Asma Faizi, President
Asma Faizi, is the President of the Afghan Women’s Organization. She is a lawyer. From January, 2006 to October, 2013 she worked as an associate at Torys LLP, where she primarily focuses on intellectual property litigation matters involving patents, trademarks and copyright. In November, 2013 accepted a position at SOCAN as In-house corporate counsel responsible for supporting licensing, IT, distribution, membership, marketing, communications, corporate, and litigation groups.
Asma has a Bachelor of Science (Honours, with Distinction) (Human Biology) from University of Toronto, Master of Science in Pharmacology from the University of Toronto and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toronto. She has been advocating on behalf of Refugee women for over two decades, in Canada, and internationally. She has participated and spoken at several national and international conferences on human rights issues and about the flight of Afghan women.
Asma is also founding member of The Afghan-Canadian Bar Association.
Beheshta Jaghori, Vice President
Beheshta Jaghori, is currently serving as the Vice President of the Board of Directors at the Afghan Women’s Organization. Beheshta Jaghori is a doctoral candidate, completing the last year of a PhD program in Counselling Psychology at McGill University. She has a Masters degree in psychology from the University of British Columbia and an Honours Bachelor of Science in the same field from the University of Toronto.
Beheshta’s academic and clinical interests focus on women’s mental health and cross-cultural counselling. Her PhD research looks at intergenerational effects of war among the youth of Afghan descent. She is currently completing her doctoral internship at the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences. She is a clinical associate at the New Leaf Psychology Centre. Beheshta’s non-academic pursuits include work with non-governmental organizations on gender issues, economic development, and the promotion of peace both in Afghanistan and the diaspora. She takes pride in her involvement with the Afghan Women’s Organization, which spans more than a decade.
Huria Jalalzai, Treasurer
Huria Jalalzai, has a Masters degree in Public Policy and Administration from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto. She is currently working as a Senior Advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and since 2008 has worked with other ministries for both the provincial and federal government.
In 2012, Huria travelled to Kabul, Afghanistan to support the Masters degree program in Public Policy & Administration implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the University of Massachusetts through the Afghanistan Higher Education Project. This experience strengthened her conviction that little things make a big difference and she strives to stay active in her community here in Toronto and abroad in order to bring about positive change.
Mina Saboor, Secretary
Mina Saboor, is a senior policy advisor for the Ontario government and has experience working in both the public and not-for-profit sectors. She obtained a bilingual Masters degree in Public & International Affairs from York University. After completing her Hons. BA in Political Science, Mina worked in New Delhi with a local non-governmental organization that serves abandoned children and young women in pursuit of higher education.
This front-line experience of serving members of civil society inspired her to be a lifelong active member of the global community, and the Afghan-Canadian community in the GTHA. Her appreciation for cultural diversity in Canada is evident in her ability to communicate in multiple languages, including French.
Sheba Sheranze, has an educational and work background revolving around the financial services industry in customer service and finance the public sector. Sheba completed her Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Toronto in 2008. She is also a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA).
She is in the process of completing her Certified Management Accountant designation. While in school, she was VP Finance for the U of T Afghan Student Body. Her work includes several positions at Scotia bank and within the federal government she is currently a Citizen Service Officer at Employment Insurance Canada. Sheba is fluent in English, Farsi, Hindi, Baluchi & Dari.
Hakema Mashal Sidiqi
Mashal Siddiqi, is mother of four children. She is holding university degrees from faculty of the Literature Kabul University. After completing her higher education, she worked as a teacher at a girl’s high school.
During war her family move to Mazar-e-Sharif North of Afghanistan. There she got job at CFDO (Community for a Devilment Organization) one of United Nation’s supported organization where she gained experience in working with communities specially women. She continued her work during the Taliban. After 9/11 she worked with several nongovernmental organizations, including UNICEF, UN-Habitat. She also worked with the Ministry of Education, Constitution Commission and Ministry of foreign Affairs in Kabul.
Kobra Rasul, was first introduced to the Afghan Women’s Organization as a client in 1998 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 in Canadian Society.
Kobra has volunteered extensively in the newcomer’s community and particularly with the Afghan Women’s Organization by assisting in the organization of events and conferences. She is well trained and established member of the Catering Group and a role model for newcomer women.
Parween Pazhwak, has graduated from Abu Ali Sina-e-Balkhi Medical Institute in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is a writer, a poet and children’s rights advocate.
Following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, she spent two years in Pakistan as a refugee before moving to Canada in 1994. She is married and has 4 children.
Parween considers the best time in her life to be her days as a student and life in exile to be among her most difficult times. Her works of literature include modern poetry, short stories, and paintings for children. She has published 14 books and two of her most famous published books are Darya dar Shabnam (River in Dew) and Negin-ha wa Setara-ha (Gems and Stars).
She is an active, dedicated volunteer with many organizations, including the Afghan Women’s Organization. She worked as an intake worker in AWO Mississauga location, before moving to Prague, Czech Republic. Currently, she lives with her family in Toronto.
Abeda Baluch, is an active member of the immigrant and refugee Community. She is the mother of four children, three sons and one daughter. She has over 20 years of experience in media, including TV, radio and newspaper publications.
Abeda has served as a Balochi language host on All India Radio for 18 years. Currently, Abeda is assisting local media in Toronto, and hosts a Baluchi TV talk show. She has also previously served the AWO Board and remained an active, dedicated volunteer at the organization.
Nasimeh Bayat, immigrated to Canada in May of 2000 with my two kids and brother, settling down in the city of Brandon, Manitoba. Shortly after her arrival, she first started working at a nursing home for the elderly, and then moved on to acquiring a second job at a regional health center where she worked for a duration of 6 years.
In 2008, her family and I moved to Toronto, where she secured employment at a walk-in clinic. Currently, she is working part-time as RPN nurse at the Grace Hospital and also managing two walk-in clinics.
She is the mother of two sons.
Sumaya Karimi has a Master’s Degree in Social work from University of Toronto. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social work and Psychology from York University. She is currently working as a registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Worker. Sumaya has extensive experience in working in hospitals, non-profit, government and university. She has worked with diverse and vulnerable communities including children, youth, women and families experiencing multiple barriers. While working with them she identified their complex needs, provided case management, advocacy, support and referral. She has experience in providing group facilitation, trauma-informed, solution focused, strength-based counselling and crisis intervention.
In addition, Sumaya has been involved with AWO over 3 years as a staff and volunteer. She has gained insight about the organization and the wide range of community it serves and its needs. She will be a great asset to the organization due to her knowledge, skills and experiences and most importantly her passion in AWO mission and vision.