Board of Directors
Sanga Achakzai – Chair
Sanga Achakzai has graduated from York University, with a Specialized Honors in International Relations, as well as a bilingual certificate in French. She took the role of research assistant with the Afghan Women’s Organization (AWO) for a research proposal for CIDA.
Sanga also assumed the role of community work and volunteer coordination with AWO, where she took active roles in managing events, writing proposals and participating in the strategic planning of the Agency. Currently, Sanga is undertaking the role of Enhanced Language Training Facilitator for internationally trained medical professionals, at Catholic Cross Cultural Services.
With a passion for community development, civic engagement and a vision that includes a prosperous and an inclusive Toronto where minorities are able to access leadership roles, Sanga joined CASSA. She is whole wholehearted in terms of seeing CASSA reaching its Strategic goals in promoting health equity, reducing poverty, supporting immigration and settlement, strengthening gender equity and building a non-racist Ontario. She is confident that she can be a great advocate of CASSA’s strategic plan, and can cater to the needs of its Organizational development through her 7 years of experience in community development, civic engagement and leadership capabilities.
Anjum Sultana – Vice Chair
Anjum Sultana is a public policy professional based in Toronto. Through her work in gender equity organizations, health equity research and social policy development, she is passionate about achieving social and economic justice for marginalized and vulnerable communities, especially diverse women such as immigrant, refugee, newcomer, racialized and non-status women. Currently, she works as Manager of Policy & Strategic Communications at the YWCA Canada, the nation’s largest provider of housing, shelter, literacy and employment support services for women and girls across the country.
Previously, Anjum worked as a Junior Fellow at the Wellesley Institute, a think tank focused on advancing health equity in the GTA through action on the social determinants of health. Her work there has focused on building equity in the health care system for diverse populations as well as addressing the economic determinants of health such as employment, working conditions and income security. In the past, she has worked on health research projects at St. Michael’s Hospital, Women’s College Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Toronto and the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention.
She is a Masters of Public Health graduate from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. During her graduate studies, she was Executive Co-Director of IMAGINE, the University of Toronto student-run interprofessional clinic and health promotion initiative that provides access to health care services for people without OHIP coverage.
Ultimately, as an inclusive city builder, Anjum is a principled supporter of progressive policies to make our city a healthier, happier and more equitable place to be.
Tanzina Islam – Secretary
Tanzina Islam is a public health planner specializing in health promotion strategies within the community health sector. She is currently the Manager of Health Promotion & Community Relations at the East Mississauga Community Health Centre. In her role, she oversees health interventions targeting priority populations, supports strategic planning, and monitors population needs and advocates for the good health of the Mississauga community. She was a former Project Coordinator at CASSA for the CapaCITY Creators Project and is a current member of CASSA’s Health Equity Task Force.
Tanzina has worked in the areas of mental health, chronic health, gender-based violence, community engagement, social justice and health equity across institutions such as Humber College, Toronto Public Health, St Michael’s Hospital and the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH). Tanzina also leads two independent research projects focused on ‘understanding honour killing as a form of gender-based violence’ and ‘identifying risk factors for global sex trafficking’. She is a University of Toronto Alumni and holds a Master of Public Health degree. Her expertise lies in applying evidence-based knowledge when developing, implementing and evaluating health interventions. Central to her focus is integrating equity-focused frameworks when planning health services for marginalized populations. She hopes to be a part of initiatives that empower communities, strengthening community action, and challenge sociopolitical structures that contribute to poor health and health disparities.
Leanne Saldanha – Treasurer
Leanne Saldanha brings a strong background in arts and cultural heritage to the board. Leanne has graduated from the University of Toronto with an HBA and an MA in Art History. Delighted by the beauty and proliferation of art production in Renaissance Italy and the Netherlands, Leanne was initially drawn to the study of religious and philosophical themes in early Renaissance visual art with a highly Eurocentric focus. It was only later, as a graduate student, that Leanne realized the necessity of exploring and celebrating the complicated and searching works of post-modern and contemporary South Asian diaspora artists and collectives.
She is currently pursuing graduate research in Immigration and Settlement Studies at Ryerson University, with a focus on supplementary art practices that can ease the strain of immigration and integration processes for recent immigrants and refugees. Her research focuses on issues of integration and belonging and the complexity of these social asks in Western societies, especially for diaspora individuals and communities who are subject to experiencing social inequities and injustices here in Canada.
Over the years, Leanne has worked with several equity-seeking groups and not-for-profit organizations with a focus on refugee integration, environmental issues, capacity building, racial equity, community engagement, and social justice. Leanne is highly attuned to the difficulties of social inclusion and equity-seeking in urban contexts and is committed to tackling social concerns for South Asian communities through CASSA. She is also an avid policy and political campaigns enthusiast with a passion for fostering thoughtful and informed civic participation especially in South Asian communities.
Anita Singh – Board Member