US Program Leadership

Ginna Brelsford, Executive Director

Ginna Brelsford is the Executive Director of Sahar. Ms. Brelsford brings over 20 years of experience in government, business and the non-profit world of international development. Ginna’s commitment to gender equality and access to education began with a focus on literacy in Brazil and spanned two decades of work in Russia, Latin America and Asia.

A former executive director at Pura Vida Coffee Company, Ginna is known for her ability to blend social entrepreneurial innovation with poverty eradication. She has served at the gubernatorial level as well as worked with the Russia America Foundation on a number of USAID projects promoting civil society and economic development.

A strong advocate for women’s empowerment, she authored a book on women leaders in Alaska and toured with Bono to eradicate HIV/AIDS for the One Campaign at World Vision. An explorer of frontiers, Ginna was among the first woman to ski across the Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska.

Ms. Brelsford’s diverse experiences have led her to the conclusion that education and literacy acquisition are key to poverty eradication. A lack of education is the root of many issues in the developing world, and she feels privileged to direct an organization that helps solve them by giving more girls the opportunity to learn.

Ginna Brelsford (L) with Sahar Fellow, Airokhsh Qaisary

Qxhna Titcomb, Operations Manager

Qxhna Titcomb is the Operations Manager at Sahar. She is a graduate of Tufts University, with a bachelor’s in International Relations as well as a minor in Chinese. Qxhna began working at Sahar in February of 2017. Before that she spent time running a cross-country sports showcase series to increase media devoted to women in sports.

As a young child Qxhna traveled around the globe learning languages and experiencing different cultures. In high school and college she spent time in Jordan and Morocco, respectively. This enriched her experience with foreign cultures and brought to light the fact that the world needs more cultural understanding. Qxhna has a passion for gender equity, particularly in the realm of education and sports. 

Airokhsh Qaisary, Fellow Advisor

Airokhsh Faiz Qaisary is Sahar’s first Fellow, working in our Seattle office from June 2015 to June 2016 and will continue to serve in an advisory capacity as she attends graduate school in Boston. Qaisary graduated in 2015 from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. She attended Juniata through The Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, a prestigious program that partners with leading U.S. colleges and universities to educate and provide leadership training and guidance for the next generation of women leaders in Afghanistan.

Qaisary first became involved with Sahar as an intern for the organization during the summers of 2013 and 2014 in Mazar-i-Sharif, the town in northern Afghanistan where she attended high school. Throughout her internships Qaisary visited the numerous schools Sahar has built in Balkh Province, interviewed students, took photographs, made a short film, and lent her insight to Sahar’s movements on the ground in Afghanistan.

Malahat Mazaher, Fellow

Malahat began working with Sahar as a fellow in November 2016. Before that she served as an intern at Sahar. She is from Afghanistan and came to the United States for her studies. She graduated from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, with a double major in International Affairs (IA) and Economics. In IA, she concentrated on Global Conflict and Cooperation and in Economics she has a special interest in economic development.

As a college student, she interned in various private and nonprofit organizations in Afghanistan, the United States and Switzerland, focusing on Communications & Marketing, Women’s Empowerment and a Campaign to Ban Landmines. Her professional and personal goals are to work in the field of women’s empowerment, education, economic development and democratic governance. She is fascinated by people, who carry out their noble intentions to create a safer and better world. Despite their identities and backgrounds, they work selflessly to provide opportunities for the underprivileged people around the world so that they have access to basic necessities of life. She hopes to be one of them.

Women and girl’s education has always been an issue close to her heart. As a graduate of programs that provided her with opportunities to advance her education, she intends to make similar opportunities available for other girls in Afghanistan. She believes that education is the foundation for building homes, societies and nations, and a way to connect with the rest of the world. Her bi-cultural experiences in Afghanistan and the US motivate her to strengthen ties between Americans and Afghans to promote a sense of trust, mutual respect and appreciation between the people in two countries who have more in common than often realized. She is excited to have a chance to work at Sahar and be a part of a positive change in Afghanistan.