Maria S Santamaria

CEO and Founder

A special educator by profession, Maria Santamaria (kown as Sarah), started by teaching at a school for children with special needs in Mumbai. A Masters in Special Education in the Cardinal Stritch College, Milwaukee, and work experience in job coaching uniquely equipped her to start a Vocational Training Centre for differently-abled adults and led to her founding the Diya Foundation in 1999.

Gerald D’Souza


A graduate in Philosophy and a post – graduate in Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations, he has handled all aspects of the human resources during a career spanning over three decades.

Col. Michael Angelo


Commissioned into the Parachute Regiment in 1971, retired from active service in 2005, joined Reliance Retail as their Admin Head for Karnataka for a period of three years, now on the Board of Diya Foundation as a Trustee.

Marguerita Lobo

Managing Trustee

A trained special educator, Marguerita has a long history of teaching differently-abled and underprivileged children. She has also conducted many awareness programmes in schools and teacher’s training institutes.

Now on the board of trustees at Diya Foundation, she also helps with the structure and execution of our training programs.

Mary Thomas

Social Worker

With almost 35 years of experience in the field of Social work Mary joined Diya in June 2008 and has been a valuable addition to the Diya family. Her indomitable spirit and high energy levels, her compassionate and caring nature are qualities that inspire us all at Diya.

Shirley Metline

Program Coordinator

Shirley has been with Diya since 2000. Her passion to make a difference in the students she works with and her love for Diya are two qualities that make her indispensable. Her commitment, love and passion make her one of the most loved and needed staff at Diya. She has seen our students transform from dependent and needy adults to self dependent and mature adults.

Arun Kumar N

Life Skill Trainer

Arun, an electrician by profession but wheel chair bound since an accident on the job joined Diya in 2007. His commitment and desire to make a difference makes him a wonderful team member and a very important part of the Diya family.

Raju N

Employability Skills Trainer

Raju, a spinal cord injured young man has been with Diya since 2004. His determination and commitment to be a part of every activity and sense of enjoyment makes him a valuable part of the Diya family. His fun loving nature makes it fun for the students to work with him.

Raghu A

Employability Skills Trainer

Raghu has been an inspiration with his fine sense of quality and perfection in every product he works on. Getting over his accident and reaching a stage where he is able to think of others instead of his accident has been a journey of discovery and learning and our trainees benefit from his sense of perfection and quality.



Esther is the housekeeper at Diya, charged with maintaining the hygiene and cleanliness of the Diya premises. She joined us in 2013 and has proved a diligent and caring member of the staff, ready to pitch in and help with the trainees when needed.

Dr. Babita Gupta

Rehabilitation Psychologist

Dr. Babita has a Masters in Social Sciences (Psychology) and a PhD in Psychology. She works with our beneficiaries and their families on being appreciative, building up self-confidence and achieving job readiness skills for the future. Beneficiaries have really benefited from the individual and group sessions.


Life Skill Trainer

Padma is a new addition to the Diya Staff force. She is a life skill trainer working on building the beneficiaries on self dependence and teaching them new skills to cope with activities of daily living. A quick learner she is a good addition to the staff team.


Life Skill Trainer

Reena has just joined the Diya Staff. She has a diploma in Care taking and is a committed and hard worker. As a life skill trainer she too is working on building the capacity of each beneficiary under her in life skills and employability skills.