Staff List

Mulugeta Abai, Executive Director

Meziyah West, Executive Assistant / Office Manager

Elena Sen, Finance Manager, Downtown

Karen Van Stiphout, Human Resource Manager, Downtown

Mbalu Lumor, Director Programs & Newcomer Services

Huda Bukhari, Settlement Manager

Teresa Dremetsikas, Program Manager, Downtown

Nadia Umadat, Toronto South LIP Manager

Sunbal Mohammad, Community Engagement Manager

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

Joel Maneno,  Youth Mental Health Counselor (Scarborough)

Samar Ahmed, Mental Heath Counselor (Scarborough)

Virginia David, Mental Health Counselor (Downtown)

Tigist Work, Youth Mental Health Counselor (Downtown)

Desta Brhanu Gebrehiwot, Admin & Outreach Assistant (Scarborough)

Jane Njenga  Administrative Assistant (Downtown)

Juliette Ntege, Volunteer Coordinator / Administrative Assistant (Scarborough)

Farah Noori, Community Engagement Worker (Downtown)

Abdelrhim Khogaly, Youth Settlement Counselor (Scarborough)

Ana Ulloa, Settlement Counselor (Spanish), (Scarborough)

Bayan Sabagh, Settlement Counselor (Arabic) (Mississauga/Downtown)

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

Hagos Sibhat, Settlement Counselor (Tigrigna) (Downtown)

Helen Asihk, Youth Settlement Counselor (Assyrian/Arabic (Downtown)

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

Liudmyla Khodakkovska, Settlement & Trauma Counselor (Ukrainian) (Mississauga)

Meziyah West, Youth Mentorship Facilitator (Scarborough, Downtown)

Mildred Fidele, Settlement Counselor (Somali) (Scarborough)

Nisreen Al Khatib, Settlement Counselor (Arabic)/Youth Mentorship Facilitator (Arabic) (Scarborough)

Rahel Gebrechristos, Settlement/Trauma Counselor – Women  (Amharic, Tigrinya) (Downtown)

Rigbe Tsige, Settlement Counselor (Amharic/Tigrinya) (Downtown)  

Tagwa Abbakar, Settlement Counselor (Arabic) (Downtown) 

Zastid Perea, Child & Youth Counselor (Spanish) (Downtown)

Alia Khan, LINC Relief Instructor

Andrea Dzamarija – LINC Level 1-2

David Burt – P/T LINC Level 3-4

Isaac Wood –  LINC Level 5-6

Lesley Taylor, LINC Level 3-4

Muhammad Awan, LINC Relief Instructor 

Elena Solokhina – Employment Services & Skills Instructor/Admin


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.

Monica 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.  

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. She started her career with Ernst & Young, conducted external audit of clients in multiple industries including non-profit organizations. She was able to get her first job in the Canada with Scotia Bank as a Manager Reporting and Analysis and thereafter served Royal Bank of Canada for over 3 years as Manager Financial and Regulatory Reporting. She took active part in various volunteering activities hosted by or sponsored by these banks. Recently she raised funds for RBC Race for the Kids and was recognized as the top 10 fund raisers of the CFO Group. Wajeeha has been associated with CCVT for over 8 years.

Dr. Carolyn Filteau recently completed a PHD at Osgoode Law School in Toronto, Canada. Her PHD thesis title is “Rights and Responsibilities: What are the Prospects for R2P in the International/Transnational Arena?” She also holds an LLM in Law specializing in Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Laws School and BA/MA in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia. She taught Conflict Resolution at Seneca College in Toronto and Negotiation at the Life Institute, Ryerson University.  Her research interests include international law, humanitarian intervention legal theory, global conflict, the responsibility to protect, global governance, nongovernmental organizations and conflict resolution. She has presented papers at International conferences and published in conference proceedings and journals. She is currently Secretary of the Board of the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture.


Dr. Jaswant Kaur Bajwa is a Professor and Research Coordinator in the Centre for Preparatory and Liberal Studies (CPLS) at George Brown College.  In her work as academician, clinician, anti-violence advocate, and community researcher she uses an intersectional lens and is passionate about the use of education as a tool for social change and empowerment. Both her research and practice since the early 1990s have focused on the impact of violence and mental health issues on learning and the educational changes (both at micro and systemic levels) that need to be made in order to foster a safe and inclusive learning environment for students. She has worked with students with histories of violence, refugees, people marginalized as a result of mental health issues and other systemic barriers. In her role, she provides leadership to staff and students and is responsible for the development of the research capacity within the division. She leads number of research projects at the college. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology with the focus on psychological burnout in caring professionals

Dr. Bajwa is also a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario and works with clients from diverse backgrounds dealing with various psychosocial stressors, trauma history, PTSD, mental health issues, work stressors, conflict, parenting issues, refugee and immigration issues, burnout, discrimination, workplace violence & and harassment issues.


(she/her) is a registered nurse at Covenant House, working with youth experiencing homelessness, survivors of human trafficking and newcomers. She is passionate about street nursing and community health, and this has led Medina to pursue a Master of Science in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In addition to her nursing practice and graduate studies, Medina serves on the Board of Directors at Birth Mark, a non-for-profit agency providing doula support and advocacy of reproductive rights for low-income women and families. Medina is also an Advisory Board member at Canadian Voices Against Racism. On her time off, Medina is a member and Soprano in the Toronto Choral Society. Medina is a settler and first generation Canadian, born to immigrant parents from Kenya and part of the Ismaili Shia Muslim community.

LLB. LLM. Dip. LP., is a lawyer called to the Bar Societies of Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Manitoba. She has over 15 years work experience combining family and criminal law, policy development on diversity, equity, equality and human rights issues.  In her career, as a lawyer, Estella has supported challenges to section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms at the Court at the Court Challenges Program of Canada; established the first legal aid clinic in the Mackenzie Delta Region, Northwest Territories; fought for the rights of racialized and indigenous communities, and women and children, at the National Anti-Racism Council of Canada and the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children, respectively. Estella has been instrumental in starting projects that empower youth, women, the disabled, Indigenous and racialized communities.  Estella is a mediator and facilitator; and she has made presentations on human rights issues to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on several occasions, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and many national and international conferences.

has volunteered with CCVT since 2017. He recently completed his PhD in International Relations from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He is the author of two books and one forthcoming on Jewish religious perspectives on trauma. He is presently an interviewer on the podcast New Books in Israel Studies. He is actively interested in history and literature, and enjoys cooking in his spare time. He lives in Thornhill, with his family.

Shaheen Ali is a retired health professional who graduated from the Master of Health Science program of the University of Toronto.  She also has a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Karachi.  She is a founding member of Across Boundaries, an ethno-racial mental health centre, and has extensive experience in community health, human rights, administration, policy and planning.

Lotus Alphonsus is a Canadian medical student who is passionate about global health, social advocacy and reducing health inequities in vulnerable communities. Her research interests include refugee health, health policy and medical education. She has over a decades experience working with survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking. Lotus is the cofounder of Newcomer Health Hub, a national organization that creates workshops and resources for newcomers, medical students and health care workers on topics that are often overlooked such as female genital mutilation. She also holds many leadership positions including with the Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns (CDPG) and Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS).

Hana Dhanji is the CEO & Founder of Hana Dhanji Executive Coaching Inc. and The Law School Edge, a private career coaching program for law students across North America. Prior to starting her company, Hana worked as a corporate lawyer in New York, London and Dubai and brings her experience to bear in helping high-performing professionals, entrepreneurs and students achieve performance breakthroughs in their careers. Hana received an Hon. B.A. degree in Psychology, International Relations and Health Studies with distinction from the University of Toronto (Victoria College) in 2010, a Masters degree in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland (2012), and a JD/MBA degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Rotman School of Management (2017). She is also a board-certified Executive Coach and Neurolinguistic Programming Specialist.

Hana also serves as Board Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee on the University of Toronto Schools Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Reza Kasrai moved to Canada at the beginning of high school and went to university in London, Ont. and in Montréal. After obtaining his doctorate in biomedical engineering, he worked briefly in the private sector before pursuing his passion to work in the international aid sector. He has more than 15 years’ experience in international cooperation and crisis management in Africa, West Asia and South Asia. He has worked with different development and humanitarian organizations in contexts ranging from active conflict and post-conflict to natural disasters. Most recently, he worked with the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department on the refugee response in Turkey.  He moved back to Canada in 2020 and is currently working in the private sector. 

Aneesh Paranjape is a retired Financial Services Professional with extensive experience at major banks and insurance companies in Canada, including over a decade with CIBC in Capital Markets Risk Management. Aneesh also worked with the State Bank of India for approximately 20 years in India, Toronto, and New York before immigrating to Canada in 2000. This retired professional has additional experience with Scotiabank, TD Bank, Great-West Life, Sunlife, and CDCC in Canada. Since retiring in 2021, Aneesh has been actively volunteering, participating in programs such as Better Living’s “Meals on Wheels” and Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities’ Friendly Visiting. Aneesh serves on the Board of the community not-for-profit organization Maharashtra Sewa Samiti Organization (MSSO), which funds other not-for-profit organizations assisting those in need in India. Furthermore, Aneesh plays an active role in AVANI, an organization based in Kolhapur, India, dedicated to assisting abused and tortured women and children. This involvement includes teaching English to girls at a hostel via Zoom and supporting various AVANI projects funded by MSSO, including schools for the children of brickyard and sugarcane workers, aid for waste picker women, and a women’s shelter. Aneesh’s commitment extends to the Board of CCVT. At CCVT, Aneesh is eager to contribute and assist in any way possible to support the organization’s commendable work.


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194 Jarvis Street, 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON
M5B 2B7

Public Education & Newsletters

Volunteers deliver presentations and workshops, help out at career/volunteer fairs, and attend other events to increase CCVT’s visibility.

Find the Connections – the Volunteer Newsletter
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