Houstonians Gather to Support Non-Profit Headed by One of their Own

Sachi and Maya

Sachi and Maya

By Sachi Shenoy

HOUSTON: HAAS, a community organization of Konkanis in the Houston area, hosted a fundraiser for Upaya Social Ventures on Saturday, February 8 at the Techniplex Conference Center in Stafford. Owners of the Conference Center, Naren and Hansa Patel, graciously offered the venue to support this special cause. The program was kicked off with a Ganesh Vandana by Sneha Shenoy and a Bollywood dance medley by Samhita Bhat. Drs. Sujata Desai, Maya Prabhu, and Sudhakar Shenoy entertained the audience with their rendition of popular Hindi film songs.

Upaya’s Executive Director, Sachita Shenoy, spoke about the problem of extreme poverty in India; nearly 400 million in India live under $1.25 / day, the largest number of any country in the world. Upaya builds businesses that create dignified jobs for the “ultra poor.” In the past two years, Upaya has supported the development of five enterprises, which are collectively employing over 1,100 people. For most, this is the first formal job they have ever had and all are on a path to emerge from poverty.

Currently splitting her time between Upaya’s offices in Seattle and India, Sachita spent her childhood in Houston and graduated from Klein High School. She attended the University of Chicago, earning a BA in Economics and an MBA in Finance. After spending nearly a decade working in financial services, Sachita moved with her husband Vivek to India in order to work on poverty alleviation. Sachita observed that the lack of good employment opportunities was a primary factor in perpetuating extreme poverty. She co-founded Upaya in 2011 with a mission to focus on job creation for the poorest of the poor. During Saturday’s event, HAAS presented Sachita with a plaque in appreciation of her dedication to uplifting the ultra poor.

The event was co-sponsored by Dr. Vasudev and Shobha Shenoy, and catering was provided by Udipi Cafe.

Upaya’s work is made possible by a large and loyal network of donors.

For further information about Upaya’s work and how to get involved, visit www.upayasv.org.