Chandni Shiyal, India Sahiyo Administrative Manager

Chandni_Photo3Chandni did her Masters in Sociology from the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai. She also completed her M.Phil. from the Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai on the subject of female genital mutilation in Africa with a special focus on  Ethiopia. In 2015 she published a book titled Female Circumcision/ Female Genital Mutilation: A Human Rights Violation A Case Study of Ethiopia. Ms. Shiyal is currently pursuing her Ph.D. from the Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai. Her topic of research is Gender Inequality and Women’s Health: A Comparative Study of Ethiopia and India. To contact Chandni, email her at

Sahiyo U.S.

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Mariya Taher, US Executive Director

Mariya pursued a study titled, “Understanding Female Genital Cutting in the United States“, in graduate school for her Master of Social Work from San Francisco State University. Since then, she has worked in the field of gender violence for nearly ten years, working on issues of domestic violence at W.O.M.A.N., Inc.; Asian Women’s Shelter; and Saheli, Support and Friendship for South Asian Women and Families. She was a 2014 Women’s Policy Institute for The Women’s Foundation of California and her team successfully passed legislation to provide low-income survivors of domestic violence with basic needs grants. Currently, she works with the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association on passing state legislation to criminalize FGC and build public awareness campaigns on FGC within the state. She serves on the steering committee for the U.S. Network to End FGM/C. The Manhattan Young Democrats named her a 2017 Engendering Progress honoree and she was named 1 of the 6 FGC experts to watch by Learn more about her by listening to Mariya’s Interview with ABC News or reading about her on Orchid Project’s Blog. To contact Mariya, email her at

Lara Kingstone, U.S. Sahiyo Communications Coordinator

Lara started her career in a youth-focused program designed to integrate London communities unnamedand empower young people to become active and engaged citizens. Lara earned a BA in Political Communications at IDC Herzliya, while working as a journalist at The Culture Trip and producing and hosting a human rights radio program. While studying, she worked at an educational center which aimed to help Palestinian and Israeli young people learn together.  Since then, she has worked with human trafficking prevention and gender-based violence prevention on the Thai-Lao border, and has worked as a Community Outreach Coordinator to connect youth in foster care with mentors, in Boston (USA). She now is pursuing her MSc in Social Development at UCL in London. You can contact her at

Tania Parks, Grant Coordinator


Tania is passionate about gender justice issues and has been actively involved with a number of organizations  advocating gender equality. She holds a Masters in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from SciencesPo Paris with concentrations in Middle East Studies and Migration Studies. She has held various development and outreach roles at a domestic violence survivor advocacy non-profit in San Francisco called W.O.M.A.N., Inc and was the Gender-Based ViolenceResearch Intern at a women’s health non-profit based in Paris called Women and Health Alliance, International. She has published a study on Syrian refugee girls’ perceptions of safety during displacement and has participated in resettlement efforts for Yemenis refugee women in San Francisco through the Arab Community and Cultural Center. You can contact Tania at

Jenny Cordle, Editorial CoordinatorIMG_20180917_104026194

Jenny’s passions include documenting human rights issues through photography and nonfiction writing. In 2016, she received a Certificate in Documentary Photography and Nonfiction Writing from Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, with her work focusing on female genital cutting in Mali, West Africa. She is currently researching the intersection of maternal and child health, traditional healing and spiritual beliefs in Northern Ghana through Georgetown University for her Master’s of Science in Global Health. She worked as a communications associate for Tostan, and is excited to continue working toward the abandonment of FGC with Sahiyo. To contact Jenny, email her at


Shabana Feroze, Sahiyo Social Media Consultant

Shabana has been a volunteer for Sahiyo since 2017. Coming from a Bohra family, she is IMG_0424.jpga survivor of khatna herself and hence is passionate about seeing an end to the practice. Living in Bahrain, she is a Bahraini national with Indian origins. Shabana is the owner and managing director of advertising agency The Silver Kick Company. She has over 12 years of experience in the field of marketing and advertising and has a flair for social media. She is also a group fitness instructor, a fashion and travel blogger at The Silver Kick Diaries for over 8 years, and author of the book Loving Yourself In Style. To contact Shabana, email her at


Ritti Mendieta, Social Media Intern

Ritti is passionate about empowering minorities and women of color. She has previously worked in Human Resources, supporting leadership and staff to create a more equitable workplace. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and an MBA in Marketing, having interned and freelanced at multiple startups in social media and marketing strategy. Using her education, Ritti is focused on supporting nonprofit organizations so that they can tell the stories of their clients. She is a believer in empowering individuals to tell their stories and shape their own narratives. 


Sarrah Hussain, Development Intern


Sarrah is an undergraduate student, still exploring what she wants to study at Stanford  University. She is extremely passionate about women’s rights/health, especially FGC. This will be her first time working with a nonprofit organization, and she is excited to create change and uplift voices with the Sahiyo team.




Hunter Kessous, Programs Intern

Hunter Kessous PhotoHunter is currently an undergraduate at Brandeis University studying Biology, Health: Science Society and Policy, and French. She has been passionate about ending FGC ever since she first learned of the practice. Hunter aspires to be a gynecologist and perform reconstructive surgeries for survivors of  FGC. Hunter is also a student researcher on an FGC project. In her free time, she likes to read, crochet and go to the beach.

Kendra Davis, Development Intern


Kendra Kendra's Headshotis a Master’s student at Brandeis University studying Global Health. Prior to attending Brandeis she was a Community Health Volunteer for three years in Togo. Kendra is passionate about educating communities about reproductive health issues. She is excited to contribute her experience as well as grow with the Sahiyo team.



Maria Elena Rivera-Beckstrom, Development Intern


Maria Elena is a researcher and an instructor with a strong interest in gender and women’s rights, and human rights, in general. She uses her teaching as a platform to raise awareness on gender violence and inequity. She joins Sahiyo so she can contribute to the efforts in ending female genital cutting as a member of the Sahiyo Team. Maria Elena worked with a Philippine nonprofit organization and has earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from the New School for Social Research in NYC. She previously taught at the University of Illinois Springfield and Bowdoin College as a visiting assistant professor. She currently teaches at Salem State University’s Interdisciplinary Studies Department and also works at the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership.


Zahara Kagalwalla, Social Media Intern

Zahara is an undergraduate student at the University of Notre Dame. Her academic interests include Business Analytics and Gender IMG_20190615_134056__01Studies. At Notre Dame, Zahara is a board member of Notre Dame’s Triota Honor Society and the Muslim Students’ Association where she works to encourage conversation about gendered bodies in Islamic Tradition. She is passionate about FGM, particularly emphasizing the values of informed consent and a woman’s right over her own body. Zahara hopes to use storytelling as a medium to generate awareness during her time at Sahiyo, as well as, to learn and grow with the Sahiyo team. 

Isabel Shepard, Communications Intern
Isabel is a recent graduate of Duke University, where she studied cultural 

unnamedanthropology and human rights. She is interested in the use of alternative media for social justice and believes in a multimedia approach to storytelling. Her work aims to center experiences and expressions of girlhood across communities and individuals. She looks forward to joining Sahiyo in empowering those affected by FGC through listening to, elevating, and advocating on behalf of their stories.