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Diverse communities come together to celebrate CASSA’s Toronto Mela

Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA), with support from the City of Toronto hosted over 2,000 people from diverse communities at the second annual Toronto Mela. 
This completely free festival celebrates South Asian cultural heritage while simultaneously linking South Asian and other residents with various relatable services including settlement services, employment and educational opportunities and health services.

Elected representatives, leaders of community organizations and social service sector professionals also attended. 

Community organizations represented at the mela included Family Services Toronto, Flemingdon Health Centre, Sandgate Women’s Shelter of York Region, Skills for Change,

Canadian Diabetes Association, Community Legal Clinic of York Region, Goodwill Employment Services, Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Toronto Collegiate Institute, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Alliance for South Asians AIDS Prevention, Bangladesh Center and Community Services, Canadian Tamil Congress,  Scarborough Women’s Centre and Malvern Newcomer Services for Youth. 

“This is one of the very few festivals held in Toronto that is hosted by a non-profit organization, free of charge, and includes in it strong community development initiatives and social justice components,” said Neethan Shan, Executive Director of CASSA. 

“This event provides a forum where CASSA’s member agencies can raise awareness and work towards economic, social, political and cultural empowerment while celebrating the achievements and talents of our South Asian communities,” he said.

He added, “It further gives attendees the opportunity to find out about resources that are available to help them become engaged members of a more equitable society.” 

While these are important components of the festival and integral to CASSA’s mandate, the focus of the festival was fun.  

Children entertained themselves in the free play area where games and arts were set up, while parents checked out the diverse merchandise offered by over 30 multicultural vendors and service providers. 

Performances in Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil and Bangla reflected the rich diversity within the community.  Dr. Mahbub Hasan, project coordinator with CASSA, said, “We are pleased to have great support from the different segments of the society.” 

Posted: Oct 2, 2013

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