Linda Mandrayar | Founder
Born and raised in Southern California, Linda attended Pepperdine University where she met her husband, Dharan a native South Indian. They first learned of a place called Vrindavan known as the “City of Widows”, through their son’s 6th grade reading assignment, Homeless Bird. They found this is where many of the widows cast out of Indian society come into lives of exclusion, poverty, and exploitation.
Linda and Dharan, filmmakers in their own right, decided to tell the story of the widows’ plight and encourage change within society with their acclaimed Hindi film, White Rainbow. Not wanting to just raise awareness about the issue, Linda, was encouraged by friends from her church to start The White Rainbow Project so that tangible change could occur. Linda enjoys visiting the centers and bringing others along on the journey to see for themselves how the widows lives are being transformed through all those that volunteer and support the programs in North India, at Hope Springz and South India, at Sangita.
Jon Silvester | Co-Founder
Jon graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and a minor in Biblical Studies. He spent a little over a decade in the financial sector, helping take companies public, and has spent the last 12 years in the field of Renewable Energy. Jon has been involved with both for-profit and non-profit startups.
Having learned about the plight of the widows through Linda, Jon was one of the first to encourage her to utilize the film as the basis for a non-profit. To Jon, the choice to help start a non-profit serving widows was simple: If God defines caring for widows and orphans in their distress as “pure religion”, then Vrindavan is the first place we should start.
Having seen God’s hand in the formation and sustaining of the ministry, Jon remains steadfast in the mission of sharing the love of Christ with the widows of India.
Rachel Iacoboni | Executive Director
Rachel was raised in Southern California and graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Design and Product Development in 2020. While at Baylor, she felt God calling her back home to help with this organization as her love for design and helping to empower women were united. Since returning home, she has worked for our team as the product design and manager. She has loved getting to teach the women new products and seeing them grow in their skills.
With the guidance of Linda our founder and the mentorship from our previous director Estha, Rachel is now ready to take the lead in this organization. She plans to expand our product line with new apparel items and home products. This new collection will be featured on our Etsy shop and new instagram shop page. She also plans to expand our reach through new interns and relationships with schools and churches. She is very excited to see where God takes The White Rainbow Project in the coming years.
Shay Lechner | Social Media, Web & Marketing Designer
Shay, a graduate of CSU Monterey Bay, was born & raised in Southern California and is the daughter of The White Rainbow Project Founder, Linda Mandrayar.
Helping widows in India hits close to home as her grandmother in India is a widow. Although her grandmother was never treated poorly, she saw her grandmother gain a voice and start wearing more color once White Rainbow, the movie was released. Shay strongly believes that no woman should ever go through the pain & suffering the widows in India have to endure all because of "their bad karma" surounding their husband's death. She wants to help make a change.
Katie Gilliam | Grant Writer
Joining the White Rainbow Family as a Pepperdine University student intern in 2010, Katie Gilliam has enjoyed growing the project in various roles including cooperative program management in India, sourcing and designing product, grant development, donor and volunteer relations and more.
She has worked as a consultant for a variety of non-profit organizations and social entrepreneurship initiatives including Habitat For Humanity, Martha O’Bryan Center, Shine On Sierra Leone, Mending Kids Intl., and Love Activists. She graduated from Pepperdine University, B.A. Intercultural Communication, in 2012. She is originally from East Tennessee and loves nothing more than a walk in woods with good company.
Chris Bures | Board Member
Chris lives in Orange County, CA with her husband Paul and their 2 pugs, Max and Zoey. She has 2 stepsons, Grant and Pierce, who are currently attending college.
Chris has a career in Fashion and is currently the Vice President; General Manager of Saks Fifth Avenue in South Coast Plaza.
She and Linda grew up together in Irvine and have been best friends since grade school.
Chris has also been involved with Royal Family Kids camps and is currently a member of Childhelp USA. She is excited to support The White Rainbow Project’s vision and looks forward to supporting the organization in their very important work.
Meg Stewart | Board Member
Meg lives in Temecula, CA and has been serving over 15 years in missions with her church and supporting ministries in India, including World Vision. Meg served as chair for World Vision’s Women of Vision Chapter in San Diego and that’s when she met Linda and became a monthly supporter of WRP. She worked as corporate records manager in the automotive industry and as a consultant. Now, mostly retired from the corporate world, she is free to enjoy her grandchildren and serve as a volunteer in amazing ministries like WRP.
Meg has been a friend and supporter of White Rainbow Project over the years and has a heart for the widows of Vrindavan. She has volunteered her time and efforts to support our events and sales alongside her prayers and donations. Meg will also act as our Director of Donor Relations, sharing her ideas and plans for growing the ministry through prayer and expanding the family of supporters and donors.
Belinda Sward | Board Member
Belinda has been a supporter of The White Rainbow Project since 2012, having volunteered in India twice and helped with various fund-raising events over the years. She is passionate about prayer and sharing the love and hope of Christ with others. She leads a mentoring ministry for new believers through church, and actively mentors young women.
Professionally, she is principal of a consulting firm for real estate, primarily focused on providing consumer-based strategies for residential communities. Originally from Atlanta, Belinda has lived in the San Diego area for approximately 15 years, currently residing in Lake San Marcos. She enjoys the outdoors - running, hiking, and gardening.
Mary Vahalla | Board Member
Mary comes to The White Rainbow Project with a long- lasting relationship with a sister ministry in Southern India. She has been married to her husband, Dan, for 34 years and is a mom of 3 children. She is also a grandmother to three beautiful little ones.
Living in Carlsbad, California, Mary is active in her church as a Bible Study facilitator and is passionately involved in the missions department. She has served on a Board of Directors for a flourishing Christian nonprofit organization for many years. Her love for travel and her love for the Lord pair nicely as she enjoys touring the world and sharing the love of Christ.
Darlene Shadden | Board Member
Darlene grew up in Pacific Beach in a large Catholic family with five siblings. She has been happily married for over 40 years and has a daughter and a grandson who she loves to go visit in Oregon. Her family has spent over the past 10 years traveling to Haiti, Uganda, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala and recently was able to travel to India with White Rainbow.
Darlene’s heart resonates with the focus of the White Rainbow Project. Her mom lives in a retirement community that specializes in caring for those with dementia. She spends many hours with her mom and the other residents. It is a blessing for her mom to be cared for by the staff at this facility, but it also enlightened Darlene to how vulnerable our elderly population is. Her heart broke when she learned of women who are suffering at the hands of their family, religion and society. She says, “The work of the White Rainbow Project is transforming lives here at home and in India. The Lord has blessed those who have the courage to protect, engage and love the widows in India.”