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People of Daya

Board of Directors

Fermeen Fazal, J.D. PRESIDENT

Shree Hardikar Nath, MPA, MSN,  PAST PRESIDENT

Ali ShahSECRETARY

Asha Desai, CPA, CO-TREASURER

Christa Jaganath, CPA, CO-TREASURER

Soha Haque, MS

Fatima Mohiuddin, LCSW

Lakshmy Parameswaran, MA, LPC*  

Viji Raman*
Mika Rao Kalapatapu, MS

* Founding Board Member

 

Board/Advisory

Advisory Board

Advisory

Sarah Abraham, PhD

Sesh Bala

Chitra Divakaruni, PhD

Sindhu Idicula Giri, MD

Mary John, CPA

Anasuya K. Meyer, CFP®

Shazma Matin

Niraj Patel 

Dinesh Pejaver, PhD

Annu Rao Naik

Leeja Thomas, LCSW

John Ting, LLM

Stuti Trehan Patel, JD

Staff

Staff

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Client Services Team

At the heart of our work with survivors is a dedicated group of Client Advocates and Counselors who work hand in hand with survivors to provide compassionate, confidential, and expert services as they take the courageous steps to build a safer life. To ensure utmost confidentiality, Daya Advocates are not listed on our website, but survivors can learn more about our services and take the first step toward a brighter, safer future they deserve.

 

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Autoosa Abadi, LCSW

Director of Programs

Autoosa Abadi joined Daya in 2017 after obtaining a Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she provided services to survivors for 6 years before transitioning to this role. Autoosa oversees of all Daya programs by setting goals, managing grants, and assessing impact. She also leads analysis for new initiatives and program expansion by conducting research, verifying compliance requirements, exploring best practices, and ensuring necessary resources. Her many professional and personal experiences make Autoosa committed to equity and fairness, motivating her to bring out the best in the Daya team. 

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Minoo Advani

Financial Coordinator

After volunteering for three years, Minoo officially joined the Daya team in May 2021. In Daya, Minoo found an organization that resonates with her strong values where she can make purposeful contributions to empower the South Asian community. Utilizing her degree in accounting and financial expertise, Minoo maintains all documents to support our compliance and transparency. Prior to joining Daya, Minoo worked in the Biotech and retail industries. Both detail-oriented and creative, Minoo leads with her heart as she administers critical compliance work at Daya. 

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Nusrat Ameen, PhD

Senior Director of Legal Services

At Daya for over 15 years, Dr. Ameen recruits and manages the Legal Clinic, leads policy advocacy, and monitors immigration cases. Dr. Ameen holds a PhD in Domestic Violence and Law. Nusrat sits on multiple committees across the City to advocate for victims' rights and is a visiting scholar at Rice University. Previously, Dr. Ameen was a law professor in Bangladesh and a Judicial Assistant to the Chief Justice of the Bangladesh Supreme Court. Her book Wife Abuse in Bangladesh: An Unrecognized Offense has been cited extensively and she has several articles to her credit on women and children’s rights. Alongside her undeniable expertise, Nusrat has a staunch belief that collectively we can enact policy changes that protect immigrant survivors, leading us to end the generational cycle of abuse. 

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Aparna Asthana

Development Director

Aparna Asthana joined the Daya team in 2017 as a volunteer. With a deep passion for safe families, she transitioned to the Board, holding multiple executive positions until her decisions to join the Daya staff full time in 2024. With communications degree from the University of Houston, Aparna manages donor relationships, volunteer programs, major events, and grant writing at Daya. Aparna has held leadership roles across various nonprofits focusing on education, child welfare, arts, and women's empowerment. She is motivated by our community's collective power to support families and harnesses her talents of connection and creativity to inspire others to join Daya's mission.

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Tishya Bedi

Director of Outreach and Prevention

As Daya’s Director of Outreach & Prevention, Tishya leads programs to build awareness and train others on domestic and sexual violence. With a background in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Houston, Tishya is passionate about reaching silent victims within the South Asian diaspora. As a South Asian immigrant herself, Tishya uses her own experiences and learnings to help educate partner agencies and community members. She also serves on the Houston Area Women’s Center Young Leaders Board and teaches Critical Thinking in Sexuality at Rice University. With a particular passion for reaching our community's youth, Tishya is inspired to build a future free of intimate partner violence.

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Rachna Khare

Executive Director

Since 2016, Rachna Khare has spearheaded Daya’s growth, including increases in client volume from 250 to 640 survivors. Rachna is a founder of South Asian Survivors & Organizations & Allies Rising (SOAR), serves on the Board of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, and dedicates her time to grassroots and mainstream committees that protect underserved survivors of violence. A graduate of the University of Texas, she previously led programs at Rice University, Mount Sinai Hospital, and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Rachna's greatest passion is supporting new leaders in the field so the mission to end domestic violence continues to grow and gain energy.

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Barbara Le

Director of Finance and Administration

Since August 2018, Barbara Le has overseen Daya’s success behind the scenes, including budget development and management, financial compliance, human resources, and fund development. Barbara works closely to ensure Daya builds a diverse and sustainable funding profile which includes public and private sources. At Daya, Barbara ensures accountability to our community and funders through the management of federal, state, and local foundation grants. Barbara holds a BBA from the University of Houston, has over a decade of financial experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sector, and has taken Daya to new heights through exponential fund growth and improved policies and procedures. 

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Hareema Mela, LPC

Director of Client Services

Hareema Mela leads the client services team in providing mental health services and comprehensive case management. She is a bilingual Licensed Professional Counselor with training and experience in trauma-informed therapy approaches including EMDR and somatic interventions. Since 2017, Hareema has been providing linguistically and culturally specific counseling and case management to survivors at Daya. She holds a Master's in Applied Clinical Psychology from Pennsylvania State University and specializes in areas of trauma recovery, mood disorders, cultural identity, and career development. Hareema's leadership has raised the bar on excellence in client survivors, especially for vulnerable survivors. 

To contact Board President, Fermeen Fazal,

please email contact@dayahouston.org

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