous master’s degree in Development Economics from SOAS, University of London. In her free time, Sakshi enjoys baking, traveling and trying different restaurants in New York City! Sakshi is fluent in English, Hindi and Punjabi. She can be reached at sakshi.kapur[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Aroob Khan | Special Projects Associate
Aroob joined Sakhi in February 2020. Aroob has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Special Honors from CUNY Hunter College. She believes that one finds true satisfaction in meaningful work. The desire to help improve women’s quality of life led her to Sakhi. Aroob strongly believes in using an anti-oppressive approach in her work. An advocate of interdisciplinary learning and research, Aroob interned at NYU Rusk, and has also assisted in research projects at New York University. During her final year of college, she completed her honors thesis on immigration status and mental healthcare utilization. In her free time, Aroob loves to read, paint, and sleep. She can be reached at aroob.khan[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Azaadi Khan | Youth Empowerment Program Manager & Counselor
Azaadi first joined Sakhi as an MSW intern in 2018 and continued to work as an office manager till September 2019. Having graduated Magna Cum Laude from Columbia University’s School of Social Work with an advanced degree in Clinical Practice and Programming, they returned to Sakhi as a youth mental health counselor and advocate in July 2020. Azaadi has nearly 10 years of experience working internationally with youth in the fields of arts, education, mental health care, and social and legal services. Beyond Sakhi, they serve as the Communications Chair on the Board of Trustees at Hidayah, an international organization for LGBTQ+ Muslims. In their free time, they are becoming a pretty mean cook, rivalling their aunties. They dream of one day collecting herbs from their own tiny farm. You can reach Azaadi at azaadi.khan[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Malini Khorana | Director of Finance and Operations
Malini joined Sakhi as a volunteer in August 2015 and has recently joined the staff as Director of Finance and Operations. Malini has a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Delhi University and an MBA from Wake Forest University. Over the course of a twenty year career at The Nielsen Company, and in her last role as global account leader, Malini worked as a thought partner with senior management to develop marketing and brand strategy and deliver on business plans. Malini also gained experience at the operational level by focusing on the levers of P&L performance such as data quality resolution, contract negotiations, and workforce restructuring and realignment. Now, in her new role, Malini is excited to bring her business background and experience to help Sakhi as it significantly expands the scale and scope of its programs and has ever greater impact on the community we serve. She can be reached at malini.khorana[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Priya Krishna | Development and Operations Associate
Priya joined Sakhi as a volunteer in September 2020 and graduated to staff as the Development and Operations Associate. Priya is originally from New Delhi, India and an attorney by training. She earned her law degree from Delhi Law School, Delhi University, and an LL.M. from Cornell University. Before embracing the role of a full-time mother to her two sons in the suburbs of New York, she spent her professional life as an international corporate tax consultant with Arthur Andersen and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Over the years, Priya has volunteered extensively in her community, including her children’s school, where until recently she was the President of the parent association. Priya is excited to bring her problem-solving and organizational skills to Sakhi and is eager to help as many people as possible and have a positive impact on the community.
Ari Krishnan | Youth Empowerment Program Advocate
Rezowana Linta | Senior Mental Health Counselor
Rezowana joined the Sakhi team as a Counselor in August 2020. She graduated from Long Island University with a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, with a focus on Trauma-Focused Therapy and Family Law, in 2017. Prior to working at Sakhi, Rezowana provided therapy to Adolescents and their Families at an alternative to incarceration program. Rezowana also has experience providing mental health and advocacy services to the LGBTQI population. She is fluent in Bangla, Hindi, and Urdu. Some of Rezowana’s hobbies are hiking, painting, and debating. Rezowana one day hopes to start a non-for-profit mental clinic in rural areas of Bangladesh. She can be reached at rezowana.linta[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Rashmi Luthra | Director of Programs, Queens & Brooklyn
Rashmi Luthra brings to Sakhi over 20 years of deep commitment to women’s issues and a passion for gender equality. Rashmi graduated cum laude from Tufts University and went on to receive her Juris Doctor from Boston University School of Law. At Tufts University, Rashmi was President of the Women’s Collective. She was awarded the Dean’s Award for Women and Leadership. She also volunteered at Transition House, the East Coast’s first domestic violence shelter. Rashmi began her journey with Sakhi as a volunteer in 2000. From 2001 until 2010, Rashmi worked as a staff attorney representing survivors of domestic violence in legal proceedings involving orders of protection, custody, visitation, support, and matrimonial actions in Family and Supreme Courts. She also participated in legal divorce clinics for pro se litigants. She is fluent in Hindi. In her free time, Rashmi loves to play guitar, cook and hang out with her kids. She can be reached at rashmi.luthra[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Shubhekchya Malla | Anti-Violence Program Manager
Shubhekchya joined Sakhi as an Anti-Violence Advocate in November 2020. She graduated from University of Florida with a Masters in Public Health, with a focus on Social and Behavioral Sciences. She has gained experience in working with survivors as a High Risk and Fatality Review Team Coordinator in six counties of Central Florida. She specializes in crisis intervention, risk management, child welfare investigation, Intimate Partner Homicide case analysis and multi-agency committee assembly with 6 years of experience in social services. As a trilingual who is fluent in English, Nepali and Hindi, she dedicates her work towards advocating for survivors in the South Asian communities. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading, house music and exploring vegan spots. She can be reached at sue.malla[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Kavita Mehra | Executive Director
Kavita first joined Sakhi as an intern in 2002 while in her third year of college. After her experience, she hoped to come back to Sakhi, specifically to lead the organization, and in June 2017 was named its fifth executive director.
Under Kavita’s leadership, Sakhi has grown 325% and has launched a trauma-informed mental health program, a housing program, and a food justice program for clients. Her commitment to building a survivor-centered movement has positioned Sakhi to open its second office in Queens in March 2020 and its third office in Brooklyn in 2023. Most notably, Kavita has successfully stewarded Sakhi through the COVID-19 pandemic, providing critical, life-saving services to survivors across New York City, while also ensuring its financial stability and growth.
With a deep commitment to survivors of gender-based violence, Kavita is a co-founder and proud board member of South Asian SOAR, the national umbrella to the 40+ South Asian survivor organizations across the United States.
Kavita has written opinion pieces for Inside Philanthropy, City Limits, Ms. Magazine, the Huffington Post, Brown Girl Magazine, and Act To Change. She has also presented at the Women’s Economic Forum in Delhi, Harvard University and Columbia University and has been quoted in leading media outlets, including The Associated Press, The Takeaway with Tanzina Vega, NowThis, CNN, The New York Times, and Vice.
Through her over two decades in the non-profit sector, Kavita has served in leadership positions at the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, GlamourGals Foundation, and South Asian Youth Action. She has been featured in “Roshni: Emerging Indian Global Leaders and is the recipient of the 2021 Changemaker Award from Institute for Nonprofit Practice and 2022 Social Impact Women to Watch by Nonprofit HR.
Kavita completed her Bachelor of Arts from New York University with a double major in both History and Gender Studies. She also holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in South Asian Studies, from Columbia University, as well as a certificate in Business Excellence from The Columbia Business School. She is currently part of the Allstate Foundation’s Nonprofit Leadership Center Executive Leadership Program’s Class of 2023 at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. In 2016, Kavita completed the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Advanced Leadership Program and in 2014, she was a Lead New Jersey Fellow and an Athena Mastermind at Barnard. In 2013, Kavita was a New Leaders Council-New Jersey Fellow.
A proud New Jersey native, she lives in Jersey City with her life partner and son. She can be reached at kavita.mehra[at]sakhi[dot]org or 212.714.9153 x1002.
Fhamida Mohasin | Anti-Violence Program Manager
Fhamida joined Sakhi in April 2021. Prior to joining Sakhi, Fhamida taught at the University Dhaka as an assistant professor of Women and Gender Studies. She also taught in several other private universities in Bangladesh, namely Central Women’s University and Millennium University. Apart from teaching, Fhamida was actively involved with research and participated in the social justice movement and activism over the past decade. Fhamida conducted and collaborated on numerous research projects with several national and international human rights organizations such as Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Units (RMMRU), ILO, and Plan International. She worked on public policy formulation, which focused on domestic workers, domestic violence against Hindu women and Hindu Marriage Act, female migrants, and overseas employment policies in Bangladesh. She also studied sociology of environment and livelihoods, human rights of Dalits, violence against women, migration, with a gender focus. Her publications include decent work deficits in domestic work in Bangladesh; sexual violence against women and girls in the public place; female leadership style, and migration policies.
Fhamida holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She also has Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Dhaka. Fhamida enjoys singing, reading, traveling, and spending time with family members in her free time. She can be reached at fhamida.mohasin[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Zainab Muzaffar | Senior Associate Director, Development & Communications
Zainab brings over 15+ years of experience as a creative strategist and business operations expert. Prior to joining Sakhi, Zainab worked with branded destinations in the Middle East on growth and marketing strategies. Zainab completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University and has a Master’s in Strategic Communications from Columbia University. She co-founded The Citizen’s Foundation Young Professionals NYC Chapter, built a community of over 1,000+, led over 25 events in the last five years and raised 1M+ for education in Pakistan. She is passionate about bringing attention to issues that impact women and girls around the world. In her free time, she can be found in a boxing ring, on a plane, or lost in a good book.
Sumaiya Nour | Economic Empowerment Program Manager
Sumaiya is originally from Bangladesh where she found her passion for working for underserved communities. She started her career in Bangladesh where she worked extensively in cross-cutting areas of sustainable development, food security, women, and youth empowerment. Later, she moved to Australia, where she worked as a consultant at a leading financial organization. However, her desire for serving the underprivileged led her to pursue her graduate program in International Political Economy and Development (IPED) from Fordham University. The IPED program opened doors to international development and gave her opportunities to work at the Clinton Foundation and Catholic Relief Services. Following her graduation, she worked for a non-profit which delivers financial literacy programming for youths in New York and Chicago, before joining Sakhi. Sumaiya loves traveling and exploring different cultures and is huge on going for brunch and visiting pop-up markets around the city on weekends. Pursuing French language and trying a few strokes on acrylic and watercolor are among her favorite pastimes at home.
Rachana Parekh | Senior Mental Health Counselor
Rachana joined the Sakhi team as a Counselor in February 2021. She graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a Masters in Forensic Mental Health Counseling in 2018. Prior to working at Sakhi, Rachana worked with children and their families at a child advocacy center, conducting forensic interviews to aid in child abuse investigations and providing trauma-focused therapy. She is passionate about advocating for mental health awareness and providing access to culturally aware services to the South Asian population. When she’s not working, Rachana can be found dancing in the various classes offered in NYC (in styles such as Bollywood, heels, street-jazz, etc.) and spending time with her loved ones. She can be reached at rachana.parekh[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Chandra Persaud | Technology & Operations Associate
Chandra Persaud is a New York State licensed speech-language pathologist and holds a Master of Arts degree in speech-language pathology from CUNY Queens College. As a woman of Indo-Caribbean descent, Chandra is passionate about finding her voice, healing intergenerational trauma, and living proudly with her multiple cultural identities. When Chandra is not involved in her work or volunteer efforts, she enjoys writing poetry, short stories, and reflective essays. Chandra can be reached at chandra.persaud[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Pooja Raj-Green | Counseling & Youth Associate Director
Pooja has a long standing history with Sakhi and re-joined the team as a Counselor in February 2019. She graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Social Work, with a focus on Clinical Social Work in International Social Welfare, in 2014. Prior to Sakhi, Pooja provided trauma informed services to the aging population (survivors of the Holocaust) and worked abroad with refugees from Syria. She is fluent in Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu. In addition to dreaming of obtaining a PhD in Intergenerational Trauma, Pooja enjoys dancing, being lost in her reading nook and secretly hopes to finally learn to swim this year. She can be reached at pooja.raj[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Hana Ramdhany | Finance and Operations Manager
Hana joined Sakhi in May 2021. She graduated with degrees in Social Sciences from SciencesPo Reims and Sociology from Columbia University as part of an international dual-degree program. Prior to joining Sakhi, Hana managed finance and operations for Science, Language & Arts, a Brooklyn-based, independent French and Mandarin nursery and elementary school. Hana, as a trans woman, is passionate about supporting children and LGBTQ communities, especially within the South Asian and Caribbean indentured diaspora, and looks forward to a pandiasporic reckoning against gender-based violence. They regularly volunteer with community-based organizations in Southeast Queens and Brooklyn such as the Indo-Caribbean Alliance and Jahajee Sisters. Hana is hopelessly vegan and believes nurturing one’s inner child is key to building healthy, empathetic communities. To this end, she loves reading comics and queer lit and starting too many hobbies, including skateboarding, electric guitar, and card magic. Hana can be reached at hana.ramdhany[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Shyda Rashid | Anti-Violence Program Senior Manager
Shyda moved to New York in September 2014 from Bangladesh and has worked for community-based nonprofits in the city since. Shyda joined Sakhi in December 2015, and was recently selected as one of the 2018 Advocates of New York City by the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV). This award is an honor recognizing Shyda’s tireless advocacy and support for Domestic Violence Survivors and Community. Prior to working at Sakhi, Shyda worked as a consular staff of the British High Commission, Bangladesh (GOV.UK) and confirmed sole services to British-Bangladeshi community. Shyda was a trained and certified forced marriage staff at the British High Commission, Bangladesh. Throughout 2005-2014 Shyda delivered consistently high levels of consular and forced marriage service in the United Kingdom and Bangladesh. Shyda made a difference not only in the lives of those forced marriage victims in Bangladesh, but also in the development of United Kingdom forced marriage policy where some of Shyda’s suggestions have been incorporated into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Consular Guidance. Shyda has an MSW and is fluent in Bengali, Hindi, and conversational in Urdu. Shyda enjoys the simplicity of life, and loves traveling, food, and cultural diversity. She is passionate about helping and supporting women and children in difficult situations and finds this work extremely rewarding. She can be reached at shyda.rashid[at]sakhi[dot]org or 212.714.9153, x1006.
Sirajum Sandhi | Youth Empowerment Program Advocate
Sirajum is an asylee from Bangladesh whose intimate experiences with gender-based violence prompted them to engage in community organizing and advocacy. They first joined Sakhi as a Direct Service Intern in 2018. Their work with Sakhi was recognized by the 2018 Bhavsar Student Intern Award. sirajum received their B.A. in Gender & Sexuality from Dartmouth College, where they have been a Race, Migration, and Sexuality Scholar and Eric Eichler Healthcare Leaders Fellow. They recently received the Lombard Public Service fellowship to support research and curriculum development at HEART, where they collaborated with Partnership to End Gendered Islamophobia and Palestine Feminist Collective. sirajum is passionate about reproductive justice, immigration rights, queer theory, and islamic philosophy. When they are not reading and organizing, they like rewatching tv shows, grooving to Bollywood music, and brainstorming about launching a podcast about all things jinn. They can be reached at sirajum.sandhi[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Reshmi Sengupta | Economic Empowerment & Housing Program Associate Director
Reshmi Sengupta rejoins Sakhi for South Asian Women as the Community Outreach Specialist. She aims to connect and accentuate Sakhi’s vision and services for underserved NYC South Asian immigrant communities in addition to growing collaborations with our gender and socioeconomic justice partners. She joined Sakhi in 2010 as a volunteer, moving on to work across programs as a Client Advocate, Economic Empowerment Program Manager, and Director of Programs. Reshmi is a fervent advocate for gender justice and the economic empowerment of women, particularly as it relates to working with issues of gender-based violence and bias. She has almost a decade of experience working with the immigrant population in NYC implementing programs focused on long-term emotional empowerment and financial independence. Reshmi obtained a Masters degree in Economic and Education from Colombia University. She speaks Hindi and Bengali. Reshmi can be reached at reshmi.sengupta[at]sakhi[org]org.
Manisha Shah | Helpline and Volunteer Manager
Manisha Shah started as an Economic Empowerment Intern with Sakhi in 2008 and has a masters in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai. She has multiple years of experience within diverse service settings in the Tristate area. Manisha previously oversaw shelter services for survivors of domestic violence in the Bronx and she planned and executed a first-of-its-kind initiative to support immigrant survivors of sexual and domestic violence at Manavi & Christ Hospital. In various capacities, Manisha has been a part of initiatives that work with survivors of crime, providing crisis intervention, advocacy, and other supportive services to empower them on their journeys to safety. She is fluent in Hindi and Urdu. In her spare time, she enjoys watching old Bollywood movies and cooking. Manisha dreams of one day starting her own Indian food truck parked at Times Square. Manisha can be reached at manisha.shah[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Namrata Sharma | Economic Empowerment Program Advocate
Namrata joined Sakhi in December 2021. She studied Law and Political Science. Namrata has international public and private sector experience. She has worked with the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, the National Health Service in the UK and the Tea board of India in London. At NHS UK she worked on various public health issues for women of South Asian origin. She also briefly worked with victims of domestic violence. Namrata speaks fluent English, Hindi and Bengali, as well as modest Punjabi and Kashmiri. She loves to travel, eat healthy and stay fit. She is eager to bring her diverse international experience to the Sakhi platform. Namrata can be reached at namrata.sharma[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Nisa Sheikh | Anti-Violence Program Associate Director
Nisa graduated with her Bachelors in International Relations and Diplomacy and comes to Sakhi with over a decade of experience in the nonprofit world. She is a stark social justice advocate with many years of direct services experience specifically in anti-violence and homelessness prevention in New York City. She also has project and program management experience for small and large nonprofits across the country. She has done work around promoting inclusion and harmony between all groups of people. Nisa speaks Urdu, English and Hindi and considers herself to be an international foodie, enjoys finding new desserts to bake, and most of all, loves to hang out with her toddlers. She is motivated by her kids and wants to help create a better world for them. Nisa can be reached at nisa.sheikh[at]sakhi[dot]org
Sangey Sherpa | Anti-Violence Program Advocate
Sangey W. Sherpa is a non-profit professional and an advocate for women’s rights. Originally from Nepal, she received her Master’s Degree in International Affairs with a concentration in NGO from Bernard M. Baruch College in NYC and also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Pol. Science and History from Christ University in India. Prior to joining Sakhi, Sangey worked for the Arab American Family Support Center and the Bloomberg Campaign. She has also interned for the United Nations and for Senator Joseph Crowley. Sangey is fluent in three languages and is currently learning Chinese. In her free time, she enjoys reading non-fiction and hiking with her friends. Sangey can be reached at sangey.sherpa[at]sakhi[dot]org
Pria Sibal | Housing Program Senior Manager
Pria joined Sakhi as a volunteer in August 2015. Pria has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English Literature from Delhi University. She then began a career as a journalist and documentary film producer. Starting in the nascent broadcast news industry in India in 1993, she moved on to directing travelogues and documentaries based on human interest stories. Her experience as a journalist with leading Indian broadcasters gave her an analytical scope. Her love for research and desire to make a social impact gave her that extra push to make documentaries. Pria believes every career professional reaches a point where they desire unconventional returns from a job and had the desire to create value in society in her own modest capacity. As part of the Sakhi team, she is committed to empowering women as she feels no woman should be in a situation where she feels inadequate or helpless. She can be reached at pria.sibal[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Mayuri Vedi | Special Projects Associate
Mayuri started working at Sakhi in March 2019 after developing an interest in social work and feels closely attached to Sakhi’s mission She has more than 10 years of experience in various industries including jewelry design, accounting, yoga and event management. Most importantly, she enjoys the sound of birds chirping but understands she can’t be a bird. She can be reached at mayuri.vedi[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Varsha Vijayakumar | Senior Communications & Marketing Associate
Varsha first joined Sakhi in September 2020 as a BOLD Fellow, building out a project to establish Sakhi’s first-ever 24/7 helpline. They are currently pursuing an MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University, exploring the intersections between gender-based violence nonprofit work, prison/police abolition, and LGBTQ+ rights. In Spring 2022, they won Columbia’s Human Rights Essay Contest for their paper titled “Human Rights Should Begin at Home: An Argument for Classifying Domestic Violence as Torture under the UN Convention against Torture.” Since 2021, Varsha has supported Sakhi in its Communications efforts— she values the power of community and is interested in mobilizing the South Asian diaspora in an effort to engender positive change. Varsha earned a BA in Political Science and Religion from Middlebury College, and served as the college’s Student Body President during their time there. Varsha is fluent in English, spoken Tamil, Spanish, and elementary Portuguese. She loves to read, enjoys vegan food, and is obsessed with her cat, Bumi. Varsha can be reached at varsha.vijayakumar[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Jason Yoon | Grants Manager
Jason joined Sakhi in January 2019. Jason has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters in Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School. Prior to joining Sakhi, Jason has served as the executive director of New Urban Arts, a nationally recognized nonprofit youth arts studio, the Director of Education at the Queens Museum, and most recently, the executive director of Atlas: DIY, a nonprofit working with immigrant youth through legal services, educational programs, and leadership development. He also teaches in Goucher College’s MA program in Cultural Sustainability. When he’s not working, Jason is probably running, swimming, reading, or exploring New York City’s museums and galleries. A native New Yorker and child of Korean immigrants, Jason is excited to support Sakhi’s important work. He can be reached at jason.yoon[at]sakhi[dot]org.
Ammar Zafar | Housing & Economic Empowerment Program Advocate
Ammar grew up in America as a Pakistani immigrant and learnt early on that many institutions are not equipped to handle the unique challenges that our communities face. Passionate about intimate partner violence within the South Asian diaspora, Ammar has been committed to the cause of honoring and uplifting survivors, and treating them with dignity.
As a case planner for the Arab-American Family Support Center, Ammar worked hands-on with families of diverse backgrounds with diverse issues. Because most clients were IPV survivors, there was a wide range of problems that he helped them solve as they worked towards empowering themselves. He had also referred several clients to Sakhi for counseling services. Ammar is fluent in English and Urdu and is excited about using his myriad skills in the service of others. He can be reached at ammar.zafar[at]sakhi[dot]org.