a Protanopia b Deuteranopia c Tritanopia

Saba Nafees

(She/Her) CAPAW Board Member
About Saba

Dreamer. Immigrant. Data Scientist.

  • What would you title your autobiography and why?

    “In the Pursuit of Purpose” -- I was born in Pakistan and I moved to the United States when I was 11. My whole life story is really centered around the immigrant experience, especially as a South Asian undocumented immigrant. I shared my immigration story at a TEDxTalk in 2014. That story then catapulted my involvement in the immigrant rights community and folks from movement building organizations around the country found out about it, and they reached out, especially AAPI groups. 
    Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose. I ask myself questions like “what am I actually doing?” and “am I living a life filled with purpose of some kind?” Purpose is dynamic, grows, and it may change slightly. But to the core, if we really look within ourselves, we will find out what it is that we are looking for. My purpose is to help people and to be an integral part of the community; to give back and to help younger people, just like me. I wouldn’t know where I would be without my mentors, folks who gave me endless advice, and those who pulled me along. I want to continue to give back as well.

  • Who inspires you?

    The immigrant parent is someone who really inspires me. We always say that our parents were the original dreamers. They dreamed of a better life for their children and made the difficult decision to pursue that. They dreamed for their young children to have a life full of freedom, opportunities for all, and achievements for their young children. They knew it would be easier to do so in a place that is not being bombarded by terrorists, full of folks trying to enslave you, sexually traffic you, target you, etc. Our parents made the difficult decision to pursue the safety and opportunities for their children. I think the immigrant parent who sacrifices everything they know of their entire lives -- their home countries, their background, their past, their families, etc. -- and then come to the US or any other place in pursuit of this dream; that is a great inspiration. Personally, my inspiration is my dad; he had to do all of that. He chose to let go of everything. I think that I was too young to initially understand just how large his sacrifice was.

  • What advice would you give young AANHPI women and girls?

    The AANHPI community is so large. Our community is different and in deep need of banding together a little bit more and finding synergy across different cultures and histories across the diaspora and helping each other continue to move forward. We cannot continue to be in our siloes and must band together with the justice, labor, climate change, immigrant rights movements, etc. We really have to keep coming together. There’s a reason why a lot of AANHPI girls do not see many leaders who look like them, have a hard time finding mentors, and rarely find supporters who can help them pursue their life goals. 
    Also: Believe in yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and rely on your community. Just knowing that you’re not alone is a big step. By believing in yourself and knowing that you’re worth it, you’ll realize you are not alone, and you can seek mentorship and guidance. Put yourself out there, ask for help, and ask to be involved. Now in the digital age, there is no shortage of ways to find each other.