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Chief Executive Officer 

Victoria Jahesh's profound impact at the Afghan Women's Centre of Montreal (AWCM) is marked by her unwavering commitment to advocacy and empowerment. As the Executive Director, she has championed social justice, women's rights, and gender empowerment, channeling her passion into initiatives that resonate across the community. Her strategic leadership and vision has been instrumental in driving AWCM's mission to new heights, fostering an environment where women can learn, lead, and thrive.


Under Victoria's guidance, AWCM has become a beacon of support for vulnerable and marginalized women, offering programs and resources that address their unique needs. Her innovative approach to healthcare information dissemination has ensured that the community, especially newly arrived individuals, can access crucial knowledge in a language they understand.


Victoria's advocacy extends beyond the confines of the centre, with her active participation in conferences and panel discussions shedding light on the challenges faced by Afghan women. Her collaboration with partner organizations amplifies the voices of those who often go unheard, and her influence has been pivotal in driving policy changes and creating awareness about issues affecting marginalized communities.


Furthermore, her dedication to fostering inclusive spaces is evident in AWCM's diverse and impactful initiatives, which empower women to overcome obstacles, connect with their cultural heritage, and integrate seamlessly into Canadian society. Victoria's ability to forge connections, build alliances, and drive meaningful change highlights her role as a dynamic leader within both the AWCM and the broader Montreal community.


Victoria's medical expertise extends beyond collaboration; she actively engages in preventive healthcare strategies for specific diseases and mental health concerns. Her comprehensive research spans diverse topics, including COVID-19. Victoria's passion for medicine is also evident in her dedication to the community. Her thorough analysis, comparing key symptoms of COVID-19, allergies, colds, and influenza, has been instrumental in supporting Montreal's newly arrived population. By utilizing her language proficiency and medical expertise, she committed to expanding health research across multiple languages. Victoria's involvement in the human papillomavirus vaccine underscores her dedication to advancing public health. Her collaborations also extended to nurturing healthy nutritional habits among newly arrived children.


Victoria's legacy at AWCM is one of transformation, compassion, and empowerment. Through her advocacy and tireless efforts, she has uplifted countless lives and continues to be a driving force in shaping a brighter future for Afghan women in Montreal and beyond.

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 Community  outreach 

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 Laision Agent 

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Administrative Assistant 

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Welcome reception 




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.



Vice President 

Leili Khaghani 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's experience in project and activity organizing informs the development and execution of high quality  events and  activities at AWCM. 




Tamara Copney is a lifelong learner who's highly skilled and multidisciplinary experiences have been invaluable to the AWCM.


Tamara moved to Montreal when she was 5 years old, as a first-generation refugee during the Second World War. With no prior knowledge of the languages, she later studied English and French literature as well as Sociology at McGill University. Tamara later studied social work and counselling, as well as a socially-engaged form of theatre.


A jewellery-maker and clothing designer, Tamara  always strives to develop new skills and create community throughout her travels.


Tamara began teaching English as a Second Language over a decade ago, and is delighted to offer assistance with the AWCM's new book focused on senior women in Quebec.





Tamarack Verrall 


We believe all women can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and change the world.

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