Victoria is a Strategic Planning and Senior Advisor at the AWCM, where she began volunteering in 2007. Currently serves as the Executive Director of the Afghan Women’s Centre of Montreal. Her career spans over 15 years in the non-profit, NGO & corporate sectors. She has dedicated her life to advocating on behalf of social justice, women’s rights, women empowerment, and gender equity. These values have animated her international involvement in so many 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. These scientific and language skills have greatly facilitated her ability to collaborate with international organizations such as the “Foundation of Hope for Tomorrow,” Shriner’s Hospitals for Children and the McGill University Health Center (MUHC).
Additionally, she has consulted to the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, designing and implementing training programs on Afghan culture for Canadian troops in preparation for their assigned missions in Afghanistan.
Sebastian is a political scientist interested in human rights, humanitarianism, and refugees’ rights. He immigrated to Montreal from in 2012 to pursue his post-secondary education. As a Communication Agent at the Afghan Women’s Centre of Montreal, Sebastian serves as liaison between our internal and external stakeholders, strengthening the collaboration between us and our partners, donors and friends. His passion for community service and social justice make him a valuable member of the team, effectively helping the Centre achieve its mission.
Adenikè is a recent graduate of the master's degree in international law and politics from the Université du Quebec à Montréal. Her master's research focused on an intersectional analysis of the deprivation of citizenship of Shamima Begum in the United Kingdom. She also holds a bachelor degree in Political Science (Major in international relations). She has always been committed to the empowerment and development of women throughout the world and has therefore decided to join the AWCM.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President & Founder
Makai Harif, a passionate, dedicated and highly educated volunteer is the founder and the president of the Afghan Women’s Centre 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 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 more than 8 years. After going through the long and harsh path of a refugee, 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. With a profound understanding of the trials and hardships faced by immigrant women, she founded the Afghans Women’s Centre of Montreal in 2002. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to fulfil her vision of 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 issues, social needs, language barriers, celebration of key holidays and more. Her loyalty, selflessness, and dedication are all model qualities for those who wish to serve as volunteers within the organisation.
Mohrukh, a woman deeply committed and involved in women's issues, holds a Bachelor of Science degree 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 many skills and qualities such as leadership, empathy and altruism.
In 2016, she moved to Canada since then she is involved in the Centre 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.
Wida Azizi 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 to 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 and many others to continue her studies in nursing, highlighting her determination and perseverance.
Leili Khagani moved to Montreal in 1998, where she has been involved in the cultural scene for over 20 years, as she has been involved in Radio Chavak, the magazine ‘HafteH’ and various cultural organizations. Her experience with cultural communities in Montreal will serve as an invaluable contribution to the AWCM as we always welcome different perspectives to strengthen our organization. In 2009 she created the "Savalan Cultural Group,'' which organizes activities to promote the Turkish language and culture. Khagani will also be using her experience in organizing activities to plan our events and develop our activities.
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.
Lindsay Larios holds a PhD degree in political science graduated from Concordia University. Her research and writing focus on immigration and family policy in Canada, in particular how they impact immigrant women.
Lindsay came to know the Afghan Women’s Center in 2015 when she contacted the Center for a project, she was working on related to refugee women and caregiving. Shortly after this, she began to help writing grant applications as a volunteer in various applications to federal government funding opportunities.
Basic Computer Literacy - Assistant
Gulpana Dayaan is an experienced computer teacher, with a focus on softwares and hardwares. When she moved to Montreal, she used her background in Economics to garner a position working as a manager at a bank. Gulpana’s dedication to helping refugees allows her to be a great addition to our team as she will be using her passion to make the centre a welcoming place for others as it was for her.
We believe all women can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can change the world.