Asha NYC/NJ Elections Coordination Team for 2007 – About the Nominees
Chapter Coordinator: Ashwin Gonibeed and Padmaja Rajagopalan
Funds Coordinator: Jaee Likhite & Baiju Thakkar
Projects Coordinators: Lakshmi Subramanian & Mazin Fatehi & Sejal Pandya
Publicity Coordinators: Abhishek Rathi & Monica Sadhu & Priyanka Lilaramani
New Member Coordinator: Marcos Caceres & Jitu Borse
Web Coordinator: Gautam Verma & Prasanth Ramanand
Knowledge Coordinator: Neil Mehta
Treasurer: Lokanath Nagaraja
Ashwin Gonibeed (Chapter Coordinator)
I have been a member of the Asha NYC/NJ chapter since March 2006. During this time I
have been involved in a number of fundraisers, including the Asha 5k run/walk, tamil drama and
Notes Of Hope. As all volunteers at Asha generally do, I have worked on various aspects
of organizing fundraisers including sponsorship, publicity, event management and folding chairs:-)
After the success of the 5K run/walk I took on the role of "New Volunteer Coordinator" and have
successfully helped to introduce over 35 new volunteers to the organization, some of whom have
been active participants in our events.
Having volunteered with Asha for over 8 months, I feel I am now ready to take on even more
responsibility within the organization. I am running for the role of "Asha NYC/NJ chapter
coordinator" and look forward to your support for my nomination. As I do so, I am excited by the
prospect of continuing to work with a dedicated team of volunteers towards the idealistic but
achievable goal of making a difference in the community that we came from.
Padmaja Rajagopalan (Chapter Coordinator)
I joined Asha because I am a firm believer in the power of education and the opportunities it could
unlock for a person. Many of us are blessed with the opportunities we've got to date and through
Asha in a small, personal and meaningful way we could try and help people less fortunate than us
to improve their chances in life.I got a nomination for the chapter co-ordinator and I'd like to work
with every one to enhance our already dedicated band of volunteers to achieve and contribute
more in 2007.
Baiju Thakkar (Fundraising Coordinator)
My name is Baiju Thakkar. I work as a software engineer at Epsilon. I am very excited to have
been nominated for the role of fundraising coordinator. I am very energetic and enthusiastic about
raising funds for Asha so we can continue to provide money to all the awesome projects in India. I
look forward to a very promising year where our goal will be to have very successful events and
raise more money than we ever have in a single year.
Jaee Likhite (Fundraising Coordinator)
After being a part of Asha Stamford for almost 2 years, I joined Asha NYC/NJ last summer. I
believe that an educated people make an intelligent country and a well educated country is
essential for its economic rise. I have always wanted to get involved with promoting education in
developing countries. Asha, with its single focus in educating the underprivileged piqued my
interest in its cause.
Asha has given me excellent opportunity to contribute to a cause I strongly believe in. Being a
Fundraising co-ordinator along with Baiju will give me a rare chance to not only promote Asha
and its message in the NYC/NJ area but also gather funds essential for our projects in India. I
look forward to a wonderful 2007 with the Asha team.
Lakshmi Subramanian (Projects Coordinator)
The passion for improving basic education at the grass-roots level is what brought me to Asha. I
just moved to NY city 2-3 months ago from California and previously I have been involved with
Asha Berkeley for 3 years. I have always greatly admired the functioning of Asha as an
organization and the dedication, enthusiasm of the volunteers. Asha has been an astounding
success till now, but much of its efforts (by individual chapters) have still been focused on
disparate small-scale projects in different pockets of India. To take Asha to the next step,
I am of the belief that as an organization we should try to better inter-relate the existing supported
projects as well as support larger-scale projects. I think Asha NYCNJ chapter is in a unique
position (given its scale and size of funds it generates) to target this dream. As a project
coordinator, I hope to realize a small part of this dream in the upcoming year.
Mazin Fatehi (Projects Coordinator)
My past 7 or so months at Asha have been extremely, extremely fulfilling.
Working with gr8 minds during NOH was an amazing experience & how small efforts on our
end will make such a difference in young lives. I truly believe in Asha's approach to bring about
change in our country and hopefully the world too.
To end with, I see myself being around organizations like Asha for Education and
other like minded hearts for years to come.
Sejal Pandya (Projects Coordinator)
I joined Asha to make a contribution to the lives of many children in need. Organizations must
provide individuals the tools necessary to assist them in realizing their dreams. Education being
an essential tool, I found Asha to be a natural fit for me. Volunteering with Asha has taught me a
great deal about the chapter and allowed me to interact with some wonderful people. The most
rewarding experience by far has been to interact first hand with many of the dedicated people
who work at our projects. I look forward to working with the projects team to bring our
organization’s message of hope to more children in India. My goals: to continue to find and
evaluate project proposals that are truly innovative and diverse from our current portfolio; update
the projects proposal guidelines to assist in creating a systematic approach to finding proposals;
solidify the projects team and continue to build relationships with the custodians to stay in touch
with all the aspects of the project throughout the year; provide assistance to the knowledge
coordinator (Neil:))) by tapping into the knowledge base of the individuals involved in grass roots
work at our projects; provide updated project content to our fundraising and publicity teams; and
finally to keep the group updated on all local and Asha-wide projects related discussions. Looking
forward to another amazing year!!
Abhishek Rathi (Publicity Coordinator)
I joined Asha NYC/NJ chapter in May during the 5k Race. In last seven months I gained many
good/positive feelings from Asha:
Happiness of Giving.
Satisfaction of Making Positive Change.
Long Lasting Friends.
Passion to Achieve More.
Subtle warmth by a simple thought that somewhere in India a student is being
educated… and one day that student will make this world a better place to live.
The above list is never ending. I want to make Asha so popular that many more people can gain
similar feelings by associating themselves with Asha. Hopefully, I will add positive value to Asha
through my role as Publicity Co-Coordinator.
Monica Sadhu (Publicity Coordinator)
I have been involved with Asha for Education for the past 2 years, first as the runner for the Asha
marathon program and then a mentor this year. For me , volunteering for Asha was a natural
progression towards getting involved into something meaningful . Last two years have been personally
gratifying for me and I am hoping that I can leverage my experience in media to maximize the Asha
brand visibility through grass root activities & PR.
Priyanka Lilaramani (Publicity Coordinator)
I first got involved with Asha as a participant of the 5k run/walk earlier this year. Since then
learning about Asha's initiatives and working with the team has been humbling, gratifying, and
fun. As the team gears up for another great year, creating awareness about the organization and
its cause will be a key factor for our success. As part of the publicity team for 2007, I hope to
raise the visibility of our cause to attract donors and volunteers alike and build recognition that
Asha is truly deserving of.
Jitu Borse (New member Coordinator)
Recently I came across this quote "You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by
what you give". It was used for one of the Asha for Education fund raising campaigns and I truly
believe in it. I joined Asha for Education NYCNJ chapter around six months back and been
involved in organizing couple of fund-raisers. Its a great team of volunteers who give their best
and do every bit they can. The energy and enthusiasm of this group is just contagious and
Learning about the projects that are supported through funds raised by Asha for Education and
the number of lives that are improved motivates me to keep doing more. I am thrilled to be a part
of this organization and look forward to a great year ahead.
Marcos Caceres (New member Coordinator)
I am a lifelong New Yorker with several years of experience as an administrator in nonprofit
I joined Asha because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the children of India. One of
the things I like about Asha is the enthusiasm of the volunteers. They serve in Asha because they
know that all the funds they raise will go directly toward the various educational projects in India.
Certainly, this enthusiasm spreads to the new members.
As a new member coordinator, I would help newcomers become acquainted with Asha and its
mission. Furthermore, I would suggest ways they can use their skills to run events and to promote
Asha to others. Most importantly, I would do these things with enthusiasm so that they, too, will
become volunteers who are enthusiastic about helping the children of India receive the education
Gautam Verma (Web Coordinator)
My association with Asha started in June, 2006. I had approached Asha NYC/NJ chapter to
become the channel for disbursing funds that I was going to raise through a penny drive initiative.
The response I received from Nitin and Monel was very encouraging and so I became a Ashaite.
Later I also got involved in sharing the webmaster responsibilities.
The thing that has made the experience of the past half year specially rewarding is the
unrelenting energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers. I hope to continue making useful
contributions to Asha by volunteering for events, expanding my penny drive initiative and sharing
the webmaster responsibilities through next year.
Prasanth Ramanand (Web Coordinator)
There is a story about a boy and a star fish. It was low tide season and many star fishes were
stuck in the shore. A boy kept picking one at a time and throw it to the sea. A man who has been
watching the boy for a while, comes up to him and says, "Son, it doesn't matter. You can't save
them all, there are so many of them." To which the boy replied, "It does matter. It mattered to the
one I just saved. That's good enough and I shall keep doing that till I can."
This is a story I remember every day in my life, before I start sulking at our inability to improve the
country, the government, the lives of near and dear.
We all have the ability to make changes albeit small, nevertheless they are as important as the
massive tides of change we wish to bring upon. This is our call, we can make a difference, our
work at the grass root level is important.
Life is not fair and not all are blessed with good fortune. However if one gets a chance of getting
proper education, s/he is better equipped to strive for a better living. And here is why I think Asha
for Education has the potential to help much. And I feel privileged to be able to contribute in this
org. in any capacity I could.
For the coming year, I look forward to helping our chapter website a very user friendly and with lot
of useful features. I also look forward to working with the SAC team and funds team for various
Neil Mehta (Knowledge Coordinator)
I am very humbled and proud to be associated with such a wonderful cause and group of people.
Our work has just begun to add value to our projects and catalyze change in the lives of the
children we serve.
One important role to achieve this goal will be the introduction of a knowledge coordination team.
The objective of the knowledge coordinator is to facilitate the education of us, Asha NYC-NJ
volunteers, on relevant social, economic, political and educational issues. This role will prepare
our team to make well-informed disbursement decisions as well allow us to step forward into the
of an advisor for our projects.
Some initiatives that you can expect to see include an Issues in Education news digest,
teleconferences with educators in India and meetings with development experts in New York.
Secondly, we would like to put together a project advisory board of experts, academics and
activists to serve as advisers for our volunteers and projects.
Look forward to another exciting year.
Lokanath Nagaraja (Treasurer)
I have been a volunteer for Asha for a little more than a year now. During last year, my
involvement with Asha has helped me experience the joy one could get by bringing a small hope
(read Asha) in other's life. It has been a wonderful journey for me to see such enthusiastic and
energetic people at Asha working for such a noble cause far away from their land.
I am very excited for another year as a treasurer at Asha. Based on my previous year's
experience, I would like to bring few new ideas to Asha for Education treasury. As for myself, I am
a structural engineer working in an architectural & engineering firm in down town.
I wish the new co-ordination team good luck for an exciting, fun-filled and sucessful year at Asha