Staff

Samya Hasan

Samya Hasan

Executive Director

Samya 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.
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 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.
farhat@cassa.on.ca
Gurbinder Jaspal

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 with provincial and federal legislation. She has successful experience in working with complex business environments. She can swiftly align the organizational values to its structure, systems, and operational processes. Before CASSA, she was managing the Human Resources operations for Accor Plus and currently volunteering as a Human Resource Consultant with Single Mothers in Progress.
gurbinder@cassa.on.ca

Qurat Al Ain

Administrative/HR Assistant

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 Executive and Board of Directors.Liaise with external stakeholders.

qurat@cassa.on.ca

Dinoba Kirupa

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. Most 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
Yomna Omar

Yomna Omar

Legal Education for Refugee Women Project Coordinator

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

Wardah Malik

Vaccine Engagement Project Coordinator

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 co-ordinates COVID-19 vaccine engagement which she styles as a collaborative, grassroots effort to ensure the equitable access of information resources.
wardah@cassa.on.ca

Maiura Muralitharan

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.
Maryam Faisal

Maryam Faisal

Anti-Hate Project Manager

Maryam graduated from the University of Toronto in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Professional Writing and Communications and can always be found with a cup of coffee in hand. Alongside CASSA, she’s currently pursuing a post-grad diploma in Community and Social Services Management and volunteers part-time as a Content Editor for various publications. Prior to CASSA, she worked as a mentor for at-risk youth, volunteered as a hotline intake coordinator as part of the COVID response, and worked for a women’s transitional home. Some causes she is passionate about include ending gender-based violence, providing youth mentorship, advocating for mental health, and combatting islamophobia. In her spare time, she loves taking care of her plants, being outdoors, working out, and cooking.
maryam@cassa.on.ca
Akhila Appadurai

Akhila Appadurai

B.C Outreach Coordinator for Gender-Based Violence Research

Akhila graduated from the University of Toronto in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is passionate about making mental health care accessible for marginalized populations and hopes to pursue an MEd in psychotherapy and counseling in the upcoming years. Akhila is committed to bringing an intersectional framework to counseling by utilizing anti-racist and anti-oppressive structures to cultivate empathetic forms of communication, hence inciting transformative change to our relationships with ourselves and with others. Since moving home to Vancouver, Akhila serves as the B.C Outreach Coordinator for GBV research and simultaneously works with a partner organization in their Women and Gender Equality program – both of which work to empower survivors of violence through education. Outside of her work for CASSA, she also volunteers at the Greater Distress Centers of Toronto as a crisis line responder.
Naima Raza

Naima Raza

Hate Crime Reporting Team and Equity in Education Co-Coordinator

Naima is a teacher recently graduated from the Masters of Teaching program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and has completed her Bachelors in Urban Studies and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She has been involved in faith-based organizing through the Muslim Justice Collective and the Centre for Women and Trans People. Through the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, Naima has also supported education and outreach in the South Asian community within the GTA.

naima@cassa.on.ca

Mahdiba Chowdhury

Mahdiba Chowdhury

Vaccine Engagement Project Manager

Mahdiba Chowdhury is a graduate student specialized in Mental Health Studies from the University of Toronto. Currently at CASSA, Mahdiba is the Project Manager for Vaccine Engagement, where she ensures equitable access to culturally competent and vaccine-related resources for South Asians. Her previous role at CASSA was the 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 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 worked 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 is with CASSA; Mindfully Muslim; and Safe Mind, Safe Body.

mahdiba@cassa.on.ca

Samaha Kureshi

Samaha Kureshi

Communications Coordinator

Samaha Graduated from McMaster University this past year with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minion in Health and Society. She is passionate about doing research on immigration in Canada and girls’ education in south Asia countries. Samaha is part of the CASSA communication team where she handles the newsletter every month. Besides CASSA Samaha has a small business that she runs with her sister for the past two years.

samaha@cassa.on.ca

Valerie Lin

Valerie Lin

Communications Coordinator

Valerie is one of the three Communications Coordinators at CASSA. She is responsible for managing the organization website and assists with social media platforms. Valerie is pursuing a Master’s degree in Sustainability Management at the University of Toronto. As a student in sustainability, she is dedicated to cultivating environmental and sociocultural wellness in her community. Valerie’s passion for social justice and equity has inspired her to support grassroots organizations and contribute to making information and resources more accessible. In her spare time, Valerie enjoys hiking, swimming, painting, thrift shopping, and going to farmer’s markets.

valerie@cassa.on.ca

Noor Imran

Noor Imran

Toxic Masculinity Project and Hate Crime Reporting Project Associate

Noor Imran is the Project Associate for the Toxic Masculinity Project and Hate Crime Reporting Project. Outside of CASSA, Noor volunteers to work with survivors and children of human trafficking. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and trying out new cuisines. 

noor@cassa.on.ca

Tanvi Rathi

Tanvi Rathi

Health Equity and Vaccine Engagement Project Associate

Tanvi is a recent graduate of the Life Sciences program at Queen’s University. As a project associate, she has worked on the organizing and moderating the 11th Annual Health Equity Summit and promoting vaccine engagement through freely accessible resources. Tanvi is passionate about innovating healthcare in order to create a society which is conducive to the health and wellbeing of all people. She will be pursuing her Masters in Public Health at Western University in Fall 2022 and aims to have a career in health policy and advocacy in the future.

tanvi@cassa.on.ca