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Picture of Samya Hasan, the executive Director of CASSA

Samya Hasan

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Samya has been working with the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians since 2015. Through her work at CASSA, Samya has served as an advisor to the Ministry of Health Sociodemographic Data Consultation Group, the Special Investigations Unit at the Ministry of the Solicitor General, United Way Centraide’s Equity and Inclusion Advisory, University of Toronto’s Publicly Engagement Scholarship & Innovation Advisory, and the National Coalition Against Anti-Asiam Racism.
Samya received recognition from the Toronto Metropolitan University in 2020 for her work on civic engagement as their “Democracy Superhero”. Samya was also selected as CivicAction’s “DiverCity Fellow” for 2020-2021.
Prior to her employment at CASSA, Samya worked at the Affordable Housing Office at the City of Toronto as a Research Associate and Policy Consultant. During her time at the Affordable Housing Office, she worked on various housing-related portfolios supporting low-income and marginalized communities including Toronto Community Housing, and Affordable Homeownership. As a Toronto Urban Fellow for the City of Toronto, Samya worked at the Municipal Licensing and Standards division, conducting by-law reviews of business industries in Toronto.
Samya attained her Masters of Public Policy degree and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Toronto.

samya@cassa.on.ca

Farhat Hasan

FINANCE MANAGER

Farhat is the Finance Manager at CASSA. She has a Masters degree in Business Administration with specialization in Finance and over a decade of experience in accounting in the corporate and non-profit sector. Farhat manages all aspects of financial record keeping including budgets, financial reports, payroll, bank reconciliations, cash flow analysis and more. She also assists with the annual audit and updates the management about the fundraising needs of the organization from time to time.

farhat@cassa.on.ca

Picture of Gurbinder Jaspal, the Human Resources Generalist at CASSA

Gurbinder Jaspal

HUMAN RESOURCES GENERALIST

Gurbinder is the Human Resource Generalist for CASSA. She is a result-oriented professional with plenty of experience in HR operations. She is skilled in encompassing diversity & inclusion, talent and culture strategies, performance management, employee engagement, consulting, talent acquisition forecast, and planning; design and implementation of policy and procedures in consideration of provincial and federal legislation. She has successful experience in working with complex business environments. She can swiftly align organizational values to its structure, systems, and operational processes. Before CASSA, she was managing the Human Resources operations for Accor Plus and currently also working as a Business Partner, People and Culture with The MRG Group

hr@cassa.on.ca

Qurat Al Ain

ADMINISTRATIVE/HR ASSISTANT & MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR

Qurat Al Ain is the Administrative/HR Assistant and Membership Coordinator. She has done Diploma in Accounting and Business, Certification in Audit and Taxation (UK) (ACCA). Qurat Al Ain creates and coordinates engagement activities for staff. Maintain membership documents and database, Research and secure new memberships where possible. Support the HR Generalist and Executive Director with recruitment, hiring, and team-building activities. Scheduling meetings and taking minutes. Assist with meeting preparation with the Executive and Board of Directors. Liaise with external stakeholders.

qurat@cassa.on.ca

Picture of Dinoba Kirupa, the GBV Project Manager

Dinoba Kirupa

GBV PROJECT MANAGER

As a political activist and community organizer, Dinoba has worked extensively in the field of gender equity at the intersection of race. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and later obtained a Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs degree from the University of British Columbia. Dinoba’s passion for addressing gender and racial inequity influenced her work at the United Nations Children’s Fund at the Regional Office of South Asia in Nepal. There she was placed in the Education Section where she was instrumental in writing country profiles on the barriers to education faced by South Asian girls in rural communities. Dinoba’s work in South Asia was furthered through her involvement in the Canadian Tamils’ Humanitarian Association where she visited rural Batticaloa, Sri Lanka to help coordinate efforts to build a community center serving nearby villages. More recently, she has co-published a policy report on the Rome Statute’s understanding of conflict-related sexual violence. Outside of the office, Dinoba is a classically-trained Bharathanatyam dancer who completed her arangetram. She speaks fluent Tamil and loves all things connecting to her roots.

dinoba@cassa.on.ca

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Picture of Yomna Omar, the Legal Education for Refugee Women Project Coordinator

Yomna Omar

PROJECTS MANAGER

Yomna Omar has been working with CASSA since 2020, initially as the Project Coordinator for CASSA’s ‘Legal Education for Refugee Women’ project, and since January 2021 as a Projects Manager. She earned a Master of Science degree in Global Health from McMaster University and holds staff and volunteer positions at various nonprofits. She is currently a Resettlement Senior Legal Officer at St. Andrews Refugee Services (StARS), a refugee service provider in Egypt that works to enhance the quality of life for refugees and vulnerable migrants through four broad program areas: education, psychosocial, legal, and community outreach. Prior to this, Yomna served as the Senior Global Programs Associate at Millie’s Bookshelf, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring displaced people worldwide have access to adequate reading resources to promote literacy and health education and as an Emergency Responder with the Canadian Red Cross, taking part in the COVID response. She further provided logistical coordination and interpretation services and delivered training on sexual and reproductive health and SGBV in Greek refugee settlements with The Unmentionables, a nonprofit that provided sexual and reproductive health education, protection, and access to resources to refugees around the world.

yomna@cassa.on.ca

Wardah Malik

RESEARCHER – TOXIC MASCULINITY PROJECT

Wardah is a graduate of the University of Cambridge where she completed her master’s thesis on citizenship and ethnic minority rights in Pakistan. Her research also explores diaspora experiences, the intersection of ethnicity & gender, and South Asia’s place in history-writing more broadly.
Invested in community-building, Wardah believes in empowering local activists to ensure sustainable social change. With past experience working for Toronto-based organizations, she is committed to encouraging dialogue and advocating for the interests of South Asians.
At CASSA, Wardah manages the “Understanding Toxic Masculinity in the South Asian Canadian Context,” a three-year long community based research project focused on redefining current attitudes and practices about gender.

wardah@cassa.on.ca

Picture of Maiura Muralitharan, the Project Coordinator - Hate Crime Reporting

Maiura Muralitharan

PROJECT COORDINATOR – HATE CRIME REPORTING

Maiura is a recent graduate of the Life Sciences program from McMaster and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Health. She is passionate about addressing the impacts of the social determinants of health and enjoys fostering connections with community members. For her thesis, she will be examining the impact of racism on the health outcomes of South Asian individuals. At CASSA, Maiura is now the Hate Crime Reporting Project Coordinator where she is engaging with local communities to collect data and inform recommendations and training sessions to four police services in Ontario.

maiura@cassa.on.ca

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Picture of Akhila Appadurai, the B.C Outreach Coordinator for Gender-Based Violence Research

Akhila Appadurai

B.C OUTREACH COORDINATOR FOR GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE RESEARCH

Akhila graduated from the University of Toronto in 2021 with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is passionate about making mental health care accessible for marginalised populations and hopes to pursue an MEd in psychotherapy and counselling in the upcoming years. Akhila is committed to bringing an intersectional framework to advocacy work and counselling, in hope of inciting transformative changes to our relationships with ourselves and with others. Previously at CASSA, she was a key associate in creating the National Campaign for Combating Online Hate (#EradicateHate). Since moving home to Vancouver, Akhila currently serves as the B.C Outreach Coordinator for GBV research, and is passionate about making efforts towards addressing and combating gender-based violence in South Asian communities. Outside of her work for CASSA, she also volunteers at the Greater Distress Centers of Toronto as a crisis line responder.

akhila@cassa.on.ca

Picture of Mahdiba Chowdhury, the Vaccine Engagement Project Manager

Mahdiba Chowdhury

PROJECT MANAGER – HEALTH PROMOTION & EQUITY

Mahdiba Chowdhury graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Mental Health Studies. Mahdiba is a Project Manager for Health Promotion & Equity at CASSA. She is responsible for ensuring that South Asian communities have equitable access to culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare services and resources including COVID-19 vaccinations, mammogram screening, and Pap smear screening. Previously, she served as CASSA’s Health Equity Coordinator. For three consecutive years, she was responsible for coordinating CASSA’s Annual Health Equity Summit and producing comprehensive reports based on the outcomes of the summit. She also supported the Coalition for Racial Equity in Education project, where she coordinated events aimed to increase public awareness about racial inequities and related solutions in education. Prior to joining CASSA, Mahdiba worked with University Health Network as a Qualitative Research Analyst. She worked with an interdisciplinary team to investigate psycho-social, ethno-cultural, and religious barriers to accessing living donor kidney transplant in the South Asian community. She also collaborated closely with community partners in the development of ethnocultural education and promotional materials. Mahdiba also works as a freelance graphic designer and web developer. Her most notable work has been with CASSA, Mindfully Muslim, and Safe Mind, Safe Body.

mahdiba@cassa.on.ca

Picture of Samahar Kureshi, the Communications Coordinator

Samaha Kureshi

COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

As a recent graduate from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a minor in Health and Society, Samaha is passionate about research in immigration in Canada, specifically the struggles immigrants face based on their ethnicity, religion, gender, and education, as well as the education of girls in South Asian nations. As a member of CASSA’s communication team, Samaha is responsible for the newsletter, podcast, and blog posts. Aside from her communications role, she is also the project coordinator for the Coalition for Racial Equality in Education at CASSA. Outside of CASSA, for the past three years, she runs a small business with her sister.

samaha@cassa.on.ca

Ridah Asghar

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Ridah Asghar joined the CASSA team in June 2022. After graduating from Ryerson University with a Bachelors in Policy and Governance, Ridah began her fundraising career working at Islamic Relief and the Scarborough Health Network Foundation where she gained a wealth of experience in fundraising, event planning, donor relations and direct marketing. She is passionate about social justice for people of color and understands and relates to the rich diversity of communities that CASSA serves. As an expert in fundraising, she is responsible for implementing the annual fundraising plan through direct marketing appeals and donor cultivation strategies to help raise funds for CASSA to continue building diverse and inclusive communities in Canada.

ridah@cassa.on.ca

Sonia Baweja

PROJECT MANAGER, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT & ADVOCACY

Passionate about community building and social justice, Sonia is working at CASSA as the Project Manager for Community Engagement & Advocacy. As the manager, she is conducting primary and secondary research, creating a public awareness campaign and doing media and legislative outreach against policies that perpetuate systemic racism. Sonia holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in International Development and South Asian Studies from York University and a Masters in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University. She brings her lived experiences as an immigrant and 6+ years professional experience working in community organisations as a research assistant, organiser and educator to the project.

sonia@cassa.on.ca

Pirathajini Chandrakumar

PROJECT MANAGER, COMBATING ONLINE HATE, CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Pirathajini (பிரதாயினி – she/her) is continually learning and taking part in community based social justice initiatives. As a project manager at CASSA, she is working collaboratively to adapt the #EradicateHate Toolkit specifically for children and youth in Ontario. When she is not at CASSA, she is undertaking a knowledge-shared project in pursuit to teach the next generation and to keep in touch with her roots. Pirathajini holds a degree in Justice Studies and diploma in Community and Justice Services.

pirathajini@cassa.on.ca

Noor Fadel

PROJECT MANAGER, COMBATING ONLINE HATE, CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Noor Fadel (she/her) is an award-winning educator, spoken word poet, and public speaker. Noor examines the role of culture, trauma and mental health through youth and racialized women experiences in Canada.

Currently completing her studies in peace and conflict Noor has also worked on national campaigns in Canada to combat online hate and violence towards women, youth and children while also working towards research and policy on the reality of racism, discrimination and hate crimes in Canada. An impassioned and dynamic speaker, she incorporates creative elements into her work such as spoken word poetry and audience collaboration.