American India Foundation’s Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative

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American India Foundation
Image: aif.org

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in textile design from Philadelphia University, Asha Pabla worked for more than a decade as a designer and quality control specialist in the fashion industry. Beyond her professional pursuits, Asha Pabla is a member of the board of directors of the American India Foundation (AIF).

Established in 2001 as a platform for philanthropic efforts in India, AIF has since affected the lives of more than 3.1 million citizens of the country. One of the prominent programs of AIF is its Maternal and Newborn Survival Initiative (MANSI), which was created to reduce child and maternal mortality rates in impoverished rural areas.

According to UNICEF, Indian women comprise nearly one-quarter of all maternal deaths in the world. Less than half of the country’s mothers deliver their children in healthy environments, such as hospitals.

MANSI aims to fix this disturbing trend by providing curative and preventative care for newborns and mothers through improved access to government-funded health facilities. The initiative’s primary focus is in Jharkhand, a landlocked state in which dense forests restrict access to healthcare facilities. In an effort to establish peer-based community care, villages in the region are equipped with trained community health workers who not only assist with home-based care but also educate families on positive health behaviors.

AIF Program Promotes Understanding and Involvement among Students

American India Foundation pic
American India Foundation
Image: aif.org

Former Liz Claiborne fashion designer Asha Pabla possesses years of experience in garment design, quality control, and fabric sourcing. Outside of the fashion industry, Asha Pabla serves on the board of directors of the American India Foundation (AIF).

In its efforts to promote economic and social change in India, the AIF maintains numerous programs, including the Youth Ambassador Program. The program focuses on establishing a bridge between the United States and India by exposing US high school students to conditions in India.

The Youth Ambassador Program gives American students the opportunity to visit communities in India and interact with the country’s private sector and schools. During their time in India, US students participate in a service-learning curriculum designed by the AIF and work in hands-on activities offered through AIF’s partnership with the Frugal Innovation Lab at the Santa Clara University School of Engineering. Through first-hand experience, American students develop an understanding of the economic, environmental, and social challenges that Indian communities face.

SAYA Helps High School Students Hurdle College Applications

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SAYA
Image: SAYA.org

After receiving a degree from the Parsons School of Design, Asha Pabla found a job as a fashion designer for Liz Claiborne. She has also served as a manager for fabric and textiles at New York fabrics manufacturer Pressman Gutman. As a successful professional of South Asian descent, Asha Pabla actively supports the youth of her own heritage through South Asian Youth Action (SAYA).

Since its inception in 1996, SAYA has been operating a New York-based youth development program that aims to help young people thrive academically, professionally, and personally in today’s world. What started as a small afterschool program for South Asian youth in Queens eventually grew to become a citywide project that incorporates a holistic approach to providing youth support.

At the core of SAYA’s programs is academic support to high school students. To be fully prepared for college, SAYA youth receive free individual tutoring and college advisement. Moreover, students can attend classes that will help them prepare for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). On top of these, SAYA assists students in completing college applications, personal statements, and financial aid forms.