About AWO

Asma Faizi, President

Asma Faizi has a Master of Science in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toronto. She is currently working as in-house counsel at SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) – a not-for-profit organization that represents the Canadian performing rights of millions of Canadian and international music creators and publishers. She has been advocating on behalf of Afghan women for over a decade, in Canada, and internationally, on human rights issues.

Latifa Sarawari, Treasurer

Latifa obtained a B.Com degree from University of Toronto in 2002, later she completed her Certified General Accountant “CGA” designation in 2007, and she has also completed the CICA In-Depth Tax Course in 2009. She worked at Ernst &Young as Senior Tax Accountant and at State Farm Insurance as Analysis, Reporting and Tax Accountant. Currently she is working as an Assistant Manager of Taxation at Northbridge Financial Corporation.

Sheba Sheranze

Sheba’s work experience includes working in the financial industry and the public sector. She completed her Bachelor’s of Business Administration with specialization in finance from University of Toronto in 2008. She is also a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA). Her work experience includes several positions within the federal government. She is currently a financial analyst with the Employment Social Development of Canada. Sheba is fluent in English, Farsi, Hindi, Baluchi & Dari.

Najeeba Shairzay

Najeeba is a formal teacher, was the founder and the principal of Hazrat-e-Bibi Aisha school for girls. She organized various extracurricular activities for after school hours and during the summer holiday; e.g., sewing, English courses, rug weaving, bead sewing, literacy courses, calligraphy, and much more. Najeeba has volunteered for various organizations, including Senior Link, Afghan Women’s Organization, and many others. Najeeba is the mother of one son and two daughters.

Beheshta Jaghori

Beheshta is a PhD. Candidate in Counselling Psychology at McGill University. Her doctoral research, funded by SSHRC, examines the intergenerational effects of war among Afghan-Canadian Youth. Beheshta has formal training in evidence-based psychotherapy approaches, and she has experience dealing with a range of psychological difficulties and diverse clientele.  Beheshta is currently a clinical associate at the New Leaf Psychology Centre in Milton. Her non-academic pursuits include working with charitable organizations on mental health awareness and human rights issues.

Hakema Mashal Sidiqi

Hakema is the mother of five children. She holds a degree in Literature from Kabul University and has worked as a teacher at a girls’ high school. During the war her family moved to Mazar-e-sharif in the Northern part of Afghanistan where she worked for CFDO (Community For Development Organization) one of United Nation’s support organizations assisting communities, especially women.  She continued her work during the time when the Taliban where in power. After September 11, 2001, she worked with several nongovernmental organizations including UNICEF and UN Habitat.  She also worked with the Ministry of Education, the Constitution Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul.

Zohra Safi

Zohra’s professional interests lie in community advocacy and social justice. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies from Middlebury College (VT, USA) and is currently in her final year of law school at the University of Ottawa. Zohra’s background and experiences have given her valuable insights into a wide range of legal, political, and social issues, including refugee rights, access to justice, and human rights.

Kobra Rasul

Kobra was first introduced to Afghan Women’s Organization as a client in 1989 when she came as a refugee to Canada.  She is a busy mother of four children. Kobra is a good role model for other refugees. She raised well-educated children who contribute positively to Canadian society. Kobra has volunteered extensively in the newcomer community and particularly with the AWO assisting in the organization of events and conferences. She is a well-trained and established member of the catering group and a role model for newcomer women.

Shahfiqa Akbari

Shafiqa completed her formal education in Afghanistan. She moved to Pakistan in 1987 where throughout her 14-year stay, she was busy teaching Afghan refugee children. She moved to Canada with her family in 2001 and has attended various English and educational programs. She has been a volunteer with the AWO since her arrival and at present runs AWO’s Heritage Language program.

Abeda Baluch

Abeda is an active member of the Afghan Community. After graduating from high school, she enrolled in the Literature department of University of Kabul. After two years she left Afghanistan for India. She has served as a Balochi language host on All India Radio for 18 years. Currently, she is assisting local media in Toronto, and hosts a Baluchi TV talk show. She has previously served the AWO Board and remained an active, dedicated volunteer at the organization.

Arzo Nooristani

Arzo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology (York University), a Master’s of Science in Education (Daemen College) and a Masters in International Education and Human Development (George Washington University). She volunteered in India for the Institute of Art and Culture, a non-profit that provides access to community-based education and trades to impoverished girls and at the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and the Afghan American Women’s Organization (Washington D.C.). Arzo was a teacher in London, England. She has worked as Project Coordinator in promoting gender equality to Afghan Youth and assisted MP, Judy Sgro on various liberal. Currently, she is in the process of attaining her Ph.D. in International Education with a concentration on methods of improving the Afghan Education System.