Our Board

Maria S Santamaria
CEO and Founder

A special educator by profession, Maria Santamaria (known 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.

Marguerita Lobo
Managing Trustee

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

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

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 and brings this expertise to the Diya Board.

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 brings his experience and expertise in Administration to the Board of Diya Foundation as a Trustee.

Our Staff

B. Preethi Meena
Program Coordinator

Preethi has a Masters in Social Work from Kristu Jayanti College, Bengaluru. With her ability to quickly absorb information and implement ideas, she fulfills her responsibility of ensuring that every student goes through the training building a productive mindset to be a contributing member of society.

Shirley Metline
Coordinator - Life Skills Training

Shirley's optimistic outlook and her passion to make a difference in the lives of the students are what make her a valued member of the Diya family. She coordinates the Life skills training program and works with trainees to ensure that they learn the skills and competencies required to be productive members of society.

Dr. Babita Gupta
Coordinator - Personal Social skills Training and Counselling

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

Coordinator- Employability skills training

Jerusha has a master's degree in Psychology from Montfort, Bengaluru. She plans Employability goals, organizes lessons, and monitors the advancement of her students. She makes sure that they develop all the skills they will need to face challenges ahead. Her excellent knowledge of technology and undying support makes her a treasured member of the team.

Coordinator - Livelihood and Employment

Padma works towards building our beneficiaries on self-dependence by teaching them new employable skills. She implements and ensures that the livelihood activities run systematically with our project partners. She also conducts capacity-building workshops for parents and shares the best practices in the hope of creating new career opportunities.

Akshay Kadam
Manager - Short term courses and NGO capacity building

Akshay manages the short-term courses such as cooking, digitization, and financial literacy and collaborates with like-minded organizations for innovative and sharing best practices. His writing skills, and communication with peers and partners NGOs make him a valuable resource to the Diya team.

Deepika R

Deepika has been with Diya since August 2017 and has a Masters in Social Work. Her skills in planning, reporting and organizing in great detail make her a great asset to the Diya team and a great support to her team members and the Diya Board.

Arun Kumar N
Person Centered Trainer

Arun has been working with Diya since 2007. He conducts classes and interacts with the students to help them build on their self-confidence and develop employable skills that they will require in the future. He is an extremely committed person who has a keen desire to make a difference and is a greatly valued team member.

Danita Pearl
Person Centered Trainer

Danita holds a Bachelors and Masters in social work specializing in Community development.Currently, she handles the person centered training for adults with intellectual challenges, assists in livelihood training and conducts Digitization short term course. Her dedication towards disability sector and empathetic nature makes her a valued member of Diya team.

Person Centered Trainer

Reena has just joined the Diya Staff. She has a diploma in Care taking and is a committed and hard worker.

As a person centered trainer she too is working on building the capacity of each beneficiary under her in life skills and employability skills. She trains students on AVAZ - a software that used for communications.

Shilpashree B Iyengar

After graduated from Diya's program, Shilpa joined our team as an Office Assistant in the year 2021. She completed nine months internship as a Finance Project Coordinator in one of the Corporate Firm. Currently, she handles office, admissions and supplies management.


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