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a USA-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (tax ID: 68-0434770)


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Who are the directors and officers of Sahaya International?


ramin picture

President: Dr. Ramin Yazdani (Ph.D.)

In 2002, I was inspired to join Sahaya International after visiting various cities in India and seeing so many people living in poverty and suffering. My main visit was to help cities in India reduce greenhouse gas emissions but after I came back to Davis, I read an article about Sahaya International that inspired me to join Sahaya. I wanted to make a difference by helping families that were suffering and that Sahaya was doing it.  Since 2002, I have visited Sahaya’s programs in India several times and I have seen first hand how it has improved living conditions for women, children, and the community.  My profession as a civil & environmental engineer has been useful in educating the local villages as to how they may reduce their impact on the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using solar cookers.   I am grateful to be part of this great organization and be able to give back to our global family & community. Making a difference starts today by helping someone in need and showing that we care. It is everyone’s responsibility to create a compassionate and caring global community.
 “If you contribute to other people’s happiness you will find the true meaning of life. The key point is to have a genuine sense of universal responsibility.” By Dalai Lama 


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Secretary/Treasururer: Dr. Koen Van Rompay

I was born and raised in Belgium. My passion for animals led me to become a veterinary doctor at the University of Ghent (Belgium). Thanks to a fellowship from the Belgian-American Educational Foundation (BAEF), I came to the University of California, Davis (UCD), where I have been doing HIV/AIDS research. I am currently Full Research Professor at UCD. In 1997, I became involved in India, which led to the start of Sahaya International, as described elsewhere (click here). I spend most of his free time on the daily management of Sahaya International. I enjoy making a difference and meeting many inspirational people along the way. I started writing a book about my journey (click here).

Koen has received several awards, including the 2006 Alumnus of the Year Award by the University of Antwerp, the International Peace-Maker Award (Teach Peace Foundation), the 2010 Excellence in Research Award (Academic Federation, University of California), the 2010 Community Service Award (University of California, Davis).



Dr. Adele Moussas, M.D.
I was first drawn to Sahaya by the beautiful hand embroidered cards. Learning about the women who make them, I became curious about the other programs sponsored by Sahaya and READ. What made me decide to join Sahaya and eventually become a Board member was the direct connection, the direct help I could be to these people on the other side of the globe. Wanting to connect even more with them spurred me to go to India to visit the people benefiting from our sponsorship and see the programs in action. The villagers won my heart as can only happen when interacting one on one. I am grateful for my training as a Family Practice physician because this knowledge helped me participate in presenting HIV/AIDS awareness information, which is desperately needed in these villages. If you feel any stirrings of desire to help others, I encourage you to honor that desire and join us or do work for the good of others in your local community.


Ida-Maria Skavhaug
I currently work at UC Davis as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. I originally come from a cold (but cozy!) corner of Scandinavia and came here via Stirling, Scotland where I completed a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience. Although my fondness for all things Indian goes back many years, I first heard about Sahaya International when I moved to Davis in 2011. Since then my husband and I have been sponsoring a child in India and regularly attending Sahaya events. In 2014 I decided it was time to get further involved and I was invited to join the organization as a board member. It is heartwarming to see the difference that Sahaya has made to so many lives - and I am excited to be a part this wonderful organization!


Mary Philip
worked for many years as a social workers in Mumbai, India. Upon moving to the USA, she worked for the California Department of Public Health and recently retired. She is involved with many charities, and is also vice-president of International House Davis.

Rino and Khonnie

Rino Dizon, D. O., Family Physician

As an undergraduate at UC Davis, I worked in the virology and immunology lab, where I met Dr. Van Rompay.  His passion for philanthropy inspired me to help in making a direct impact to those affected by the AIDS epidemic.  Sahaya is the true embodiment of compassion.
Since 2001, I've had the pleasure serving as board member and I continue to learn new ways of improving our humanitarian missions.   Sahaya has helped me realize the true meaning of hope and with that, make a difference to those in need. 


Danielle Newberry

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Lonna Hampton

In 2007 I had the blessed opportunity to visit the programs that Sahaya supports in South India.  I got to know many of the sponsored children, met several women who were able to support their children because of small loans and job skills training, and I visited the schools that Sahaya has partnered to build.   Seeing the positive difference that Sahaya makes in providing hope and a future -- through medicines and nutrition, through education and job skills, and through mentoring -- made me eager to join the Board and play a bigger role in furthering the work of Sahaya.  I live in Davis, CA, with my husband and our 3 sons.  I work as a lactation consultant. I am in the process of becoming a Physician Assistant, working to develop medical skills that I will use to help meet needs in a developing country in a few years.

Vinita Domier
Serving on the board of Sahaya International is a highly rewarding and deeply meaningful experience for me, as I have always wanted to make a difference.​ I enjoy working collaboratively with others towards common goals, and have helped organize numerous events and fundraisers while volunteering for many local school, youth, social, and non-profit organizations since moving to Davis in 1993. Presently, I work at International House Davis as the Program and Volunteer Coordinator where I employ many of the organizing and coordinating skills gleaned over years of volunteering, and also continue to lead the Davis Astronomy Club at Explorit Science Center where I share my love for science in general and astronomy in particular with local enthusiasts of all ages.
Paulina Zielinska

Paulina Zielinska ( D.V.M., M.P.V.M., M.P.H.)
I am a veterinarian from Poland and I moved to Davis in 2008 to pursue a master's degree in the Preventive Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis. During the program, I began my work in global health, coordinating an HIV/AIDS prevention project in collaboration with the CDC in Hyderabad, India. I was able to visit READ and witness the immense impact that Sahaya has made on those programs. After that, I went on to complete my master of public health degree at Harvard University where I focused on global health. Currently I am the Director of the Office for Global Programs in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM), where I work as a liaison and communication leader for the office, networking with other programs and institutions across the campus and UC system as well as SVM partners globally.

Paulina Zielinska

Cincin Young, Ph.D., founded the Mosquito-Dengue Fighters Association (MDFA; in the Philippines in July 2010.  The MDFA mission is dengue prevention through mosquito control. Cincin was the administrative officer of the UC Davis Pulsed Flow Program ( and the Instream Flow Assessment Program (  Both programs dealt with the effects of hydropower facilities on the aquatic species and habitats in California rivers and streams. Cincin recently retired from the University of California in Davis to devote more time to the MDFA.  She has been involved with fund raising for Sahaya International since 2005 and has also been involved in many fund raising events for other organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Farm to School, and International House.


Chung Truong (left on picture)
I graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2001 with a degree of biological sciences and also graduated from the University of the Pacific in 2006 with a degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery.  Throughout these years, I have seen the tremendous development of Sahaya International.  I have become very inspired by the many lives that Sahaya has helped.  I am very grateful to be apart of such a great humanitarian effort.


Andy Lauer
is a well-known actor, movie director, and President/Founder of Reelaid.
Best known to America for his role of "Charlie" (for which he was Emmy-nominated) on the hit NBC comedy series Caroline in the City, Andy. Lauer has co-starred on the big screen in Gunshy (Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock), Screamers (Peter Weller), and Never On Tuesday (Peter Berg), For the Boys (Bette Midler) and Oliver Stone's The Doors (Val Kilmer) and Born on the Fourth of July (Tom Cruise). He has directed a number of short films and documentaries (click here for a more detailed list). In December 2010, Andy spent 2 weeks in India to make a promo-video about Sahaya's work with the NGO READ. The documentary, "Sahaya Going Beyond" was completed in 2013.


Leslie Anastassatos
has worked for the past eighteen years on various education and development programs for World Learning, The School for International Training and The Experiment in International Living.  She enjoyed working to send students from the United States on cultural language, environmental and development programs around the world because she believes that kids can be a powerful force for change, and they are our future leaders.  Leslie spent many summers leading field programs to Kenya and Botswana where she worked with Habitat for Humanity and other independent Kenyan organizations to build homes, schools, and women’s health centers. Leslie has been a Sahaya volunteer since 2008, and has enjoyed sharing the support of a child through Sahaya along with seven of her neighbors.  Though they have never met the boy they are supporting, the families in the neighborhood love sharing photos and watching him grow.  Leslie has traveled independently to many countries in Asia and Africa, including one month in India.  She lives with her husband and two sons in Davis, CA, and loves to travel with them as much as possible.

Jeff Vo

Jeff Q. Vo and his team focus on Sahaya Vietnam program consisting of housing and scholarship. He graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2003 with a Managerial Economics major. His hobby includes filmmaking, photography and running. He's a charity director of San Jose Viet Running Group and a board of director of Vietnamese National Association of Real Estate Professionals. In his professional field, Jeff is a Vice-President at GD Commercial Real Estate. His specialty areas are targeted geographically in Silicon Valley. During his spare time, he focuses on family and spends time with his son, Winston Bodhi Vo.

Roopa Mukund

Roopa Mukund.
My first brush with Sahaya was in Oct 2016, where I joined them for their annual “Sahaya Walks” event. I am truly inspired by the mission and vision of Sahaya International and the wonderful work they do in touching the lives of so many in various parts of the world. Since I am originally from the Southern part of India, I hope to visit the Sahaya center located there, spend time with the children and help as often as I am able.
I am currently a PA student in my didactic year at UC Davis. As a future healthcare provider, I am greatly influenced and interested in the work Sahaya is doing in HIV/AIDS, children/women's health and rehabilitation.
I have two lovely daughters who I hope to involve in volunteering for Sahaya in the near future. I feel honored to be part of Sahaya and am excited to join their causes.

In addition, we have several key volunteers who are in charge of specific Sahaya programs:



Dr. Purnima Madhivanan, PhD., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor at Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work.  Trained as a physician in India, she also earned her PhD in Epidemiology from University of California Berkeley in 2007. Prior to that, she was a Fogarty fellow at Brown University studying HIV epidemiology in women. She is the co-founder and director of Public Health Research Institute of India located in Mysore. Her interests include the health of women in disadvantaged communities across their lifespan, she is a prolific researcher and an advocate for women in the developing world.


Karl Krupp
is a researcher at Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work at Florida International University. He is also the program director for Public Health Research Institute in Mysore, India, which he co-founded with Dr. Purnima Madhivanan. He has a Masters in Public Health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and has extensive experience in public health and global health. His interests include utilizing microeconomic self-help groups to promote women’s health, HIV prevention, and treatment of neglected tropical diseases.

Kate and Venyei

Kate and Venyei Angshing are in charge of fundraising for and managing the Lamling Vista Elementary School in Vennyei’s village in rural Nagaland, India. Kate graduated from UC Davis in 2006 with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering. She met her husband on a medical mission trip to India in 2005 and has returned to India several times since then. Venyei completed both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Theology in India, graduating in 2008 from Gospel for Asia Biblical Seminary. He is now pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree through Bakke Graduate University with a focus on transformational leadership and practical theology. Venyei and Kate are both passionate about youth empowerment, social justice, and public health


Paul Adamson
is currently a medical student at UC San Francisco. He received his MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health in May 2009. Paul spent the summers of 2008 and 2010 in Mysore, India coordinating several projects run by the Public Health Research Institute and the Prerana Women's Health Initiative. His interests are in improving maternal and child health in underserved communities of India


Dr. Shyama Ghosh, PhD, has an academic background in biomedical research, with focus on immunoparasitology. She received her PhD in Molecular Biology from the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium, and has gained extensive experience in project management, training, research and publishing. Since 2010 she works as Managing Editor, Drug Data Report Abstracts, Thomson Reuters, Barcelona, Spain. Shyama assists Sahaya International as a volunteer consultant on public relations.

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