Nadiah Mohajir is the Founder and Executive Director for HEART Women & Girls. For the last seven years, she has led the organization to provide health education programming to over 5000 Muslim women and girls in the Chicagoland area as well as cities across the country, breaking many cultural barriers and raising awareness about important issues such as sexual and reproductive health, sexual violence and media literacy.
She has worked in healthcare for over ten years in a variety of settings, including, but not limited to research, academics, policy, and community health. In the past, she was a consultant for the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, working on a variety of different projects focusing on minority health in the Midwest.
Prior to her work at OWH, Nadiah worked on a research project focusing on improving pregnancy outcomes of low-income Chicago women. Nadiah earned her Masters degree in Public Health in 2009 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago. Nadiah has also participated in a number of fellowships, including the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute and most recently, the Germanacos Fellowship. She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Women’s Health Network.
Nadiah lives in Chicago with her three children and husband.
Sameera is an Occupational Therapist who earned her MS degree from Tufts University in Boston, MA. From 2011 – 2016, Sameera worked in Calgary, Canada to develop and run Islamic sexual health curricula in Islamic schools, mosques, and for professionals working with Muslims. Sameera has been working with HEART Women and Girls since 2012 to facilitate sexual health education initiatives within Muslim communities across Canada. Her areas of interest are in curriculum and program development, community needs assessments, facilitation of trainings with adults and youth, and supporting institutions in creating policies and procedures regarding sexual violence. Sameera currently lives in Washington, D.C. where she is starting to collaborate with D.C-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) area organizations to address sexual health education and sexual violence prevention. She also maintains a blog called “Muslim Sistah” and can be found on Twitter @muslimsistah.
Sahar Pirzada joined our team from Singapore while she was working for a sexual health awareness organization named AWARE. She currently serves as our Lead Educator & Trainer on the West Coast. She obtained her B.A in Development Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. Her role is to create sexual health programming and sexual violence awareness targeting American Muslim youth.
As HEART’s first staff member, Sarah has been with HEART since 2011. She has facilitated numerous workshops with many young middle school and high school girls on topics such as media literacy, self-esteem and sexual violence awareness. She is trained as a sexual violence advocate and contributed to Let’s Talk about Sex (Education): A Guide to Effective Programming for Muslim Youth – a culturally sensitive toolkit for educators and adult allies. Sarah has a background in Psychology and Education, and is currently a designer of learning by morning, and a raiser of awareness by night.
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Current Board of Directors
Nadiah Mohajir, President
Wajiha Akhter-Khalil, PhD
Jessica Athens, PhD
Past Board Members
Ayesha Akhtar, Co-founder & Treasurer, 2011 – 2013
Jameela Jafri, 2011-2012
Ihssan Tahir, 2014
Caitlin Ajax, 2014-2015
Samar Kaukab 2013-2017
Jenan Mohajir 2010-2017
Samirah Abd-Allah 2010-2017
Thank you to our Funders:
Chicago Foundation for Women
Raliance, at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Afzal Family Foundation
Brown Family Foundation
SABA North America Foundation
Pillars Fund, a donor advised fund from the Chicago Community Trust
Office on Womens Health, DHHS
Muslim Youth Project at Advocates for Youth
One Chicago, One nation, a donor advised fund from the Chicago Community Trust