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Our Team

All of our dedicated Board of Directors are volunteers who have served in San Diego's Afghan community project since the onset of the resettlement crisis in August 2021.  Our non-profit 501(c)3 application filing has been initiated with the Internal Revenue Services to allow us to soon be a tax exempt organization.  

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PRESIDENT

Yama Meerzada

Yama is a graduate of Masters in Health Law and Policy, a joint degree from UCSD and California Western School of Law. He is a professional with a progressively expansive background in philanthropy, health care, research, training and capacity development, curriculum development and Telehealth services.
 

He has worked with both national and international non-profit organizations, such as the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, SDSU, and SDARAG.

Yama loves to serve his community through community led efforts. He is the founder and current President of SDARAG. Yama's goal is to uplift the underserved minority population in San Diego through community-based programs, and empower them to become successful members of society. He loves to hike, play volleyball, and spend quality time with his wife and daughter.

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SECRETARY

Zulaikha Rahim

Zulaikha was born in New York and has been in San Diego for the past 35+ years. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Cal State San Marcos.  Currently she is a Marketing Supervisor focusing on cybersecurity marketing activities.

Her family migrated from Afghanistan in the 1980’s.  With the onset of the U.S. withdrawal in 2021 she felt the need to provide some sort of assistance to those new incoming refugees.

Zulaikha is so happy and thankful about the formation of such an amazing support group such as SDARAG. She hopes that we can continue to grow the group, broadening our outreach within our community to further assist newly arriving Afghan refugees.

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BOARD MEMBER

Hossai Amir

Hossai is a Dental Hygienist and has a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from Loma Linda University.


Hossai, at age 16, left everything behind in Afghanistan and started a new life.  Her mother is her inspiration for community development as she is a former UNHCR employee. She has three kids who also enjoy community service.
 

Hossai considers herself blessed to have been working with highly motivated and God loving individuals. She has volunteered with different masjids, interfaith groups, churches, and community health centers to serve the underserved. 


She likes to be reminded:

 “Indeed, this Qur'an guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.” (Quran 17:9)

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BOARD MEMBER

Mariam Yaqubi

Mariam Yaqubi is from Kabul Afghanistan and has been a Refugee since 1996.

 

Throughout the years, she has been moving from one country to another. She is blessed to settle in the beautiful city of San Diego. Mariam has graduated from UCSD and currently pursuing her Master’s in Behavioral Therapy.

 

Mariam's passion to happiness is to help the most vulnerable. In the past, she has done donation drives for the homeless as well as volunteer work for many non-profit organizations.

 

Her vision for SDARAG is to encourage and educate Afghan Refugees, especially the children about the importance of seeking knowledge and being educated in America. I truly believe that education is the backbone of advancement and moving forward in a society.

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BOARD MEMBER

Waheeda Noor

Waheeda is married and has two kids. She has a Bachelor degree from California State University of East Bay and currently working for a financial firm. Her family left Afghanistan in 1988 and arrived in the United States in 1990.

Every time Waheeda helps a refugee family, she sees herself in them. A nine year old coming to a new country, who doesn't speak the language or understand the culture.  She shares her story with the families and assures them that everything will be okay.

Being a part of the SDARAG, Waheeda hopes to help as many refugee families as possible by  giving them comfort and support. She wishes to build long lasting friendships and see those refugee youth succeed and have a bright future. 

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BOARD MEMBER

Ahmad Zohaib Sayar

Ahmad Zohaib Sayar was born and raised in Afghanistan and moved to the United State in November 2019 as a refugee. He has worked with multiple U.S. based organizations in Kabul, Afghanistan. Currently, he is living in the beautiful city of San Diego, and working at the San Diego County, Health & Human Services Agency while pursuing his academic career on the side. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and has extensive work experience in the field of procurement and administration. 

 

“As a refugee, it’s hard to start everything from scratch, but so-far in the last couple of years I did it, and now I feel proud to be here with my other Afghan Refugees.”

 

He is passionate about helping people specially our newly arrived Afghan Refugees who arrived here with nothing. He is proud to be a part of an amazing team at SDARA Group. He is committed to support the team and help pursue its mission and vision and help people to have a better quality of life. 

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BOARD ADVISOR

Abdullah Tahiri

Abdullah has over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector and over two decades of experience in the financial industry. He has his Master of Fine Arts degree from Chapman University and his advanced leadership certifications from USC (University of Southern California - 2007) and Cornell University (2020). 


Currently, Abdullah is Board President for Tri-City Islamic Center in Vista and has a passion for serving others.

He lives in San Marcos with his wife and four children and is an avid reader. In his spare time, he loves playing billiard and enjoys hiking.