Erin Zaikis is the Founder of Sundara. Raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts, she graduated from the University of Michigan's Gerald Ford School of Public Policy. Erin has lived in India, Thailand, Israel and New York before making the Upper West Side in NYC her home.
She is an avid rap fan, blogs about Asian desserts and hangs out with her cockapoo Yoshi in her free time. Her favorite part of working at Sundara is feeling connected to people around the world who are trying to make their communities healthier and safer.
She is a Forbes 30 Under 30 (Social Impact - 2018), has been recognized by the Huffington Post, ONE, CNN, BBC and the Clean India campaign and has spoken at universities and conferences across the US and Canada, including a Tedx talk.
“Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. Soap and hand washing education attracted me because of its simplicity. It’s low cost, low technology and incredibly effective. I hope more people can understand the importance of this basic necessity for children all over the world.”
Michelle Fusco is the Executive Director of Sundara. Originally from Toronto, Canada she comes to Sundara with a Postgraduate degree in International Development and an Honours BA in Global Studies and Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University.
She brings 8 years of experience in nonprofits and international development, having previously worked in South Africa, El Salvador, and Nepal. The highlight of her time with Sundara is spending time with our hygiene ambassadors on the ground. She has spent extensive time at Sundara's India and Uganda operations, deepening her connection to and understanding of the complex issues faced in each community.
Michelle enjoys rollerblading, lifting heavy objects at the gym, and soaking up the sun any chance she gets.
Meet our team
Kenneth is the Director of Sundara India. Based out of Mumbai, Kenneth comes to Sundara with decades of experience in Indian e-learning and non-profits. He has spearheaded the inauguration of all 3 soap recycling workshops in India and oversees daily operations in the field. Kenneth communicates with high level partners nationally and internationally to expand and strengthen Sundara’s impact within each community and across India.
VISMITA RAO BARRETTO
Project Officer India
Vismita comes to Sundara as our Indian Project Officer with a Bachelor of Commerce. Her extroverted personality shines as she coordinates with all of our hospitality partners across India and interacts with our Hygiene Ambassadors in Kalwa, Ashte, Palghar and Pune on a daily basis to collect quantitative and qualitative data-- helping us to provide you with ongoing updates straight from the field.
Hygiene Campaign Coordinator
Brenda, a Business Management graduate in Human Resources, coordinates the delivery of soap and of our Hygiene Education Programs across schools in the communities served by our Kalwa, Ashte, Pune and Palghar soap recycling centers. She ensures that the education promoted by our Sundara Hygiene Angels is impactful and will engage the communities in adopting good hygiene habits for a better health.
Director of Operations
Ali currently resides in New York City and is a Program Manager working in evaluation and research for emergency response programs at the International Rescue Committee. Previously, Ali studied Arabic, Economics and Public Health at the George Washington University in Washington DC, and has WASH and research field experience in Myanmar, the Middle East and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Her passion for travel combined with her desire for a cleaner and healthier world is one of the many reasons why she is so happy to be a part of the Sundara Team!
Maura, originally from Central New York, has spent the past seven years working in the Jewish Non-profit space in the NYC area. She discovered Sundara on a recent trip to India with JDC Entwine and fell in love with the organization and its mission. Serendipity brought Maura and Erin together at a Burmese Restaurant in Mumbai and the rest is history. Maura brings her excitement and "Hype-girl" mentality to the Sundara team and is proud to share the lifechanging work Sundara is doing all over the world.
Sheetal is Sundara India's program assistant. She supervises soap collections and distributions, manages travel and oversees all administrative work and record keeping in our India offices. Sheetal's favorite part of working at Sundara is seeing the children in Ashte village when she accompanies staff for hygiene trainings.