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Giselle Meza / Founder-President
Giselle Meza, an active humanitarian, survivor of Human Trafficking, and former top model, witnessed the exploitation and injustice happening to women and children around the world while traveling extensively to over 58 countries on assignment. Moved with compassion for the victims of injustice that she met, Giselle founded Puresa Humanitarian, a non-profit 501c3 charitable organization with the mission to rescue and save lives, to provide a tangible solution and a realistic rescue for victims of Human Trafficking, to rescue, restore, provide safe homes for innocent children who were trafficked and sold into a life of forced slavery and bondage, and to empower rescued women by creating opportunity for self-sustainability, to make a difference in these women’s and children’s lives.
Giselle’s personal life experiences as a child; a Human Trafficking victim and survivor, tricked & trafficked at the age of 14 years old when she moved to the US from Costa Rica, escaped and survived, have fueled her passion and devotion for her humanitarian work and created a very personal life-long mission to rescue and restore innocent victims around the world who have been exploited, trafficked, and enslaved.
Giselle knows that only by God’s Grace was she able to escape and survive. She has dedicated her life through Puresa Humanitarian to reaching, rescuing, and creating new pathways and a way out from slavery that other victims and survivors may now have hope and a future and live the life that God intended for them.
Ana L. Meza / Project Coordinator
Ana L. Meza has been an interior designer for 30 years, an entrepreneur with an extensive retail background, and a humanitarian volunteer in Costa Rica for many years where she lived part of her childhood and young adulthood, advocating for women and children in need in Central America, and witnessing the tremendous injustice of sexual slavery.
Ana has a passion to empower women with love and dignity, she is a mother of three and a grandmother, and is no stranger to adversity herself.
It was only natural for her to join forces with her sister, Giselle Meza, founder of Puresa Humanitarian to fight the injustice of human trafficking by utilizing her expertise to help reach those in need worldwide and to empower rescued women with skills training, opportunity, and employment to help women escape poverty and help break the cycle of human exploitation.
Ms. Ana L Meza is currently Project Coordinator in the US for Puresa Humanitarian as her sister works on the front lines.
OUR BOARD MEMBERS
Nadine Wolff has been teaching yoga since 2009. She is a member of the Yoga Alliance National Teacher’s Registry at the 500 RYT, 200 ERYT level.Nadine is a leader at “Off The Mat and Into The World” or OTM, which was founded by Seane Corn, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling. She joined the OTM Seva Challenge India in 2012, to raise funds and awareness about the sex trafficking crisis in India and worldwide, she traveled to India with OTM to experienced it first hand.
That experience has left and indelible imprint on Nadine’s heart and inspired her to do something ongoing for the sex trafficking crisis. Her line of yoga inspired jewelry was born called “Karmic Jewels By Nadine, Good Deeds Wearing Beads." Nadine simultaneously co founded One Love Long Island (OLLI) in 2012, which is a collaborative yearly event to raise awareness concerning social and human injustice, uniting yoga studios and their communities from across Long Island to raise funds and awareness concerning the human trafficking epidemic. Nadine has returned to India annually and continues to dedicate her time and resources in an effort to end this scourge against humanity.
“I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to have been invited onto the board of Puresa Humanitarian. No human being should ever be for sale and I will continue to raise funds and awareness around this insidious crime against humanity in an authentic and meaningful way. I will work tirelessly to be a voice for those whose basic rights have been denied to them, and do whatever it may take to help empower these sweet innocent victims, so they may live out the rest of their lives with dignity and respect.”
Dr. David Gandell
Dr. Gandell completed his undergraduate education at Northwestern University and received his Medical Degree from Rush Medical College. His residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology was served at Strong Memorial Hospital and the University of Rochester’s associated hospitals. Dr. Gandell is a Board Certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist, and is a Fellow in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is currently in private practice in Rochester, N.Y., with Rochester Gynecologic and Obstetric Associates, P.C. He also holds the position of Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester and has been a medical consultant to the Rape Crisis Service. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Children Awaiting Parents, an adoption agency for difficult to place children. Dr. Gandell was also a co-founder of the Parallel support group for pregnancy loss. He has been an innovator in bringing new gynecologic techniques to the upstate New York area, pioneering a number of innovative surgical techniques. He was the first in Rochester to remove an ectopic pregnancy via the laparoscope, an early advocate for ending the routine use of episiotomy in childbirth, the first to use the Filshie clip for sterilization, first to use local anesthesia for circumcisions, first to introduce the technique of local anesthesia in incisions for post-operative relief, and an expert in teaching minimally invasive surgery including minilaparotomy approaches. Dr. Gandell has special interests in family planning and contraception, high-risk pregnancies and pregnancy loss, infertility treatment, sexually transmitted diseases, menopause, menstrual problems, sexuality issues, and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). Most recently, he became the first provider in Western NY to offer the MonaLisa Touch Laser therapy for non-hormonal treatment of vulvovaginal atrophy of menopause. He also was instrumental in negotiating and developing protocols that allowed fathers to attend cesarean section deliveries, and continues to advocate on behalf of patient-centered obstetrical care. He provides active input into the development of hospital protocols, policies, and surgical consents, and participates in medical society and insurance company panels that develop community care guidelines.
In addition to teaching medical students and residents in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology, he also lectures nationally on a variety of women’s health care issues. Dr. Gandell is also active in legislative advocacy at a local, state, and national level. Through his involvement with Puresa, he is looking forward to also having an impact on the scourge of human trafficking and sexual slavery at an international level.
“Having gone to West Bengal, India and seen first-hand women and girls trapped in sexual slavery was an emotionally challenging experience. I cannot unsee what I have witnessed, and I cannot hide from my moral responsibility to help where I can. The magnitude of the evil being done to so many children and women seems overwhelming, yet each of the girls and women that have been saved by Puresa and given an opportunity for a full, safe and autonomous life is a gift, and a beacon of light in the darkness. As a life-long advocate for women, as a husband and as a father of 4 wonderful daughters (plus an amazing son), I am grateful to work with Giselle Meza and her team and to be a part of this vital mission.”
Rev. Dahn Dean Gandell
The Rev. Dahn Dean Gandell was born in New Orleans, LA and raised all along the Gulf Coast. She completed her undergraduate education at Vanderbilt University, received a Masters of Science in Religion with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Mobile, and a Masters in Divinity from Yale Divinity School. Originally ordained in the Southern Baptist Church in 1991, she found her way to the Episcopal Church in 1994 and was ordained to the priesthood on October 31, 1998. She is canonically resident in the Diocese of Rochester. She has served on diocesan council and is currently a member of the Commission on Ministry. In 2018 she was elected for a three year term as President of Province II of the Episcopal Church. Dahn was installed as Rector of Church of the Ascension, Rochester, on May 14, 2015 and is thoroughly enjoying this call after serving as Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Honeoye Falls, for thirteen years. Dahn has been actively supporting anti-trafficking initiatives both locally and globally for the past ten years. She has had the privilege of witnessing first-hand the amazing work of Puresa Humanitarian and has visited different Puresa sponsored centers in India the past three years. Dahn has been married for 22 years to Dr. David Gandell, an Ob-Gyn, and is step mother to Rachel (33) Ryan (31) and mother to Lily (20) Hannah (19) and Madie (18.) A 500-hour certified Baptiste Yoga instructor, her passions also include cooking, reading, scuba diving, travel, and spending time with family and friends. And she has performed stand-up comedy.
NADIA TOMASI, PA
Nadia Tomasi is a Physician Assistant, born in Italy and raised in New York. She began her career in health care as a Physician Assistant in Surgery as she always dreamt to make a difference and help others. Nadia initially met Giselle Meza and Nadine Wolff at the One Love Long Island Yoga Festival where she quickly became inspired by Giselle and her story along with the work Puresa Humanitarian has done. She has a passion for exploring the world and traveling with a purpose therefore in February 2019, Nadia traveled to India on the Puresa Yoga and Service trip and witnessed first hand the dynamics and injustice of sex trafficking and the positive impact Puresa Humanitarian has made. She worked closely with Dr. Gandell in India to bring health care services to women and children in need, which only solidified her intentions to assist Puresa Humanitarian to reach, rescue, and create new opportunities for victims of sex slavery.
“I am extremely grateful to have been asked to be on the board of Puresa Humanitarian. To be part of such an amazing charitable organization with so many inspiring people and survivors is an honor. Being able to meet some of the many survivors of sex trafficking while in India has taught me how prevalent sex trafficking is yet how little awareness there is to the topic. I will walk side by side with Puresa Humanitarian and will strive for this change and be the voice that these victims need.”
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Founder of the world renowned Anushka Spa joins forces with Puresa Humanitarian to help rescue children’s lives from human trafficking and slavery. Having an acute business sense, Anushka Blau founded the original Anushka Spa and Cellulite Clinic in New York City in 1972. The spa opened its first doors in Florida in 2001, and the West Palm Beach location has been a worldwide destination since 2007. For more than 40 years, Blau, whose expertise is in body contouring and cellulite, has been a featured educational source for beauty, health and wellness in every major U.S. magazine as well as with international media and television programs.
Blau is an advocate of helping others achieve their utmost greatest potential. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Blau was raised to have a strong sense of family and belief in herself. Confidence in oneself carried over into raising her two daughters, and then has touched the lives of many children impacted through her charity work.
Since 2007 she has volunteered with Urban Youth Impact, which provides counseling, educational and health services to at risk children and families. She is on the committee to help organize their annual charity auction, dinner and golf tournament. In 2013, she joined the board of Puresa Humanitarian, a non-profit organization dedicated to the eradication of sexual human trafficking. With perseverance and dedication Anushka Blau helps to encourage those she encounters to reach their ultimate goals.