Who We Are

We support the mental health of refugees who arrive in British Columbia with psychological trauma as a result of torture, political violence, and other forms of persecution on the basis of race, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Starting with a group of human rights activists and mental health workers gathered in Vancouver to support refugees arriving from the armed conflicts in Central America, in 1986, the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (“VAST”) turned the BC’s largest centre for refugee mental health.

100

countries (even more) in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America are origins of refugees VAST works with nowadays.

12

languages are supported by our programs and services, including Arabic, Farsi, French, Mandarin, and Spanish.

We Are People Working

Sonya Sabet-Rasekh
Lawyer (VAST Board Member)
Sara Maria Gomez Lopez
Intake & Engagement Coordinator (intake & outreach)
Oversight of Intake Team, Client Outreach
Rawan Moon
Intake Support Worker (intake & outreach)
Client outreach, Community Events, Arabic Orientation Group
Rai Friedman
Research (reserach & documentation center)
Rahila Farooq
RDC (reserach & documentation center)
Psychology, Theater
Paula
(clinical team)
Paige Slight
(clinical team)
Nick Lopez
Accountant (VAST Board Member)
Nazanin Ahmadi
Website (communications)
Updates to website
Munaza Elahi
Silk Enterprise (VAST Board Member)
Minoo Asadi
RCC
Clinical Counsellor (clinical team)
Individual Sessions In Farsi
Michelle Yau
Lawyer (VAST Board Member)
Melanie McDonald
Social Worker/Counsellor (VAST Board Member)
Max Norton
Website (communications)
Updates to website, Research
Matthew Borghese
Communications (VAST Board Member)
Matias Hacker
RCC
Clinical Counsellor (clinical team)
Expressive arts therapy, Group Facilitation, Supervision, General counseling questions
Mariana Martinez Vieyra
RCC
Clinical Supervisor (clinical team)
Supervision, Provincial & National Advocacy, Individual & Group, Trainings for other orgs
Maria Victoria Kenny
Interpreter/Move & Relax Instructor (clinical team)
Daily movement classes, Interpretation
Maria Fernanda Medrano
RCC
Clinical Counsellor (clinical team)
Individual Counselling, Group Support, General counseling questions
Mahnaz Amirhosseini
Intake Support Worker (intake & outreach)
Client outreach
Mackenzie Do
Admin Associate (operations & admin)
Admin Support, Inputting Data to CTS and Drive and Accessing Drive
Luksaz Felczak
Expressive Arts Therapist (clinical team)
Expressive arts therapy
Leila Johnson
Voices Against Torture (reserach & documentation center)
VAT Editorial Board, Trauma-Informed Yoga
Leigh Matthews
Freelance Writer (VAST Board Member)
Laura Meneses
Intake Support Worker (intake & outreach)
Client outreach, Colombian Truth Commission
Justin Bains
Social Media (communications)
Posting to social media and Access to social media accounts
Joelle Schaffer
Communications (communications)
Developing PPTs (content & format) and Research
Jodie Gauthier
Lawyer (VAST Board Member)
Jhevoi Melville
Intake Support Worker (intake & outreach)
Client outreach, fundraising
Jamal Nabavi
Clinical Counsellor (clinical team)
Individual Sessions in Farsi
Hosnia Shekib
Intake Support Worker (communications)
Interpretation & Translation
Frank Cohn
MSW
Executive Director (operations & admin)
Current projects or events, Questions about funding, donors, or project partners; Onboarding a new employee or volunteer
Fatima Haidari
Co-facilitator for Survivors Adocate Program (reserach & documentation center)
Farooq Mehdi
Editor In Chief, Voices Against Torture (reserach & documentation center)
Questions or updates about Voices Against Torture
Elena Hack
Expressive Arts Therapist (clinical team)
Expressive arts therapy
Dr. Rahul Soma
Doctor of Psychiatry
Psychiatrist (clinical team)
Client evaluations, treatment plans, assessments, and treatment results
Dr. Dana Shuster
Doctor of Psychology
Psychologist (clinical team)
Individual Sessions of therapy
Brian Thomas-Peter
Retired/Author (VAST Board Member)
Avi Haligua
DTES Outreach (intake & outreach)
Atousa Raghami
Finance and Operations Manager (operations & admin)
Day to day operations, Questions about budgets or finances, Room or event bookings, Onboarding a new employee or volunteer
Anitha Amarnath
Website (communications)
Updates to website
Anderson Araujo
Website (communications)
Website Design and Updates to website
Amanda Kutner
Ali Alsharhanee
(clinical team)
Aleksandra Djordjevic
Research (reserach & documentation center)
Research & Writing
Alejandra Rodriguez
(clinical team)

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Past Volunteers

Since 1986, VAST has had hundreds of committed, skillful volunteers helping to bring our mission to life. Below is a short alphabetical list of some of our volunteers. If you have been a volunteer in the past, we would love to hear from you, please reach out to our ED: frank@vast-vancouver.ca

Iyabo Abass-Opere • Eva Aboud • Amiri Abouzar • Monica Aguado • Abdul-Aziz Al-RUBAYE • Alana • Huda Al-Saedy • Angelica Alejandra • Abdulamir Ali • Shahla Ali • Mehmet Ali Can • Mohammad Alimardan • Siham Alkhashief • Dina Aloi • Beatriz Alvarez • Anitha Amarnath • Suhair Amin • Abouzar Amiri • Emma Andrews • Neda Ansari • Eduardo Aragon • Anderson Araújo de Miranda • Barbara Arnold • Jose Luis Ayala Alavez • Puneh Erfan Bahrami • Dr. Robert J. Baker • Mamoud Ghafele Bashi • Peter Baza • Fabiola Bazo • Peter Bazovsky • Melissa Beedle • Gholamreza Behboudi • Carmen Bellows • Laura Best • Patricia P Blendal • Conrad Bowden • Pamela Bromley • Bediako Buahene • Dawit Likasa Bulcha • Eduardo Bureos • Pablo Bustos • Alper Caglayan • Shannon Caldwell • Jackie Challis • Alex Charlton • Donna Chen • Brian Chittock • Beverley Como • Craig Costantino • Manuela Costantino • Paul Coulter • Claudette Court • Devyn Cousineau • Joanne Crandall • Marilyn Crystal • Janice Cywinski • Guergen Dankwort • Nooshin Daya • Dr. Yaya de Andrade • Ruben del Muro • Anna Derbis • Michael Dhaliwal • Christina Dhami • Amrit Dhatt • Mira Dodig • Taraneh Erfan • Hassan Erfan • Mahshid Esfandiari • Adriana Espinoza • Danilo Estrada • Denise Faccini • Shokoh Filom • Mehriar Filom • Adrian Fine • Noreen Finerty • Duane Fontaine • Carol Forcier • Rosie Forth • Teya France • Fran Gallo • Dr. Soma Ganesan • Jodie Gauthier • Sareh Geary • Davood Ghavami • Genesis Gonzales-Leang • Oscar Gonzalez • Brian Green • Rita Green • Irene Guinand • Tamara Guyon • Masoud Habibian • Matias Hacker • Elizabeth Hafeli • Saif Hammed • Gail Harmer • Hamid Hashemi • Erik Hellgren • Michael Wilkins Ho • Negar Hooshmand • Katherine Hoover • Kirby Huminuik • James Hutchinson • Heyin Insookim • Ahmad Saleh Khary Ismail • Mauro Jao • Jeff • Satpal Jheeta (Saph) • Azadeh Joharjfard • Susan Johnston • Kambiz Joolaie • Mahpareh Kadri Mokri • Riba Kalb • Golmehr Kazari • Jemal Kenhar • Hossein Kia • Myung Hak kim • Maureen Kirkpatrick • Graham Kosakoski • Selim Koyuncu • Sebnem Koyuncu • Niko Kozobolidis • Freya Kristensen • Anna Kristensen • Greta Kubiliute • Petros Faltamo Kurka • Henry Kurnia • Kie Langille • Harvey Larochelle • Sandra Leang • Yaneth Ledesma • Kathleen Lehan • Shaina Lehan • Jean Lempriere • Ross Lempriere • Sally Li • Augusta Lokhorst • Lise Loubert • Leona Anyi Lu • Jovana Lukic • Hui Luo • Geoff Lyon • Kaleen M’Namara • Clair MacGougan • Sarah MacQueen • Frances MacQueen • John MacQueen • Melia Mah • Joseph Makom • Norma Marcos • Aurelie Marguerite • Erin Marshall • Rosana Martinez • Mariana Martinez Vieyra • Neazi Marzieh • Dr. Gabor Maté • Leigh Matthews • Richard Mauti • Dylan Mazur • Carolyn McCool • Tiffany McFadyen • Trilby McGaw • Kate McLean • Dave McMurran • Sacha Medine • Shonee Mendoza • Victoria Mendoza • Dhaliwal Michael • Michael Milligan • Anne Mills • Naomi Minwalla • Jamal Mirmiran • Yoko Mizuno • Rahman Mofti • Kristin Moller • Shane D. Molyneaux • Paige Morrow • Ashkan Mosavatchi • Jennifer Moss • Arvin Mossavatchi • Maryam Mousavian • Ismael Mubarak • Kathleen Muir • Ethan Murchie • Allison Muth • Marisol Nacho • Ana maria Nacif • Eyob Naizghi • Ahmad Nakhaei • Marzieh Neazi • Jeff Neff • Mehdi Niavarani Zadeh • Azar Niazi • Andrea Noakes • Talisa Nyte • Karen O’Connor • Paul Okhous • Cindy Pan • Adriane Pasa • Valerie Patrick • Diane Payette • Sara Paynter • Nevenka (Beba) Peric • Anne Perival • Kim Peterson • Nilda Phillips Phillips • Rebeca Pinca • Nelson Pineros • Barineka Pius Gbarazia • Paul Plut • Jake Pogoson • Jill Pollack • Antony Porcino • Alfredo Porras • DeeDee Poyner • Terry Preston • Michael Priest • Erin Pritchard • Tarique Qayumi • Sarah Race • Rahila • Setareh Raj • Pablo Francisco Ramirez • Vikki Reynolds • Christopher Richmond • Kirstin Ridout • Gayle Robinson • Shirley Roburn • Carolina Rojas • Sandra Rose • Saba • Sadiq • Taiseer Sadiq • Fatemeh Sadri • Eidy Sadri • Mohamed Said • Massoud Saidi • Merlin Saint Germain • Thomas Salley • Mehri Samiee • Astarte Sands • Heleen Sandvik • Harkamal Sangha • Naoko Sasaki • Linda Schucroft • Stephanie Sersli • Rosa Sevy • Ali Shahin • Asai Shahin • Brooke Shakspeare • Abisheikh Sharma • Tricia Sharp • Farid Sherazi • Goli Shifteh • Mady Sieben • Rekha Singh • Joshua Sohn • Andrea Sola • Bozena Soltys • Gultaj Somani • Dani Srour • Lesley Stalker • Irene Sternitzke • John Steven • Peter Stockholder • Zool K.B. Suleman • Magdalena Sweetgrass • Salimeh Tabirizi • Shalene Takara • Carrie Taylor • Yasmin Tayob • Shireen Tayob Folsen • Scott J. Tebbutt • Aun Than • Mariam Theophanous • Deb Thomas • Soraya Thomas • Christine Thomas • Brian Thomas Peter • Kate Thomas-Peter • Gordon Thompson • Corina Tomlinson • Eric Tse • Adriana Tweedlie • Azam Tyab • Katia Tynan • Catherine Vail • Patrik Valerie • Marieke Vandenhende • Ruperto Vazques • Felipe Vega • Guillermo Verdecchia • Irma Vidal • Anna Vorobyova • Amita Vulimiri • Harmony Wagner • Ali Wajir Hellabad • Wahan Wanis • Dana Wasserman • Seiko Watanabe • Sandi Watson • Rene Weideman • Brenda Wemp • Ben West • Peter Williamson • Hassan Wojcik • Sarah Wojcik • Angela Wong • Emily Wong • Yvonne Woo • Joseph Wosk • Elaine Wynne • Kay Young • Barb Young • Ali Yusuf • Farhad Zandi • Hamid Zarei • Michelle Zhang • Maggie Ziegler

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