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 recently Interim Executive Director.
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 a particular interest in social policy and is passionate about advocating for poverty reduction in Canada. She has written policy papers on transportation, immigration & race relations, child care, housing, international development, economic development & innovation, health care, and City branding.
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 also has experience in the not-for-profit sector through her volunteer work with the Orphan Sponsorship Program and Beauty for Breast Cancer. She was the past President and Donor Liaison of the Orphan Sponsorship Program through which more than 150 orphans in over 22 developing countries are given financial support on an annual basis. Samya is also the President and Founder of Beauty for Breast Cancer, a not-for-profit organization that provides financial support to breast cancer patients in Pakistan. Samya is currently in the process of attaining her second Masters degree in Islamic Studies. She has two children under the age of 5; Ammara and Zakariya, who she hopes to raise as the leading progressive thinkers and doers of their generation!
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.
Mathura Karunanithy – Senior Research Analyst
Mathura is the Senior Research Analyst leading a community based research study on the employment needs, barriers, and recommendations for employment equity for South Asian immigrant communities in Toronto, funded by the United Way Greater Toronto. Mathura has a background in public policy. Mathura has worked in the academic, governmental and non-profit sectors. Mathura has an interest in gender-based issues, labour, and feminism. Her long-term career goal is to increase the effectiveness of programming and policies for women’s empowerment.
Rohullah Naderi – Outreach Coordinator
Rohullah Naderi is CASSA’s new Outreach Coordinator. He has a master’s degree in political science from Lehigh University, USA, and another master’s degree in communication from Bangalore University, India. He has been in the nonprofit sector for close to four years focusing on the women empowerment and education. He is extremely happy to be part of CASSA ‘s vibrant team. CASSA’s mission of working toward social justice and advocating for an inclusive society resonates with his principle of creating a racially-diverse and socially just society where everyone can grow and realize her/his potential
He is currently leading the project of Investment in Youth Engagement – an initiative established by Toronto Public Health to support youth engagement work in Toronto communities and provide funding to support community health promotion projects. The activities to achieve the objectives of the project include organizing training workshops, write and designing flyers, outreach programs, developing and managing social media page, setting up information booths, developing tobacco prevention messages and finally meeting government officials. The project is intended to motivate and create opportunities for youth to develop their leadership skills and engage in and act on health issues within Toronto. This initiative is youth-driven, which means that youth are involved in all aspects of the project planning and implementation.
Shimaa Haj Ahmed – Membership Coordinator
Shimaa Haj Ahmed has recently joined CASSA as the Membership Coordinator. She has had a rich experience as a Medical Professional in her native country Sudan. Besides working as a lecturer, trainer, and researcher, she has been a strong advocate of promoting health care and health equity. Shimaa has a considerable experience working with diverse stakeholders in the field of medicine through developing and maintaining positive working relationships. She is currently developing CASSA’s membership strategy in order to build and maintain a positive and sustainable working relationship with all member agencies.
Rafay Syed – Outreach Assistant
Rafay is currently pursuing a BSc in Financial Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. Although his degree might suggest interests in an unrelated field, Rafay is passionate about the advocacy for underprivileged communities and their importance in Canada’s future. For the past three years, Rafay has been working with disadvantaged individuals in the form of mentorship and academic tutoring. He is looking to increase his scope, from working with students and promoting individual identity and empowerment, to reaching out to communities and marginalized peoples within the same social justice framework. He has chosen to work for CASSA for the summer because he can relate to, and advocate for CASSA’s vision of a Canada free from all forms of discrimination and oppression.
Sitharsana Srithas – Executive Assistant
Sitharsana Srithas (Sana) is the Executive Assistant supporting the mandate of CASSA through human resources responsibilities to event planning to grant writing and everything in between. Sana has previously worked in governmental and non-profit sectors. She is also serving as the President of the Scarborough Community Renewal Organization (SCRO), a volunteer-based organization committed to advocate on Scarborough issues. Sana is a recipient of Ontario’s Leading Women Building Communities award, which acknowledges and celebrates women who demonstrate exceptional leadership in working to improve the lives of others in their communities. She completed her Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Psychology and Political Science, at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus and was the former President of the Scarborough Campus of Students’ Union (SCSU), representing over 14,000 undergraduate students at UTSC. Sana is passionate about gender equity and social justice work.
Naima Raza – Civic Engagement Coordinator
Naima Raza is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto studying Urban Studies, Public Policy, and Human Geography. She has significant experience working in the education sector, having worked for the Lambton Kent District School Board and as a Policy and Programs Assistant for the Ontario Ministry of Education for two summers. She is passionate about social justice organizing within the Muslim community. In this regard, she has organized numerous events around anti-capitalism, anti-Black racism and Islamophobia through the University of Toronto Muslim Students Association, and went on to co-found the Muslim Justice Collective – a collective that offers community, and serves as a site for learning and organizing for Muslim students at University of Toronto. Naima hopes to continue to dedicate her career to working with youth and fostering critical engagement within the Muslim community.
Qudsiya Jabeen – Digital Media Coordinator
Qudsiya manages CASSA’s social media platforms and is in charge of content creation for marketing and promotion. She is a 4th year university student studying Radio and Television Arts Media Production at Ryerson University. She is interested in creative direction in the marketing sector. She has worked in the non-profit sector working with Syrian refugees and newcomers. She is passionate about advocacy for social justice issues surrounding Islamophobia, feminism and marginalization. She also believes in the importance of sustainability and community engagement.
Shehnaz Hariff – Social Planning Coordinator
Shehnaz Hariff is the Social Planning Coordinator at CASSA. She is a co-op student currently completing her Honor’s Bachelor of Science degree in which she is specializing in Psychology at the University of Toronto. One of the main reasons why she chose to pursue psychology is because she is extremely passionate about helping others, especially those in marginalized communities. She advocates for equality in all aspects including race, sex, and socioeconomic status—to name a few. She chose to do her work-term at CASSA because she believes that CASSA endorses her values.
Sharifa Kazi – Healthy Equity Coordinator
Sharifa is currently a co-op student pursuing a specialist degree in Psychology at University of Toronto Scarborough. She joined CASSA as the Health Equity Coordinator. Driven by her strong passion for helping others, her previous work and volunteer experience mainly revolves around community involvement and working with others. She is particularly interested in promoting the importance of mental health and wellness which roots from this passion and personal experience with individuals within cultures with less acknowledgement of mental health issues. That is why CASSA is an organization that she is passionate about working with because it shares the same values as her, such as promoting inclusiveness, equality and empowerment.