Divya Chandra, Sahel’s Treasurer, interviewed Gita Muni, a long time supporter and donor.
Gita Muni is a life-sciences industry executive and philanthropist with an accomplished career spanning over 45 years. She is the co-founder and Executive Vice President at ROMEG Therapeutics, LLC, a privately-held specialty pharmaceutical company. Gita has been a strong supporter of Saheli for several years.
What attracted you to Saheli?
As a person of Indian origin, I grew up in the warmth and comfort of family and friends where we always helped each other. Coming to the US so far away from home, takes that away and can turn out to be challenging and isolating for many. Saheli is addressing a very important and critical need – providing support and comfort to all those who need help. Knowing that Saheli is there for so many vulnerable and isolated individuals is very reassuring. I have been in the US for close to 45 years and am very fortunate for the fulfilling professional and personal life that I had. At this stage I want to give back to my community even more and grateful that an organization like Saheli exists for me to do this.
How did you find out with Saheli?
I found out about Saheli five years ago through a friend who invited us to attend Saheli’s biennial gala- Nirbhaya. My husband and I connected with Rita Shah, Co-ED of Saheli, and learned more about Saheli’s work and services and we were very impressed. I have been contributing to Saheli’s initiative on Mother’s day, Economic Empowerment program as well as its other programs, and this has made me very happy.
What attracted you to this organization in particular?
Sadly, there is a tendency with some Asians to deny or hide a situation they are facing, sometimes for the fear of judgment in the society and sometimes for lack of knowing what to do. I would like to see a change in both of these situations. To share my personal story- our son Sheel, who is 43 years old, has special needs from a very young age. My husband and I realized very early on that we will need different kinds of interventions to help him grow into an independent adult. We sought assistance from experts – helped him through school and later acquired a special degree in cooking from the Massachusetts Community College.
He greatly benefited from Communitas, an organization committed to supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Today he has a cooking job with Winchester Hospital and I am very proud and pleased that he has an independent life and interests of his own.
Therefore, we need to understand that challenges don’t go away on their own and that we need to face them head on. If a person or a family member needs help, then please accept the situation and seek all the help you can get. Saheli’s services are free and confidential so my appeal to people facing abusive situations is to please reach out to Saheli.
What has motivated you to stay involved?
As I said, driven by my personal story, I have a keen interest in contributing towards child and youth development. There is evidence based on scientific research that direct or indirect exposure to domestic violence has adverse short and long-term effects on children. I would really be interested to support interventions that are critical for this segment of the population.
Are there any other ways that you would like to be involved with Saheli? What do you hope the organization will achieve in the near future? In the long term?
I believe in Saheli’s dream of having its own shelter one day. Being able to provide a roof over the heads of so many women at a difficult time in their lives when they have nowhere to go is unmatched. I also aspire to see Saheli become more visible in the community- no one in the community should suffer and, worse still, suffer alone. I would love to work with Saheli to spread awareness of its services in the community.
About Divya Chandra
Divya Chandra, Saheli’s mission-driven Treasurer, aspires that every domestic violence survivor is financially empowered as they move beyond Saheli’s care ready to embrace their future. Divya has extensive finance and accounting experience globally with multinationals and she has been keenly implementing that knowledge within Saheli. A Master of Finance graduate from Tufts University and a Chartered Accountant from India, Divya lives with her young son and husband in Waltham.