We are a diverse and complementary team of entrepreneurs from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with a distinct passion for refugee resettlement.
As part of a historic humanitarian effort to welcome 25,000 refugees in Canada, Alberta has welcomed more than 4000 Syrian Refugees and since November 2015 and will settle more in the coming year. This number represents an increase of approximately 66% from previous years.
Our project will focus on securing appropriate and affordable housing, as this was highlighted as the biggest challenge at the resettlement phase. Affordable housing is limited, particularly in urban centres such as Edmonton and Calgary, and family sizes during the last influx were larger than the average Canadian family.
We believe that innovative solutions are the key to safeguarding and offering opportunities to vulnerable refugee populations in Canada and the rest of the world. We will leverage all of our specific skills and partnerships in Alberta to meet the housing needs of newcomer refugees in Alberta. We are building a database of housing availability in partnership with property managers and landlords. Our goal is to make an accessible and affordable application that bridges the gap in refugee language and communication, and protects and provides awareness of refugee rights. Our model will benefit both refugees and property owners, especially during this economic downturn in Alberta where rental availability is peaking. We will simply be connecting supply with demand.
Our model will be readily scalable, adaptable, to reach all refugees and vulnerable newcomers in Canada, and eventually those in Europe and the rest of the world. Our platform will restore the rights and dignity of 10 million refugees by 2022.
Our experience communicating with stakeholders within the refugee and settlement community in Calgary, our strong team dynamics, along with our steadfast commitment to refugee resettlement will prove that we will be a success. We have the dedication, the drive, the stamina to turn our business idea into a reality.
Co-fuge is conceptualized by a dynamic team of highly qualified and committed individuals with diverse background in Social Science, Public administration, Economic, and Engineering.
Salimah Kassamali is a Master of Public Administration graduate from the London School of Economics specializing in economics policy. Prior to studying at LSE, Salimah graduated top of her class in economics from the University of Calgary in 2014 further to an environmental engineering degree in 2009 from the University of Alberta. Salimah has worked for NGO’s in Gujarat and Orissa, at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, and at the City of Calgary. Currently, she is a research and policy officer at the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies in Calgary, Canada.
Hena Qureshi is currently pursuing a MSc. in Health Economics and has completed a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences and a B.A. in Economics. She is the founder of Green Sparrow Care, a non-profit humanitarian organization. She is also a certified CPR & First Aid Instructor for Heart and Stroke Canada and the Canadian Red Cross. Hena has been volunteering since a young age and believes the best way to help someone is to provide them with the necessary tools and knowledge to help them help themselves. She believes empowering individuals through self-actualization will help each person realize their potential to change their own situation and lead a sustainable and healthier life.
Sultan Khetani is a Biomedical engineer from India who has worked on several engineering and management project in India, US, and in Canada. He has co-founded Critical Care Diagnostic and 2500Sense, medical device startup developing consumer-oriented diagnostic devices. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Calgary, Canada.
Yangyang Fang is a PhD student in the Department of Community Health Sciences specializing in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies. She majored in psychology and law for her BA at the University of Utrecht and holds a diploma of Fine Arts from the Utrecht Academy of Arts. She completed a Master’s in Social and Cultural Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Master’s in Art Therapy from New York University, where she was a Fulbright scholar. She is currently Vice-President of the University of Calgary Graduate Students’ Association, the Chair of the Alberta Graduate Provincial Advocacy Council, founder of student network Cam-Unity, and a University of Calgary Senator. Yangyang has worked extensively with immigrant children and families in New York, Bolivia, and Milan and has an extensive background in international broadcast media, which she has used as a tool for social integration. Growing up between China and the Netherlands, Yangyang has always been fascinated by culture, psychology, and human relations. She fervently believes in an inclusive society and in preserving the rights and dignity of all persons.