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photoArpita Appannagari, Women’s Health Initiative Coordinator, joined Sakhi as an intern in January 2014 and became a part-time staff member in June. She has a B.A. from Indiana University, where she triple majored in Biology, Spanish, and Gender Studies (largely due to an unfiltered love of learning). She is currently an MPH Candidate at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and is expected to graduate in May 2015. She is deeply and vocally passionate about women’s empowerment in health, and is honored and excited to be joining the Sakhi team. When she’s not discussing the many merits of public health and its importance to the world as we know it, she is most likely drinking tea, reading, or becoming far too emotionally invested in a variety of television shows and sports teams. She can be reached at or or 212-714-9153, x 1004.

Sohini Das, Development Coordinator, joined Sakhi as a volunteer in September 2012, and went on to become staff Summer_trees_and_sunshine_sky_JA130_photomember in January 2014. Sohini began her career at a web development shop during the 1990′s. She then helped produce the first ever Tribeca Film Festival, prior to joining the television network, Nickelodeon. She was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2004. Sohini then moved to TV Land, where she helped the network build its slate of original productions. Sohini opened the doors to her private practice television development consultancy in 2010. She is honored to have joined the amazing and inspirational team at Sakhi. She is proficient in Bengali, and holds a B.S. in Mass Communications from Boston University. She enjoys life’s simple pleasures: eating brunch with her family, baking muffins, and watching Downton Abbey. She can be reached at or 212-714-9153, x 1003.

Caritas Doha
, DACA Services Coordinator, started as a volunteer in 2009, and became full staff member in March of 2014. She studied Political Science and Creative Writing, as Colin Powell Fellow, at the City College of New York. She is deeply invested in Sakhi’s mission and is excited to be developing an initiative to support undocumented South Asian females.  She believes in the power of nuance and empathy, and is writing a blog, Documenting Dreams, hoping to bring those elements into the narrative to inform people about the experience of being undocumented. She loves a good, healthy debate, and sharing a meal with great company. She can be reached at or 212-714-9153, x 1005.

PoojaPooja Raj, Domestic Violence Program Advocate, joined Sakhi as an MSW intern in September 2013, and went on become a full time staff member in July 2014. She has both her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work from New York University and Columbia University respectively. Before joining Sakhi and discovering the crusades for gender equality, Pooja interned at the Home Based Crisis Intervention Program at University Settlement, where she provided case management services for adolescents with severe behavioral, educational, and mental health issues. She is fluent in both Hindi and Punjabi. In her spare time, you can find her relaxing with a good book, preferably realistic fiction, on her lounge chair, dancing with friends in Zumba class, and attempting to recreate her grandmother’s traditional Indian dishes. She can be reached at or 212-714-9153, x 1009.

Bithi Roy, Domestic Violence Program Advocate, completed a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay CollegeNature-Wallpapers-HD in May, 2009.  While at John Jay, Bithi conducted research on domestic violence in the Bangladeshi immigrant community. Bithi also completed her Master and Bachelor in Sociology at Shahajalal University of Science & Technology in Bangladesh. She is fluent in Bengali. She finds herself happy when people around her are happy too. “Sathkahon” a Bengali novel written by Shamaresh Majumder gave her a real perception of life when she was in just high school. Growing up in a highly patriarchal society, she realized how important it is for a woman to become independent and strong first  in order to fight against injustice and to create a meaningful change in someone’s life. She still carries that spirit in her day to day work at Sakhi. She loves listening to music, reading books, watching movies and be close enough to nature to feel it. She can be reached at or 212-714-9153, x 1006.


Reshmi Sengupta, Programs Director, joined Sakhi as a volunteer in the summer of 2010, going on to becoming a full-time staff member in September.  She has a BA from Hunter College, double majoring in Economics and History, with a focus in development Economics.  After 6 years in the finance world, she decided to go back to school and get a Masters degree in Economics and Education from Columbia University-Teachers College, focusing on women’s development in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is fluent in both Hindi and Bengali. She’s an avid cinema lover who dreams of moonlighting as a film critic for the New York Times! She can be reached at or 212-714-9153, x 1007.

Monica Sharma, Economic Empowerment Program Coordinator, joined Sakhi as a BSW intern in September 2013, and became a full time staff member in September 2014. She received her Bachelors in Social Work from Adelphi University, and aspires to enroll in a PhD program, to do research on issues surroundingMonica Place sexual violence and LGBTQI community. Monica is a passionate feminist, who believes in fair and equal treatment of all sexes. She is dedicated to advocate for women rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. She greatly appreciates her co-workers, and how they have helped her grow in various realms of professionalism as, it serves the purpose of acquiring knowledge and gaining competency simultaneously. In her spare time, she enjoys making music, writing, reading a refreshing book, preparing her next blog post and last but not the least, spending time with the ones who are close to her heart. She can be reached at or 212-714-9153, x 1008.

Shalini Somayaji, Executive Director, first started working around gender-based violence issues in 2000 during a summer Vancouverfellowship at Raksha, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that works within the South Asian community.  There, her passion for social justice was sparked, and she continued on after law school at Tapestri, a nonprofit dedicated to ending violence in refugee and immigrant communities, for over six years, first as a legal advocate and then as Co-Executive Director.  She joined Sakhi in July 2011 as Deputy Director and became the ED in June 2015. She is a graduate of Tufts University and Emory University School of Law.  She is currently on the Steering Committee of Asian Women Giving Circle.  When not trying to figure out how to make life easier with technology, you can find her hanging out with her family, looking for the best vegan meal, or writing a story based on her grandfather’s life – who first inspired her to do good without expecting anything in return. She can be reached at or 212-714-9153, x 1002.

Photos represent where we feel most at peace and ease. 

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