We are a community of advocates

Our board works on a 100% voluntary basis so that your donation goes to the people who need you most.

We are a team of dreamers, hoping to change the world through equitable access to healthcare and education for the world's most vulnerable.

Uzma Bawany

Founder and Executive

For Uzma, no challenge is too big and no need too small, her goal is to ensure our adopted communities can break the chains of generational poverty. She founded Thaakat Foundation in 2007 with hopes that she could encourage students and young professionals to consider their ability to make an impact for those in need around the world.

Uzma Bawany graduated from DePaul University with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and from Lewis University with an MBA. Apart from Thaakat, she works full time as Head of US Customer Experience at Zoetis.

Nudrat Zoha

Chief Operating

Nudrat Zoha received her Master’s in Journalism from Depaul University and is currently pursuing a full-time career in Digital Strategy. She joined Thaakat in 2010 while doing her undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She started as a Social Media Manager for Thaakat and in 2014, she took on the role of Director of Global projects, working with her team and project managers around the world to help address community needs and how Thaakat can help. Currently, Nudrat is the Chief Operating Officer for Thaakat Foundation and oversees many different tasks and responsibilities that help Thaakat continue it’s mission, with the help of our supporters.

Priyanka Patel

Global Projects

Priyanka graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BS in Chemistry and Psychology. She is currently a a medical student at St. George’s University. On her first day of undergrad, she was introduced to Thaakat Foundation and immediately fell in love with the mission of empowering and inspiring charitable work. Thaakat was different in the sense that she felt connected to the people and the community through the Facebook, Instagram, and GroupMe posts. If her team fundraised $300 from a Crepe Sale, she knew that it was going towards something like creating public bathrooms for the community members in Sierra Leone. Since working with Healthcare Without Borders in Sierra Leone, she has realized her passion for maternal and child health. “I hope that as an Ob/Gyn, I can work to combat the rising maternal and child mortality rate by providing individuals with the access and education they need to take control of their health.”

Reema Patel

Global Projects

Reema Patel graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Masters in Bioengineering. She is currently a medical student in Clearwater, Florida. She is passionate about improving children’s education and literacy in impoverished areas and believes that Thaaket embodies her values and beliefs about equality of education and healthcare for everyone. Reema has been volunteering with Boys and Girls Club for over 4 years now and continues to look for opportunities to help children reach their potential. Reema chose to become a part of the Thaakat team because of the direct impact she saw the organization made in local communities globally.

Puneet Soni

Special Projects

Puneet is a MBA graduate from Roosevelt University where he focused on Public Admin and Policy and received a Bachelor’s from University of Illinois where he studied health science. Puneet has been involved in leading a medical brigade overseas to help the people of Panama and has led youth Tedx talks to help push the path for education and health in third-world countries. He is passionate about helping build new schools and provide medical help to those in need. Puneet crossed paths with Thaakat while joining the team for the annual charity basketball tournament and wanted to make a real impact helping. Currently, Puneet supports special projects on global sites and serves as one of the leads on the basketball tournament. 

Sufyan Barkat

Director of Funding &

Sufyan is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago and received a BS in Physics and BS in Bio-Chemistry. Though technology is his expertise, he felt compelled to be involved somewhere where he could lend his care, services, and time to improve the world.  He’s in charge of helping us to grow our existing donor base so that we can support our growing projects and develop a sustainable plan for the future.

Outside of Thaakat, Sufyan works as a Systems Engineer at Cisco Systems.  He uses technology to help customers transform their business and to help them achieve aggressive business goals.

Aysha Qamar

Campus Liason /
Social Media

Aysha Qamar received her Master’s in Political Science: Global Policy and Sustainable Development from Rutgers University. She is a writer, poet, and advocate based in the tri-state area. While Aysha’s work can be found in various publications, she is a full-time trending news and politics writer for Daily Kos. Common themes in her work include advocating for immigration reform, gender parity, language access, and cultural competency. She also has extensive experience working with state officials and grassroots organizations on addressing issues of violence against women and language access. Aysha is a part of the Social Media Team and currently serves as a Content Curator. She is a strong advocate for gender equality and education and reflects that passion in her work with Thaakat Foundation.

Pooja Sonikar

Global Statistics & Public
Health Lead

Pooja graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Physiology. She is currently an ORISE Research Fellow with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on the COVID-19 response. As an aspiring physician, Pooja is passionate about empowering patients to take charge of their health and improving access to quality care. She decided to join the Thaakat Foundation because she was inspired by the team’s commitment to improving global health and education and hopes to implement public health practices into existing and future projects.

Fun Fact: Pooja is an ordained minister and has a twin brother.

Upesh Desai

CRM & Annual
Tournament Lead

Upesh graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. He currently works as a Software Developer for ITRS Group. Upesh joined Thaakat Foundation as a volunteer post-grad and became involved with the organization after volunteering at the annual Feed the Need Basketball Tournament. He felt the passion and selflessness that all the members had for helping out those in need, and wanted to be a part of a team like that. From there, he has been helping out with other technical projects such as automating CRM practices and organizing finances for the organization.

Fun Fact: Upesh loves to golf!

Saad Bawany

Program Manager /
Annual Events

Saad Bawany received a Master’s degree in School Finance from Northern Illinois University and obtained his CSBO endorsement. He also has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Since the beginning of his career, he has always been tied to the business side of the Education sector. He went from auditing school districts to working as an Administrator for one; and now works for a software company that assists the public sector in all their financing needs. He developed a passion for helping the less fortunate get a fair opportunity with education and grow their communities. He has been volunteering with Thaakat since its inception, however, he accepted a more defining role when the annual basketball tournament became the staple fundraiser in 2010. Today, Saad manages the start to finish leadership and planning of our annual Feed the Need Basketball Tournament in Chicago, IL. 

Amani Memon

Fundraising & Development

Amani Memon received a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a minor in Chemistry and completed her Doctorate of Pharmacy. Amani became involved in Thaakat because she felt it embodied everything she believed in; kindness towards others, compassionate giving, and helping those who are unable under various circumstances. For her, Thaakat is the first of many steps towards being the change she wants to see in the world. Today, Amani has built a network and relationships which have helped our DREAMS for Kachra Kundi school grow and thrive in the face of challenge.

Aqsa Bawany

Sponsorship &

Aqsa is a part of our Sponsorship and Events team. Aqsa started her journey with Thaakat when it was first established, working for many years as a volunteer and then as her campus chapter’s founder and president. She knew she wanted to take on a board role because Thaakat had always been a part of who she was. Aqsa also enjoys mentoring and advising incoming chapter leads and volunteers. 

 Professionally, Aqsa works as a behavioral therapist with Autistic children.

Megha Karnam

Fundraising & Development

Service has always been a part of my life, and when I joined Rutgers my freshman year I was looking forward to finding a service organization that I fit into. I applied to Thaakat because of a speech I heard given by the board members.A reason I was so happy to get onto board is because the genuine care and love for serving others that they conveyed was what I found in every member on the team. I had the opportunity to raise funds and see how we were making and impact and am glad I get to continue to be involved today. Currently I am a Patient care Coordinator at Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan and wish to pursue a Physician’s Assistant Masters in the future.