Our Team

Shannon Fernando-Rubera,

Founder & President of the Board
Shannon Fernando-Rubera is a California board-certified family nurse practitioner who has devoted her career to increasing access to health care for vulnerable people and communities. She founded Alabaster International, originally Alabaster Mobile Clinic, with a vision for bringing holistic care and education to communities that have been overlooked by going where others choose not to go. She is a tireless advocate for people who live on the margins, and envisions a world where everyone has the resources they need to realize their dreams.
In addition to her work with Alabaster, Shannon serves as Chief Innovations Officer at Los Angeles Christian Health Centers in LA’s Skid Row community, providing primary care for homeless individuals and driving strategy and vision for new programming, including their street medicine initiative. She previously served the Los Angeles homeless population through the St. Vincent Cardinal Manning Center as an AmeriCorps scholar. An active member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Shannon holds degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles and Azusa Pacific University. She has lived in and visited more than 27 countries, including medical outreach trips to Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Haiti, Mexico, and Kenya.

Board of Directors


Leela Braganza, CPA


Leela Braganza has practiced accounting for more than 20 years, with specific experience in nonprofit accounting. She has served as Alabaster’s bookkeeper since 2015, and joined the Board to serve as Treasurer in 2018. She runs a private bookkeeping business and works at a tax firm doing individual, corporate and non-profit taxes.

Leela holds a Bachelor’s degree from Vanguard University of Southern California and is a CPA both in California and Washington. She currently lives in Washington with her husband and two children and enjoys playing guitar and spending time with her family.


Veena Fenn, RN, MS


Veena Fenn is a registered nurse with 10 years of experience in adult critical care. She traveled on her first outreach trip with Alabaster in 2013 and has returned every year since. Veena joined Alabaster’s board in 2015, allowing her to contribute to the overall strategy, in addition to the implementation, of healthcare and health education projects.

Driven by a longstanding desire to bring quality medical care to underserved communities in Africa, Veena has grown a deep commitment to Kenya and its people, and strives to provide quality nursing care to her patients. She also enjoys partnering with local providers and educating fellow team members on key areas of health and preventative medicine. Veena holds a Bachelor’s in Nursing from New York University and a Master’s in Science from Dartmouth College. She is a proud aunt of two and enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends and family.


Rini George, MA

For nearly two decades and through a range of professional roles, Rini has worked to enhance the capacities of nonprofits and small businesses to effectively achieve their goals. She currently oversees business development at 5 Fold Marketing Company, a vibrant, socially conscious marketing start-up. She has been an advocate for vulnerable populations since she was young, with a special interest in developing communities, alleviating poverty, and advocating for human rights. With a bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies from UCLA, and a master’s degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy & Management, Rini currently lives with her husband and two sons in Ohio.


Grace Beredo

Grace Beredo is a dedicated hospitality professional with over 20 years of experience in the hotel industry and serving her community through various altruistic endeavors.  As a hotel Catering Sales Executive in the Orlando area, with dual degrees in Marketing and Communications from the University of Central Florida, she works closely with local businesses as well as local non-profit organizations.  Through hands-on involvement and strategic initiatives, she's contributed her time and efforts to various causes aimed at empowering underserved regional populations and fostering education and social welfare.

She has always had a passion for helping others and strives to make an even greater impact and further reach with Alabaster International.  Grace's first encounter with Alabaster was attending the 10th anniversary event in 2022.  She then joined the 2023 Alabaster trip to Kenya, where she fell in love with the communities of Endonyolasho, Turkana, and the Salama Centre in Nairobi.


Ashantha Rubera

Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Ashantha works as a financial planner in the greater Los Angeles area. His passion is to educate clients on strategic savings and long-term investments, and help them to create solid financial foundations to achieve their dreams and move closer to financial clarity. An avid traveler, Ashantha has visited more than 40 countries, and has been involved with Alabaster International for close to a decade. He spearheaded the Endonyolasho Community Library project and has established deep relationships within the community. Ashantha combines his love for people and food through leading the hospitality ministry at Vision Christian Fellowship, serving as president of the Burbank Toastmasters Club, and producing a cooking show on YouTube called Smiling Islander.

Tina Babajanians, MS

Tina Babajanians, a licensed speech and language pathologist, boasts an expansive career of over a decade, primarily serving Title I schools in Los Angeles, California, where she specialized in child speech and language development. Beyond her clinical contributions in special education, Tina has ventured into the realm of marketing and communications, notably for her restaurant group. Leveraging these skills, she collaborates with Alabaster International, aiming to enhance their communication strategies and fundraising initiatives. Tina was among the pioneering individuals who embarked on Alabaster's inaugural mission trip to Kenya.

Partner Organizations

Girl Child Network is a Kenyan non-governmental organization that serves communities throughout the country by promoting and protecting the rights of children and young people. Alabaster’s partner since 2012, Girl Child Network connects Alabaster to communities where it has an established presence, partners in project development and implementation, and serves as cultural adviser and in-country host.
Universal Intervention and Development Organization(UNIDOR) is a South Sudanese non-governmental organization focused on providing multi-sectoral humanitarian relief services to hard-to-reach-areas in South Sudan’s Unity State since 2004. Alabaster began its partnership with UNIDOR in 2023, focusing on educational capacity building and women's empowerment programming in Leer County.

Alliance for the Protection of Children

The Alliance for the Protection of Children takes a wholistic approach to helping and protecting children and young people to secure a better future. The nonprofit is supporting young mothers as well as their children and families through direct aid, psychosocial support, skills training and social connections. Alabaster began partnering with APC in 2020 during the COVID pandemic with dignity kits and food packs that help young mothers in their first several months of parenting.

Research Partners


Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology


Arba Minch University


Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute


John Hopkins University

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