community events


Ashima, Meera, Sonia, Diana, Jasmine, Rachel, Nadiya, Mandeep, Zavaré, Iman, Kirpa, Ruby, Angela, Sarah


With a communications, media & culture background, Ashima Suri takes pride in using her knowledge in human rights issues to create a positive change in society. She currently works with young persons with disabilities as an Employment Specialist and she has been performing for over 15 years.


Meera Solanki is the Editor of SUHAAG Magazine, North America’s largest South Asian Wedding, Fashion and Lifestyle magazine. She is also an Advertising Account Manager at the W Network, Canada ’s #1 television network for women. She has worked at both SUHAAG and the W Network for the past five years. Meera earned her BBA degree from the Schulich School of Business as well as a post-graduate degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting from Seneca College.


Half South Asian and half European, Sonia Pahwa has a passion for social justice. She has been teaching martial arts for the past 12 years and recently has been focusing on teaching martial arts to women and children. Sonia has an interest in the dramatic arts, particularly to raise awareness to such issues brought out in meri kahani: my story. She is excited about being part of a production that challenges the difficulties faced by many women in her culture.


Born in Mumbai, Diana Katgara moved to Toronto at the age of 10. She has been actively involved in violence against women advocacy, primarily engaging with South Asian women in Toronto. Diana was in Bhopal, India working with survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide (Dow Chemical) Gas Disaster who are still fighting for rational health care and protection from the contamination of their drinking water from the abandoned factory’s chemical waste.


Jasmine Sawant has a lengthy and varied background in theatre and film and is the co-founder of SAWITRI. She started her theatre work in India with actors like Paresh Rawal and Shafi Inamdar but took several years off for marriage and motherhood. While in Mumbai, Jasmine has written, directed and acted in plays in French and German, She continued to work in theatre in Saudi Arabia, where she also wrote and directed several plays for children. Jasmine’s passion for the arts is evident in her ongoing contribution to the South Asian performing arts in the community.


Rachel Nazareth is a Graduate Student studying Theology at the University of Toronto, through Regis College. She is a passionate advocate for women's rights and recognizes that women's individual stories have much to contribute to this issue. Shame is a powerful oppressor; and only by breaking the silence will women find true freedom and justice. This play is a fantastic portrayal of this idea and Rachel is proud to be a part of it.


Nadiya Shah is an actress, singer, published writer, and astrologer. As a creative soul, her work has been presented in various forms throughout North America. Her website is nadiyashah.com


As a practicing social worker, youth worker, and community worker for the past 10 years, Mandeep aspires to contribute to the fight against patriarchy in the world. She is currently working towards her PhD in the Adult Education and Community Development program at OISE and finished a Master's in Social Work, from the UofT. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Mandeep finished her BA in Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria.  Since arriving in Toronto three years ago she has been active in the South Asian community on various fronts, including work as a Violence Against Women counselor where she was providing support and education to predominantly new immigrant communities. Mandeep had her first debut in the critically acclaimed play "I am not a dinner mind" written and directed by Trey Anthony and Rachel-lea Richards, and has been with the Meri Kahani family since its beginnings. She is hoping to continue her studies and activist work in the field of VAW, particularly exploring the impacts of patriarchy and intergenerational violence on the lives of second generation South Asian women living in Canada.


Zavaré Tengra has been acting since his college days in Karachi, Pakistan. His directorial debut was Doongajee House (1992). He has acted in and directed numerous comedies such as Princess Booblita and Maneck ni Masi; he produced several song and dance revues including Best of Broadway and Lighthouse Collection. He had collaborated with US-based fashion designer Rubina Calzoom and leading Pakistani designer Shayan Malik to choreograph stage musicals and fashion shows. In Toronto, he has organized South Asian floats for PRIDE and is part of the trio that puts together Besharam, the largest South Asian dance event. He works as a sexual health counselor for a local clinic.


Dancer, choreographer, fitness instructor, entrepreneur Iman Grewal has been dancing since she was 6 years old. With her passion for dance and the arts growing after training in India in both Khatak and Bharatnatyam, she started her own entertainment company, Kama Entertainment (www.kamaent.com), also the ambassador in teaching Bollywood fitness classes in Toronto. Iman does Youth mentoring classes and workshops at various community centers in Toronto for young women and is always actively involved in Social work and women’s rights issues which is closest to her heart.


Kirpa Kaur is a Punjabi Canadian born Sikh woman, currently studying Social Equity at the University of Toronto . Kirpa hopes to continue to work to bring light, equity and justice to the issue of violence against women and children. She is honored to be apart of the Meri Kahani: My Story cast, as a first time actor.


Ruby Butt is a certified and experienced make-up artist and esthetician. She is also a Senior IT Analyst at Grant Thornton LLP. Ruby earned her B.Comm degree and certificate in Human Resources Mgmt at Ryerson University . She has a passion for public speaking and participating in South Asian culture. She aspires to be a successful female role model for younger South Asian women, and believes that maintaining an even balance of South Asian and Western culture, is paramount to her success in all aspects of life.


Angela has a passion for social justice and ending violence against women. For the past 5 years she has worked for the Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse (PCAWA) where she is currently the Project Manager. Angela graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Toronto and is currently working towards obtaining her MSW. Angela feels honoured to be in the cast of “Meri Kahani” as it is an innovative, wonderful tool to raise awareness of contentious issues within the South Asian community.


Sarah R. Menzies is 10 years old and in the 5th grade at St. Rene Goupil. Her favourite subject is English and her favourite color is violet.