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 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 7; Ammara and Zakariya, who she hopes to raise as the leading progressive thinkers and doers of their generation!

Sakshi Mehta – Communications Coordinator

As 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.




Yomna Omar – Project Coordinator

Yomna 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 those roles, 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.



Nikhita Dogra – Project Coordinator

Nikhita 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.



Aneesah Siddiqi – Social Planning Coordinator

Aneesah 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.




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.


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.


Mukta Sreenivasa – Administrative Assistant


Cynthia Saxena – Employment Equity Campaign Specialist

Cynthia 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.

Shazia Khalid – Intern

Shazia 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.