Aeshah brings her love of culture, international migration, public health equity, and advocacy. Born in Queens and raised by Guyanese immigrants, she holds a B.A. in Hispanic Studies with backgrounds in public health and economics. Aeshah is fluent in Guyanese Creole and Spanish; she is on her way to becoming proficient in Turkish.
Nurtured by CUNY, Anlisa brings four years of community development and urban planning expertise to her role as a Housing Counselor. Born in Guyana and raised in South Richmond Hill, she is both of the community and a servant to the community as a member of the Mutual Aid and Arts Committees of the South Queens Women’s March. Anlisa, as a visual artist, enjoys blending her passion for the arts with community advocacy, like in her previous role at Social Practice CUNY, also known as Social Practice Queens. Anlisa is fluent in Guyanese Creole.
For two decades, Annetta has championed positive change locally and internationally. Her leadership roles include Director for Policy and Advocacy at United Neighborhood Houses and Executive Director of South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!). A Guyanese immigrant to New York City, Annetta holds an M.A. in International Political Economy and Development from Fordham University, a B.A. in Political Science from Manhattanville College, and executive management certificates from Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School. She serves on the board of the New York Immigration Coalition.
Bangladesh born and Bronx raised, Anonna has prior experience working within the South Asian community, developing marketing campaigns and planning events. She has also worked with children and parents, creating strategies to navigate the public school system, which inspired a passion to further help the South Asian community. Anonna holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brooklyn College.
Administrative and Executive Assistant
Arati brings her passion for social justice and human rights to Chhaya. Prior to joining Chhaya, she worked in a immirgration law firm supporting the attorney for hearings and trials on detained, undocumented immigrant and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) cases. With years of experience in Nepal and the USA, she is passionate about helping her community and people in need. She is also actively engaged with Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Nepal in America (FIPNA) and Magar Association USA.
Associate Director of Programs
Advocacy and Organizing
Farzana manages Chhaya’s Naturalization Program, assisting Legal Permanent Residents in becoming citizens. She started as a summer intern at Chhaya, and then completed a fellowship program through Public Allies, where she worked on housing advocacy and volunteer management. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Fordham University.
Special Initiatives Manager
As a licensed social worker, Jessica has more than three years of experience at New York City based non-profits serving marginalized communities. She brings her clinical and research experience, passion for social justice, trauma-informed and anti-oppression work, and her love of her community to her role as Special Initiatives Manager. Jessica was born and raised in South Ozone Park, Queens, and as a daughter of Guyanese immigrants, she believes in the power and importance of having policies and practices that reflect and center the needs of a community. Jessica is fluent in Guyanese creole.
Director of Programs
Jose brings to Chhaya a passion for social justice and over 13 years of experience in the personal finance and nonprofit sectors. As Program Director for Trusted Advisor, he was responsible for the design, implementation, and management of a program designed to sustainably scale financial counseling services nationally.
As a resident of Queens and child of Indian immigrants, Jyothi seeks to unite her passion for equity and love of her culture to empower the communities Chhaya supports. She has experience in nonprofit fundraising and partnerships and holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Boston University.
As a first-generation immigrant who grew up in Queens, NY, Mahrin aims to help her fellow immigrant New Yorkers feel safe and supported by assisting with immigration services. With years of experience in various charitable organizations, she is passionate about helping people in her community. Mahrin is a proud Bengali-American fluent in Bangla.
Maansi is passionate about racial and economic justice and land rights. Prior to joining Chhaya, they studied urban planning and policy. They bring their experience organizing anti-fascist groups in India, as well as working on anti-displacement campaigns in the Bay Area. Maansi also sits on the board of the East Harlem El Barrio CLT and organizes with SALAM, a South Asian left organization based in NYC
ANHD CCL Housing Fellow
A resident of Queens, Moreom is firmly committed to housing justice and believes in the power of tenants. Her vision is for healthy and affordable housing for all. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the New York City University and can speak Bengali, Hindi and Urdu, as well as basic Punjabi and Arabic.
Phoolmaya has broad experience in community leadership as a business owner, past President of the Manang Samaj of New York, and active member of the Himalayan Buddhist Community of Nepal. She first joined Chhaya as a CNL Apprentice in 2017 assisting the housing preservation team and holds a Diploma in Fashion Design from the New York School of Design.
Communications and Development Associate
A Queens native and a child of Bangladeshi immigrants, Raunaq is passionate about providing support and service to his community. He has worked with various media outlets to highlight the thriving culture and diversity of Jackson Heights. Raunaq holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is fluent in Bangla.
Associate Director of Programs
Rima applies her clinical skills to engage clients and help tenants understand how policies affect them. Her work to combat oppression has enabled her to work with people of diverse racial, socio-economic, and gender backgrounds. She holds a Master of Social Work from Hunter College and in 2018 was Social Worker of Queens Honoree. She is fluent in Bangla.
Associate Director of Programs, Asset Building & Small Business
Sabrina Castillo was born in El Salvador raised in Southern California and has lived in NY/NJ for 21 years. She has 20+ years of experience in communications and community relations. She uses her diverse background to engage underserved communities. She worked at the City of New York's Campaign Finance Board for 8 years, managing outreach programs. She is dedicated to immigrant communities and brings an innovative approach to community development. Sabrina is driven by projects that support and help communities thrive.
Deputy Director of Policy
Sadia brings 20 years of social justice advocacy experience to Chhaya CDC. She worked as a movement lawyer at Catholic Migration Services, Urban Justice Center and TakeRoot Justice, where she represented hundreds of tenants against exploitative landlords, helped build coalitions and created just policies for all New Yorkers. Most recently, she was an interim Co-Executive Director at TakeRoot gaining experience in nonprofit management and leading a visionary organization through the pandemic.
A Bangladeshi Hindu immigrant in New York City and a proud resident of Queens, Sujoy brings his decade-long commitment of community empowerment to Chhaya! Sujoy is known for his rapid response to crisis and his friendly next door neighbor-like attitude. Before joining Chhaya, he served as a frontline health officer during Covid-19 outbreak in New York City where he led multiple Citywide Emergency field operations for NYC Emergency Management and was recognized by NYC Health Department for his service. For 2020 Census, Sujoy was New York City's youngest full-time Federal Partnership officer appointed by U.S. Census Bureau where he held a leadership role to ensure the complete census count for South Asian & Indo-Caribbean communities. Sujoy is a proud CUNY alumnus & a HASTEC Scholar. Besides Housing Justice, he is also a strong advocate for language accessibility for all. Sujoy is native-fluent in Bangla.
Associate Director of
Tenying is a HUD Certified housing counselor, she started as a pre-purchase housing counselor and then became a Foreclosure Prevention Counselor. She has more than five years of experience working for nonprofits serving immigrants. Raised in India, Nepal, and New York City, she understands the value of having a space where people feel welcomed and heard. Fluent in Tibetan, Hindi, Nepali, and Tsangla, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.
Director of Administration
Theresa has over 20 years of experience working with immigrant communities in NYC. She has worked as a community organizer and directed programs for immigrant youth at non-profits. She has also directed award-winning documentaries about immigrants and their fight for civil rights. Most recently, she was the Senior Manager of Organizing and Strategy at the New York Immigration Coalition, where she engaged over 100 community organizations in advocacy campaigns for immigrant justice. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Rochester and her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University.
Thinley has a passion for service and building community power. As a first-generation immigrant, living in Jackson Heights she understands the challenges and barriers faced by the community and wants to provide support, especially to underserved people. She believes in community power and that everyone has the right to safe and affordable housing. Thinley previously worked at Chhaya as an ERAP Navigator and as a Tax Preparer after graduating from our Pragati Program. She is fluent in Tibetan, Nepali and Hindi.
Born and raised in Queens, New York. Tristan graduated with a B/S in Economics from Saint John’s University. It was through his coursework that he discovered my passion for helping those who were less fortunate than me. I bring a passion for problem solving and helping people get on the right track to achieve their financial goals.
Senior Small Business Organizer
Urgen brings a passion for social equality and justice to his work at Chhaya. Prior to joining Chhaya, Urgen served as the president of the United Sherpa Association and as Senior Vice President of the Himalayan Buddhist Community. For over two decades, Urgen has been a community leader in the South Asian, specifically in the Nepali, Tibetan, and Bhutanese communities. He was also a founding member of the Zangdokpalri Foundation for Great Compassion in the US and Peekay Creative Youth Club and Nepal Sherpa Student Forum in Nepal.