MARILYN NEECE, MBA
Nonprofit manager, board member, and fundraiser since 1985.
Marilyn deeply respects the exceptional service SAHARA has provided the community since 1991. She is committed to seeing SAHARA evolve wisely with current times and continue to be the safe harbor for abuse survivors to build lives strength, confidence, and success.
DIRECTOR OF SHELTER
Asha has worked with nonprofit organizations for over 16 years. She has been a Health Care Coordinator since 2003 and a Shelter Coordinator since 2013. Asha is currently working as the Shelter Director for SAHARA’s TLH (Transitional Living Home). Her focus is working with survivors of domestic violence within the South Asian community. Asha can speak, read and write Hindi and Gujarati. She feels fortunate and satisfied to help people in need and bring a smile on their face.
BHASKER SHAH M.A. ACCOUNTING
Bhaskar has worked in the non-profit sector for the past 12 years and joined SAHARA in 2012. He enjoys working at SAHARA as he believes in its mission and brings a lot of experience, energy and expertise to the table. Being at SAHARA allows Bhaskar to meet and network with community leaders.
BILAL KAZMI, B.A. BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
ELDER ABUSE VICTIM SPECIALIST
Bilal’s parents immigrated to Chicago from India and Pakistan. Having grown up in the earlier part South Asian diaspora, he was able to connect social issues South Asian immigrants and their 2nd generation face(d). This background inspired him to get involved in social work and justice within the South Asian American community. Aside from local community development work, Bilal also served in the United States Peace Corps and worked for Save the Children in Central Asia.
FARHNA SHAHID, B.A. POLITICAL SCIENCE
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES SPECIALIST
Farhana has worked for South Asian Organizations as a Lead Community Advocate for over 16 years. Farhana is passionate about serving anyone who walks into SAHARA. Growing up in a family that was always helping others, taught her the importance and value of uplifting the community. Today, she has dedicated her life to helping others. The accomplishments, the courage and success of her clients remain her strongest motivation to continue her work in the fields of social service.
NEETA DAVAL, B.S. LVN
Neeta brings 15 years of dedicated services at SAHARA in a multitude of roles from serving as our first staff administrative manager and currently as Program Director. Attention to detail and sound judgement she continues to provide executive assistance to the administrative team. As a Program Director and senior team member she plays an active role in strengthening the impact and long-term sustainability of SAHARA. Providing oversight of all programs she follows compliance regulations manages federal, state and county grants and contracts, and assist in all organizational policies and practices. She is very passionate about helping society at large and her motivation and enthusiasm in meeting and supporting SAHARA in all challenges and demands has been unprecedented
Ilesha is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations, domestic violence shelter and academic institutions. She strongly advocates gender equality and firmly believes that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. As Development Manager at SAHARA, her focus is to increase collaborative partnerships, program awareness, visibility and fund raising for the organization through various marketing and networking activities. With a special focus on community outreach and awareness she is inspired to improving lives and strengthening communities. Ilesha helps maximize prospect/donor engagement and supports all resource development efforts.
PAULOMI PANDIT BSc. MA FINE ARTS
She is often the first face/voice that community members encounter when they are seeking services. Aside from managing our office operations, she connects community members with the appropriate SAHARA team member to facilitate optimal support. Paulomi brings her expertise in multilingual communication and event management to the team. Additionally, she is a renowned dancer and teacher, trained in Indian classical dance. She is passionate about her art to bring about social reform. She inspires youth to use their artistic talents to catalyze positive social change in our communities. Paulomi enjoys being at Sahara where she can extend her experience and knowledge furthering the mission of SAHARA.
MEHNAZ KHAN, B.A. BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
COMMUNITY RESOURCE SPECIALIST
Mehnaz has been well involved within the community for over 8 years and has great ties to her roots and deep connection to her background in Pakistan. Born and raised in Kuwait she takes pride in continued efforts in promoting culture and history that ties her to her deep family roots. Working with many people from all around the world and seeing them grow and change over the years is what motivates her to continue to work with people. Seeing a smile and relief on her clients’ face helps her to move forward and bring about a better change within the community. A proud immigrant and American at heart Mehnaz values her work by helping clients apply for their citizenship and full fill their American dream with SAHARA.
ARUNA BOYINENI MS IN CLINICAL PSYCOLOGY WITH EMPHAIS ON MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPY
Aruna is on our team of Victims’ Advocates as a Case Manager. She has worked as Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with underprivileged and marginalized communities for the past 3 years. She has compassion towards her profession and say’s “Helping clients to move forward on their journey in life is her reward”. She went to school to study Psychotherapy with the motive to help and make a difference in the lives of the Community. She is passionate about developing plans to increase the health, safety and self-sufficiency of clients in need of support.
SENIOR SOCIAL WORKER, M.A. SOCIAL WORK
The Senior Social Worker has 20 years of experience working as a social worker. She first volunteered with SAHARA during its infancy and eventually became a full-time employee in 2008. She finds it very rewarding when she sees the growth of SAHARA from its inception till now- 24 years later. The Senior Social Worker is passionate about helping her clients achieve their goals and to see them take steps every day to better themselves, is the most fulfilling part of her job.
If you would like to know more about SAHARA or help us continue to provide these services, please give us a call at 562-402-4132 or contact us.
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