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Hidden Gems: Meet Nanda Mehta of Ahaana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nanda Mehta.

Nanda, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I have been a community volunteer and organizer since I was 19. Whether mobilizing youth to participate in events or leading a committee, I enjoyed working with various nonprofits that needed help. When I moved to San Diego in 2014, I launched Ahaana with the sole purpose of introducing Yoni ki Baat, a South Asian version of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. With support from my Yoni Sisters (as we call the performing alumni) the first show was staged at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park in 2015. It was received very well in the community and our patronage has steadily grown and also diversified in audience demographic.

Since then, Ahaana’s mission has grown into a local and global Community Service organization spreading Awareness & Acceptance of our culture. We have introduced various initiatives, to support women entrepreneurs and artists and cottage industry businesses through a free networking infrastructure. Ahaana is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which is wholly operated by amazing volunteers and loyal community engagement.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Our initiatives have spread organically and with a passionate group of Board and Committee members, it has been a satisfying journey. Of course, finances are always a challenge for any fledgling company, but again, with constant connection with our members we have been able to support and grow our Initiatives. Creating purposeful and fun events while spreading awareness is our focused goal.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We work closely with the community we live in, feel the pulse of what is needed to be done and create opportunities to address the concerns, issues and try to bring positive solutions. That is what sets us apart.

We have also initiated CONE, Coalition of Nonprofit Entities, which brings together local area nonprofits to collaborate and annually support a local non profit in San Diego. We recently had a successful donation drive for Alpha Project for the Homeless.

Our SWANS Initiative supports women-at-risk with a resource helpline locally, and champions for survivors of violence and disenfranchised widows globally, by collaboration with local NGO’s in the country of our projects.

Recently we have started an Awareness Monthly Series of online presentations by representatives from the District Attorney’s office, on subjects like drug epidemic, elder abuse and hate crimes. These subjects are generally not spoken about in social gatherings, but there is a need to bring it out and put a spotlight on it.

Ahaana means ‘the inner light’ which we all possess, so it is our civic duty to bring out our strengths and collectively help where it is needed.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We would love to engage people in our various projects. We would appreciate anyone with newsletter writing, flier making and marketing skills to volunteer time with us. We encourage local area nonprofits to join us in CONE, spread awareness of their work while supporting a local organization. We also would like to network with professionals like lawyers who would help us in supporting our SWANS Initiative for women-at-risk and survivors of violence.

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Studio Disha and SDLens

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