Mulugeta Abai, Executive Director

Adriana Lilic, Executive Assistant / Office Manager

Teresa Dremetsikas, Program Manager

Mbalu Lumor, Community Engagement Manager (Maternity Leave)

Human Resources

Michelle Collier, Director of Human Resources (Downtown)

Mental Health

Domine Rutayisire, Mental Health Counselor (French/Rwanda/Burundi) (Mississauga/Downtown)

Community Engagement

Juliette Ntege, Volunteer Coordinator / Administrative Assistant (Scarborough)

Helen Baker, Community Engagement Assistant (French)(Downtown)


Mildred Fidele, Settlement Counselor (Somali) (Downtown)

Ezat Mossallanejad, Settlement Counselor & Policy Analyst (Farsi/Dari) (Downtown/Scarborough/HUB)

Rahel Hailemichael, Settlement Counselor (Amharic/Tigrinya) (Downtown)

Leah MacDonald, Child/Youth Counselor (Downtown)

William Patrick Porter, LGBTQ+ Settlement Counselor (Downtown)

Kubra Zaifi, Settlement Counselor (Dari/Pashtu/Farsi) (Downtown)

Gabriela Beltran, Settlement Counselor (Spanish) (Downtown)

Nadia Umadat, Child/Youth Counselor (Scarborough)

Mathura Nagaratnam, Settlement Counselor (Tamil) (Scarborough)

Rosy Bossoke, Youth Mentorship Facilitator (Scarborough)

Isela Martinez, Settlement Counselor (Spanish) (Scarborough)

Nisreen Al Khatib, Arabic Settlement Counselor (Scarborough)

Samar Ahmed, Arabic Settlement Counselor (HUB/Scarborough)

Mona Kalil, Arabic Settlement Counselor (Mississauga)


Richard Wazana holds an LLB from Osgood Hall Law School, York University, and MSW and a Masters of Education from the University of Toronto.  He is currently working as an immigration and refugee lawyer. Mr. Wazana brings extensive social policy and social services experience. He was actively involved in the following organizations: Parkdale Community Legal Services, Kids Help Phone, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the Laidlaw Foundation and Family Services Association of Toronto. He is currently the chair of the board.

Monika Franklin has been involved in newcomer and settlement issues for many years. She is a lawyer and worked for more than 20 years in the Ontario legal clinic system, most recently as staff lawyer and social assistance team lead at Flemingdon Community Legal Services in the Thorncliffe Park area of Toronto. She provided services to low income, vulnerable and marginalized populations, particularly on social assistance/disability, human rights, housing and immigration issues. She is currently on the Board of MCIS Language Solutions, which provides interpreters to many courts, tribunals, hospitals and legal clinics and also trains newcomers to work as interpreters. She was on the Board of CCVT between 1998 and 2001 and looks forward to the opportunity to renew her acquaintance with CCVT staff, clients and programs.

Marina Nemat was born in 1965 in Tehran, Iran. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, she was arrested at the age of sixteen and spent more than two years in Evin, a political prison in Tehran, where she was tortured and came very close to execution. She came to Canada in 1991 and has called it home ever since. Her memoir of her life in Iran, Prisoner of Tehran, was published in Canada by Penguin Canada in 2007, has been published in 28 other countries, and has been an international bestseller. In 2007, Marina received the inaugural Human Dignity Award from the European Parliament, and in 2008, she received the prestigious Grinzane Prize in Italy. She was the recipient of the Morris Abram Human Rights Award from UN Watch in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2014. In 2008/2009, she was an Aurea Fellow at University of Toronto’s Massey College, where she wrote her second book, After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed, which was published in 2010. Marina regularly speaks at high schools, universities, and conferences around the world and sits on the Board of Directors at CCVT (Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture) and on advisory boards at ACAT (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture) and PEN Canada. She has a Certificate in Creative Writing from the School of Continuing Studies at University of Toronto and currently teaches memoir writing at the SCS. In 2014, she was a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at the School. Occasionally, she writes book reviews and opinion pieces for the Globe and Mail and is a regular contributor to the Oslo Freedom Forum around the world. She is currently the board’s vice chair.

Fatoumata (Fanta) Ongoiba is the Executive Director of Africans in Partnership Against Aids. She is a leader in the African community and a member of the Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS and the African/ Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS.  She holds a Masters in Cooperative Business Development and Management, a Masters in Business Administration, and a PhD in Economics.

Ruba Ali Al-Hassani is a PhD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, studying post-conflict state sovereignty and state-building. She holds a Masters Degree in Criminology from the University of Toronto that focused on cases of torture at Guantanamo Bay & Abu Ghraib, and a Masters of Law from Osgoode Hall Law School that focused on the Saddam Hussein trial. She has taught Sociology at York University and at her alma mater, Trent University, where she had majored in Psychology and Sociology. Ruba is a co-founder and former Board Member of the Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law. She is also a member of the Board of Directors at the Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation. During her free time, she is an interpreter for the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project, and a regional representative of the Iraqi Cooperative Orphan Aid Foundation. Her research interests are many, but focus on Iraqi Studies, terrorism and counter-terrorism, digital Sociology, the Sociology of storytelling, as well as the Sociology of law, crime, and social control.

Branka Agic is the Manager of Health Equity at CAMH and Deputy Director of the Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies, School of Graduate Studies, and University of Toronto. Branka received a Masters degree in Health Science in Health Promotion with the Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies from the University of Toronto, and a medical degree from the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. She successfully completed her PhD in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in 2014.  Branka has extensive experience working with immigrants and refugees. Her main areas of interest include social determinants of immigrant and refugee mental health and access to services.

Seble Makonnen works as a policy analyst and justice lead at the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division.  She worked as a criminal lawyer for almost ten years after her call to the Ontario Bar in 2005, doing primarily Legal Aid work and working as Duty Counsel, assisting marginalized groups and people in need.

Kemi Jacobs is Executive Director of the Delta Family Resource Centre and has also been director of property management at one of the largest social housing companies in North America, with a focus on quality housing, the engagement of tenants and building a healthy organization.  In her work in the west of Toronto, her team is focusing on capacity-building, good customer service, clean buildings and a strong operational performance.
Prior to this post, Kemi led the Children and Youth Section at TCHC.  Under her leadership, there was a total re-orientation of the dept. as the focus changed to youth development approaches and on the integration of an anti-oppression framework into work with children and youth, with programs centered on employment and finding opportunities for young people to succeed and shine. Highlights have included innovative initiatives such as the Leadership series for approximately 300 youth from across the city, a Zine, Youth In Power youth group, increasing youth involvement in TCHC’s Tenant Participation System, an Economic Opportunities forum on developing strategic partnerships with employment agencies that led to jobs for 400 youth in the summer of 2006, as well as with the Ontario Justice Education Network. With over 20 years of community involvement, Kemi is a past President of the Canadian Council for Refugees, former executive director of Culture Link Settlement Services, and a past chairperson of the National Anti-Racism Council of Canada

Wajeeha Rafat is a passionate finance professional, has a splendid career of over 15 years in Finance, Audit and Consulting across large global companies such as Ernst & Young, Siemens, Royal Bank of Canada. She is CPA (Canada), CMA (UK) and SAP CO Certified (Germany) and has a Bachelors in Commerce and Masters in Economics degrees.

Carolyn Filteau holds a PhD from Osgoode Law School, York University and an LLM from Osgoode Law School specializing in Dispute Resolution.  She worked for the Council of Ontario Universities for 25 years assisting in and coordinating the review of all of the graduate programs in Ontario universities.  Dr. Filteau has also worked as an Academic Integrity Officer, facilitating discussions between faculty and students on matters of academic misconduct. She also worked as an Academic Planning consultant assisting in the development and coordination of the Five Year Plan for Ryerson University.  She has recently done volunteer work and research for the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT), Canadian Centre for Men and Families, 416 Drop in Centre for Women, and the International Committee of the YWCA. Dr. Filteau brings extensive research, publication and administrative experience to CCVT.

Fiona C. Thomas is a PhD candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at Ryerson University with many years of research experience. Fiona’s academic interests are in cross-cultural mental health, including the adaptation, delivery, and evaluation of mental health interventions for individuals often overlooked by mainstream mental health services. Fiona has worked with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MoHLTC) 10-year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy (Strategy). She worked hands on in supporting the development of the Strategy with the MoHLTC. She then worked with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on the implementation and evaluation of one of the Strategy’s provincial initiatives. The experience of working on a provincial policy, from creation through to implementation and evaluation, helped Fiona further understand the complexities between applied research and policy and evidence based clinical services for patients. She is currently a member of the Community-Engaged Research on Culture & Health Lab at Ryerson University, under the supervision of Dr. Kelly McShane. In addition to her doctoral research in Sri Lanka, Fiona remains actively involved in supporting newcomer populations settle in the Toronto area.

Jehan Teja was born in Toronto to first-generation East African Indian immigrant parents, and grew up very aware of the challenges around resettlement in a new country. Since her early teens, she has volunteered in many capacities with the Shia Ismaili Muslim institutions, including extensive work with youth from families that had recently fled Central Asia (Afghanistan in particular). She has an undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science, and a Masters degree in Economics, both from McMaster University. For four years, she was a capital planner with the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, but in early 2014 she left this position to pursue her current endeavours as the owner and artist behind Azki Jewelry, through which she designs and creates ethical jewelry and fashion accessories. Most recently her work has become a permanent feature at the Aga Khan Museum shop.