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.
ASHA GANDHI, B.A. HEALTH SCIENCES
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.
GITA RAI, MA, AMFT #110251 MENTAL HEALTH THERAPIST
Gita is originally from the Bay Area but is now loving her new home in Southern California! She began working in the South Asian Community in 2015 as an MFT Trainee for a San Francisco based domestic violence clinic where Gita provided linguistically specific counseling services to South Asian survivors of intimate partner violence. She wanted to find a way to help support survivors in which they learn how to empower themselves while still maintaining healthy relationships.
After many years of working in collaborative settings with psychiatrists and case managers supporting survivors through a variety of work experiences from trauma, mood and psychotic disorders, familial conflict, abuse, and identity integration, in 2019, Gita returned to her passion –working with survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault at SAHARA (South Asian Helpline and Referrals) in Artesia, CA.
In her free time, she enjoys yoga and spending time with her dog, Lily.
NEETA DAVAL, B.S. LVN
After 10 years of dedicated services as the Grants & Contracts Manager at SAHARA, Neeta took a year off and returned to SAHARA in 2018 as an Executive Assistant. She continues to share her passion and responsibilities of managing the federal, state & county grants and contracts, and assists 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.
SARAH MANJRA, B.A. SOCIOLOGY & ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES, B.A. SOCIAL WORK
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
Prior to joining the SAHARA team, Sarah worked with patients at Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles. Her personal experiences growing up in Los Angeles motivated her to promote equity among minority and low -income communities. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is passionate about education, advocacy and justice.
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.
TAMI SHAIKH, MASTERS IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP & MASTERS IN FINE ARTS-CREATIVE WRITING
DIRECTOR OF CONTENT AND MARKETING
Tami has 16 years of experience working with diverse and marginalized populations from all over the world. She is an author of three books and has written multiple articles for the Huffington Post, Medium and Thrive Global. Working at SAHARA allows her to combine her love for sharing stories of empowerment along with her dedication to help diverse and underserved communities. She has been with SAHARA since 2017.
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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