Filmmaker, Artist, Lifecoach
MEGHNA DAMANI is a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, and life-coach. She migrated to the United States in 2002, from Mumbai, India her birthplace, where she was a successful model, journalist and advertising executive.
Inspired by her own struggle on a dependent spouse visa that denied her work authorization, she wrote, directed, and produced “Hearts Suspended”, which screened on National TV (NDTV) in India and festivals worldwide.
A pioneer activist on the issue of work authorization for dependent spouses (H-4 visa holders), she has spent over a decade in building a consistent and engaged social media campaign and grassroots movement that mobilized individuals and organizations to lobby for policy change that came through on May 26, 2015, when about 100,000 spouses on the H-4 visa were granted work authorization (H4EAD).
Meghna is founder of Treasure Tower Films, a multimedia company with a mission to make films that celebrate human potential and Flying Pig Baby Films, a company that helps parents document their child's precious moments in cinematic style. Her work with Immigrant women inspired her to get certified as an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) based Advanced Life Coach. She holds customized workshops for women titled "I Choose - Workshops for Women in Transition".
She is currently working on fa feature film "Dreams Uprooted" to continue the fight for ALL dependent spouses to have work authorization.
A Documentary Film Graduate of the New School in Manhattan, she lives in Jersey City, NJ.
Damani found her sense of purpose in making a documentary about H-4 visas called “Hearts Suspended.” Too many Indian women simply accept their lot, even if they’re unhappy, she said.
THE WASHINGTON POST
"I think the misconception is that they're going to take away from the limited pool of jobs," said Meghna Damani, a former H-4 holder, who has become an advocate for reform. "But they're not all participating in that limited pool. A lot of them are entrepreneurs who can actually create jobs.""I think the misconception is that they're going to take away from the limited pool of jobs," said Meghna Damani, a former H-4 holder, who has become an advocate for reform. "But they're not all participating in that limited pool. A lot of them are entrepreneurs who can actually create jobs."
“I could not work and I realized I did not have a sense of purpose. I realized life is not all about walking, exploring, or painting,” she says. Before her marriage, Damani was working at an advertising firm in Mumbai. “I could not even apply for an internship on this visa. I was a housewife, (and could) just do cooking and cleaning.”
The former model and business school graduate went on to make a documentary about her life on the H4, which can be found on YouTube. It begins with this heartbreaking line: “Independence—the very first thing I lost when I set foot in the land of the free.”
Sara Ashley O'Brien,