Our Team

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Soraya Fouladi - CEO

soraya@joinjara.com

Since she was a teenager, Soraya has designed her life so that she could gain the skills to one day, make Jara a reality. After attending the United Nations school to gain a global education, she went to university for electrical engineering to understand how to build what is now the Jara Unit, where she also designed and manufactured products from prosthetics to wearables. She gained experience in designing and implementing systems and programs through writing curriculum for K-12 robotics, directing the largest technology-education camp of 500 campers and 60 staff members at Stanford, creating a fundraiser for disaster relief called Jamming-for-Relief, and designing and implementing effective systems as Supervisor for an electrical engineering innovation laboratory. Soraya also was a business management consultant for a government technology commercialization organization that had 72 portfolio companies. Her technical capabilities, along with her leadership and management experience, paired with her commitment to Jara’s mission, ensures that Soraya and her team will see Jara to its maximum impact.

 
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Mara Ohorodnik - Director of Education

mara.ohorodnik@gmail.com

Originally from Michigan, Mara lives in Washington, D.C. where she is studying for her Master’s Degree in International Education at The George Washington University. She received her B.A. in Communications from Michigan State University (MSU) and worked at MSU’s Office for International Students and Scholars, where she first began her career in the International Education sector. From there she went on to intern at NAFSA: Association for International Educators and learned the fundamentals of international education and exchange. Most recently, she worked at AMIDEAST as a Program Officer managing several Fulbright alumni programs, both in the U.S. and the MENA region, in coordination with the U.S. State Department Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. Mara currently works at The George Washington University as a Research Assistant analyzing refugee education, particularly surrounding the Syrian refugee crisis and higher education interventions, and is also a virtual English tutor for refugees through Paper Airplanes. With four years professional working experience, combined with her commitment to international education, Mara brings a unique set of niche skills that support Jara’s mission and education initiatives.

 
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Jannate Temsamani - Director of Outreach

jannate.temsamani@gmail.com

Jannate has always been passionate about issues in international education, especially access to rural education in Morocco, where she was born and raised. She obtained her Master’s degree in Global Development Policy from Boston University and her 2nd Master’s degree is in International Education Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her time at Boston University, she worked for her university’s Initiative on Forced Migration and Human Trafficking (FMHT) bringing together students, scholars, practitioners and policy-makers to support research and advocacy on migration issues. She has interned at various organizations working on education issues. At School the World, a non-profit that is building quality schools in rural villages in Central America, she worked on fundraising and grant-writing. At Counterpart International, she led a deep-dive analysis to evaluate active programs commitment to social inclusion. Most recently at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), her work in assisting with the preparation of the 21st session of the Commission on Science and Technology led her to conduct research on the role of technology in education. Throughout her experiences, Jannate’s commitment to improving education and catering to the most vulnerable only grew stronger. She speaks English, French, Spanish and Arabic. Jara’s mission deeply resonates with Jannate and is motivating her everyday on the Jara journey.

 
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Paulina Ramos - Software Engineer

m.paulina.ramos@gmail.com

Having built some of the world’s most widely used apps, to designing and teaching programming curriculum to children in refugee camps, Paulina is on the journey to scale her impact globally. She received her Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from the University of California Berkeley and studied at the Haas School of Business. After graduation, she worked at Uber as a software engineer for 3.5 years where she built multiple Android applications from the ground up: UberEats, UberFreight, and in-vehicle technologies for Uber's self-driving cars. Paulina has also interned as a software engineer at a range of Silicon Valley tech companies, from large corporations to small early-stage startups (eBay, Trulia/Zillow, Laflife). In 2017 she lived in Jordan for three months to teach Syrian refugee youth at Azraq Refugee Camp how to develop mobile applications. She designed the entire curriculum from scratch, customized all lesson plans and learned Arabic to execute her workshops effectively. Paulina also taught English classes to refugee adults from Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Her most recent work involves teaching Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. She combines both her passions for engineering and education by using technology as a tool to empower refugees to continue their education, so when she first learned about Jara, she was immediately captivated by its mission and did not hesitate to join the team. Paulina’s engineering skills and experience working with refugees helps Jara scale quality education for underserved populations.

 
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Lia Ikeda - Director of Social Media & PR

ikeda.lia@gmail.com

Originally from Maui, Hawaii, Lia bridges the gap between community empowerment and marketing. Having worked at Samsung and a range of start-ups and non-profits, she is currently studying Business Administration and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. With focuses in Marketing and Information Systems, she is passionate about finding ways to build connections between others through digital platforms, and is continuously building Jara's online and social presence. Lia has had a range of experiences in empowering businesses to grow digitally through developing strategies in social media, lead-generation, and product marketing. In her past experience working with non-profits and start-ups, she has developed social media campaigns to raise money for charities, partnerships with influencers to grow brand awareness, and blog sites for companies to share their journey. Most recently, Lia worked as a Marketing Communications intern with Samsung in San Jose where she developed an understanding of the Semiconductor industry and helped her team shape the content and messaging conveyed to a global audience. With her professional and educational experience, Lia has developed a passion for marketing in the technology industry. She is bringing her unique skillset to help strategize Jara's business plan for PR and social media to share our mission with the world.

 

Kavya Balaji - Operations Associate

As the former Vice President of ASHA for Education, Kavya Balaji led over 40 members and fundraised to bring education to impoverished areas of India. Kavya is currently a student at Northeastern University studying International Affairs and Social Entrepreneurship. She is on co-op at John Hancock, working in project management and operations. Previously, Kavya worked at Impact Chain Lab which focuses on utilizing blockchain technology to solve issues in global development. In addition, she has managed entrepreneurial content and aided with agribusiness projects for Dare to Innovate. She has also been an English tutor for over 30 Chinese students and helped them build the confidence needed to excel in their studies. With the combination of her education and research background, project operation skills and her experience in working with impoverished regions, Kavya can greatly contribute to Jara and its success.

 
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Isabella Shraiman - Director of Fundraising

Bella.shraiman00@gmail.com

Isabella Shraiman completed her Masters of Science in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she wrote a dissertation on discourse and aid policy to Central America's Northern Triangle. Prior to the LSE, Bella completed her undergraduate at McGill University in Montreal in with a First Class Joint Honours Degree in History and Political Science. She has extensive experience in fundraising and project development with different NGOs, and has also worked in immigration law, journalism, and incubator management for young social entrepreneurs. Bella’s work includes being a Project Officer in East Africa with Pepal, an NGO which seeks to connect local stakeholders with international corporations to develop infrastructure and nurture leadership in the health development sector. Her research interests include migration and forced displacement; the role of narratives in aid work; and the intersection between development and humanitarian work, specifically how to promote community development in humanitarian contexts. Bella joined Jara because of the passion in the team towards finding unique, yet scaleable solutions to emergency education and long-term community development which put the children and their families at the center of the equation. She knows that how Jara communicates - with communities, with partners, with the way Jara tells its story - will be key to the success of its mission to bring quality education to children around the world. Bella’s relationship management experience, love of positive storytelling, and dedication to the sector will help make this mission a reality.

 
 

Our Advisors

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Tenzin Seldon

Tenzin was raised in the Indian Himalayas, her family having fled there from Tibet. She immigrated to the United States as an adolescent, in which she graduated with honors from Stanford University, followed by University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She has spent her career advocating for disenfranchised communities, leading Climate Justice League chapters around the US, working on negotiations with Israel and Palestine, and, most recently, at the United Nations Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific. At the UN, Tenzin witnessed many young migrants experiencing hardships assimilating to a new country. She was a visiting lecturer at Rangsit University. Tenzin’s work has been recognized around the world: as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and one of OZY Magazine’s “5 Civil-Rights Leaders for a New Generation.”

 

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Sergio Mello

Sergio is an Italian entrepreneur who started his first company while studying EE as an university freshman. The IT consulting enterprise he built from zero to a successful exit proved to be a better school of life and business than the actual schools he’s ever attended.

After a few years of jetting between Europe and Asia seeking business and personal challenges, he spent a year learning to integrate himself into the unique society of Korea then landed himself in the fragrant harbor of Hong Kong. There, he launched Satisfly, his second venture which combined his life-long passion for aviation with the newly emerging trend of social media.

As the recognized inventor of social seating, Satisfly helped airlines around the world to serve their customers better by understanding them better. Satisfly was later acquired by Travelstart, Africa’s largest online travel agency. As Head of Innovation, he set up a team in Taiwan to spearhead the company’s pivot into mobile through innovative consumer experiences such as Flapp, the world’s first mobile app to book a flight in only two taps. As a member of the management committee, he played a key role in preparing Travelstart to receive a significant investment from MTN and Amadeus Capital.

He now lives in San Francisco and advises several startup companies and charitable foundations. He is currently advising a croudsourced bluetooth IoT network (nodle.io) and launching a stealth project.

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Abhi Rele

Director, Internet of Things (IoT) at Samsung

Abhi leads the product direction for Samsung’s ARTIK IoT cloud platform. Prior to joining Samsung, Abhi led product management and product marketing for all things IoT at Apigee (now part of Google Cloud). Before Apigee, Abhi worked at eBay (Magento commerce), Microsoft Tellme (voice recognition), A.T Kearney (management consulting), and Oracle (CRM and enterprise software). He holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree in computer science from Texas A&M University, and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai.

 

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Thami Schweichler

Working on projects of co-creativity and social venturing since 2012, Thami Schweichler is a social entrepreneur focused on design for social innovation. After obtaining a Master’s degree at ENSCI – Les Ateliers in Paris, Thami participated in the development of Koneksie, a social enterprise aiming to improve road safety and provide entrepreneurship opportunities for motorcycle taxi drivers in Kenya. At the end of 2015, Thami co-founded Makers Unite, a social enterprise producing sustainable accessories to provide employment opportunities for newcomers with a refugee background in The Netherlands. Makers Unite has be awarded the Refugee Challenge winner from UNHCR and What Design Can Do competition, as well as winner of the prizes ABN AMRO Social Entrepreneurship and EU Innovation - Amsterdamers, Maak Je Stad.

So far Makers Unite has benefited directly more than 70 newcomers in Amsterdam providing their social inclusion program and the awareness workshops of their process have been provided to more than 600 people in 5 different countries.

 

Volunteers

 

  Sujan Pariyar

Sujan Pariyar

  Praachi Badu

Praachi Badu

  Sangye Dolma Lama

Sangye Dolma Lama

  Usha Pariyar

Usha Pariyar

  Cecillia Tran

Cecillia Tran

  Molly Liu

Molly Liu

  Hamad Al Badi

Hamad Al Badi

  Sarah Khalid

Sarah Khalid

  Krystle Ongjanco

Krystle Ongjanco

Emre Turan (Photo Coming Soon)

  Josh Cope-Summerfield

Josh Cope-Summerfield