Victoria is a Strategic Planning and Senior Advisor at the AWC, where she began volunteering in 2007. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of the AWC of Montreal. Her career spans over 15 years in the non-profit, NGO, and corporate sectors. She has dedicated her life to advocating on behalf of social justice, women’s rights and empowerment, and gender equity. These values have animated her international involvement in countless fundraising events dedicated toward safeguarding the rights of vulnerable and disabled women and their families, reducing poverty, and fighting against systemic racism and sexism.
Victoria has a medical degree, with proficiency in four languages Farsi, Russian, English and French. Her extensive medical knowledge have greatly facilitated her ability to collaborate with international organizations such as the “Foundation of Hope for Tomorrow,” Shriners Hospitals for Children and the McGill University Health Center (MUHC).
Additionally, she has had the honor of consulting the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in designing and implementing training programs concerning Afghan culture for Canadian troops in preparation for their assigned missions in Afghanistan.
President & Founder
Makai Harif is the founder and president of the AWC of Montreal. With a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Physics, she worked as a teacher and a school principal for more than 20 years in Afghanistan. Due to the socio-political instability there, she moved to Russia with her children with the hope that she would go back to her home country after 3 months, but ended up staying there for over 8 years.
After going through the long and harsh path refugees often face, she founded a Centre for Refugees in Russia with the aim of supporting others. In March 2000, Makai and her family immigrated to Canada in order to find a secure and peaceful place to live. With a profound understanding of the trials and hardships faced by immigrant women, Makai founded the AWC of Montreal in 2002.
Since then, she has worked tirelessly lifting up and supporting immigrant women from all over the world. She has supported hundreds of women and their families within a wide range of needs: housing, employment, legal and social needs, language barriers, celebration of key holidays, and much more. Her loyalty, selflessness, and dedication, and knowledge are all model qualities for those who wish to serve as volunteers within the organisation.
Leili moved to Montreal in 1998, where she has been involved in the cultural scene for over 20 years through her work with Radio Chavak, HafteH magazine, and various cultural organizations. Her experience with cultural communities in Montreal serves as an invaluable contribution to the AWC, as we always welcome different perspectives to strengthen our organization. In 2009, she created the "Savalan Cultural Group,'' which organizes activities to promote Turkish language and culture. Leili also uses her experience in organizing activities to plan our events and develop our activities.
Wida is a highly educated woman with an academic background in medicine specializing in Pediatrics and is an active member of the Centre's board of directors. Following her training in Pediatrics in Russia, her desire to support and treat refugees and immigrants motivated her to work for the Red Cross as a physician. In 2001, Wida moved to Canada. She was able to demonstrate her resilience by overcoming obstacles to continue her studies in nursing, highlighting her determination and perseverance.
Morukh, a woman deeply committed and involved in women's issues, holds a Bachelors of Science from Kabul University and a Certificate in Health Science from Masar-e sharif Hospital. In addition to being highly educated, her various professional experiences have allowed her to develop her gift in leadership, empathy, and altruism. In 2016, she moved to Canada, and has since been involved in the AWC as a board member, once again demonstrating her commitment to the cause of refugee women. Her hard work has contributed greatly to the development of the Centre.
Our new board members Homariah Hariva is an experienced civil engineer with a background working in government. She has used her expertise to work in many notable corporations such as the German ‘GIZ’ company. At the AWCM, Homariah’s experience in the technical world will be a great contribution to our centre in terms of logistical planning for our events as well as coordinating activities.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
We believe all women can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can change the world.