The Birth of Monsoon
After their divorce, Mira decided to move back to Des Moines. After working at a Law firm, Mira decided that she could do what they did, so Mira went back to school at Drake. During her marriage, Mira had had a child, so this new dependence influenced many of her decisions. Mira graduated in three years with a history degree. She describes herself as a turtle, because even though she does not always move quickly, she gets where she wants to go. While at Drake, Mira interned with a group called CASA which is an agency that works against sexual assault. Mira began her own section of the organization by devoting her time to helping other Asian women. Mira describes this as the birth of “Monsoon”, which is the organization she directs today. Her beliefs as a feminist are what lead her to passionately serve her community and its victims.
Mira had little experience in leading an organization, but luckily, she had a few professors at Drake who took pity on her and helped with tasks such as grant writing. In Mira’s opinion, it is essential that people learn how to write well. She feels that everything will fall into place if people can write well, so when she was forced to write a lot, the skilled really helped her. Mira’s main job was to bring community interest to CASA, which is one skill she was good at. While in San Francisco, Mira had often worked to spark community interest, so this was easy for her. Every month, she did educational outreaches, such as how to raise children in the United States. Mira left CASA in 2004 because she won a Fulbright scholarship which gave her money to do research in the Philippines.
Mira’s research was interacting with Muslim women who held jobs as domestic servants in the Middle East. Mira would do oral history projects and help these women in many different ways. Mira’s beliefs as a Muslim and as a feminist fueled her research to find out why these women put themselves in situations of mistreatment. Mira advocated for a humane working environment for these women, and sought to get a lot of their stories out into the public from her time in the Philippines. After Mira finished her research, she went to the University of Michigan to earn her master’s degree in Southeast Asian Studies and Social Work. While in Michigan, Mira learned Indonesian so she could communicate with other people groups. Mira came back to Des Moines when the CASA group asked her to be the Director of the Monsoon project. Mira was much more qualified now than she was last time she had led the branch, and elected a board of directors for the newly independent organization. The offices opened on December 15th, 2007 and Mira has worked there since.