Executive DirectorSamya has been working with the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians since 2015 in different capacities including as a Project Coordinator, Project Manager; and has been the Executive Director of CASSA since 2017.
Samya attained her Masters of Public Policy degree from the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance in June 2013. Prior to her Masters, Samya attained an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Toronto. She has written policy papers on transportation, immigration & race relations, child care, housing, international development, economic development & innovation, and health care.
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.
Employment Equity CoordinatorCynthia Saxena is a graduate of the University of Toronto where she majored in Political Science and Equity Studies. Cynthia has worked as a Junior Professional Consultant at UNICEF’s Regional Office in Bangkok where she was part of the Education team and worked on the Girl’s Education Initiative to ensure every girl learns and thrives. She has also worked at UNESCO in New Delhi in the education team during the COVID-lockdown in India where she created a teacher training course to help them manage students’ mental health. She has also interned at an NGO in India, worked in Public Affairs at the Ontario Legislative Building, and in marketing outreach with a renowned Author. Having lived in Canada and India, worked and studied in Berlin, Brussels, and Bangkok, Cynthia has been exposed to different types of governance models, cultural influences, and on- ground realities, equipping her with a very nuanced understanding of the world and polishing her emotional intelligence.
InternShazia has been working as a social worker and freelance translator for the last 16 years. She has hands-on experience of handling all interpretation and translation assignments for various Canadian media outlets and community organizations. She has been an active volunteer for newcomers and settlement agencies. Currently, she is working with the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA), an umbrella organization of agencies, groups, and individuals that provide services to the South Asian Community.
Project CoordinatorYomna Omar is the Project Coordinator for CASSA’s ‘Legal Education for Refugee Women’ project. 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 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. Yomna also works as an Emergency Responder with the Canadian Red Cross; taking part in the COVID response.
Prior to this, Yomna 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.
Communications CoordinatorAs a recent graduate of the Health Sciences program from McMaster, Sakshi is returning to pursue her Masters in Global Health with a specialization in Global Health management. Sakshi is passionate about promoting health equity for marginalized populations and is hoping to pursue a career in health management and promoting health equity.
Previously, Sakshi has gained plenty of research skills in Molelcular Biology and clinical research. She has greatly immersed herself in Global Health through being President of the McMaster CCGHR Chapter, serving as a member on the CCGHR Youth Committee and currently working as the Vice-Chair of the Global Health Students and Young Professionals Summit.
Currently, Sakshi is responsible for all things social media, promoting, marketing in her role as Communications Coordinator at CASSA and hopes to bring her creative skills to success when working towards CASSA’s goals.
Muslim Community Outreach Coordinator
Project CoordinatorNikhita is the Project Coordinator at CASSA for the New Horizons for Seniors project and is also part of the Racialized Health Initiative.
She recently completed her Master’s in Public Health degree with a specialization in Preventative Medicine from St. George’s University. She has completed her Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia and her MD from St. George’s University. She worked with minority groups during her time in hospitals which got her interested in the field of public health. She is passionate about incorporating her experience from medicine and public health into promoting health equity and advocating for marginalized communities.
Before pursuing medicine and public health, she was involved in Multiple Sclerosis research as well as biotechnology. During her free time she loves to dance, find new coffee shops (pre-COVID), and delve into the world of fiction.
Social Planning CoordinatorAneesah is the Social Planning Coordinator at CASSA and a recent graduate of the Psychology and Human Biology program at University of Toronto Scarborough.
She is passionate about advocating for social justice for marginalized communities and hopes to create social change through her role at CASSA.
As the Social Planning Coordinator, Aneesah is responsible for researching social justice issues affecting racialized communities as well as promoting resources and coordinating events that aim to address these issues.
Finance ManagerFarhat 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 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 fund raising needs of the organization from time to time.