FCJ Refugee Centre

Our Staff

Francisco Rico-Martinez, Co-director
franciscorico@fcjrefugeecentre.org
416-4699754 ext 227

Born in El Salvador, Francisco came to Canada in 1990 with Loly, his wife, and their two children. Soon after their arrival, their third child was born.Formally trained as a lawyer and economist, Francisco has been committed to issues of social justice for as long as he can remember. Starting with work in human rights in El Salvador, then solidarity work in Europe, and now work in the field of Refugee Rights in Canada. He is past president of the Canadian Council for Refugees, and has been recognized for his work with the William P. Hubbard Race Relations Award of the City of Toronto and the YMCA Peace Medallion.

Loly Rico, Co-Director
lolyrico@fcjrefugeecentre.org
416-4699754 ext 224

Loly, formally trained as a physiotherapist, started working with Down Syndrome children in El Salvador, becoming aware of how their human rights were abused, and how the tremendous needs of these children were not addressed by the government. Later on, she became more deeply involved in social justice in El Salvador. Upon arrival in Canada, through her own experience as a refugee she became acutely aware of the situation of refugees in this part of the world. In 1991, she and Francisco founded the FCJ Hamilton House Refugee Project, with the invaluable support of the Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus. Loly has a deep understanding of what is involved in setting up a safe environment for a vulnerable group, one that invites them to rebuild a sense of self, and gives them tools to regain lost confidence. She is currently Co-Director of the Centre, and head of the settlement services programme.In 2004, the City of Toronto awarded her the Constance E. Hamilton Award, for her unflinching commitment and contribution to women’s rights and social justice. She also received the YMCA Peace Medallion.

Carolina Teves, Communications Coordinator
cteves@fcjrefugeecentre.org
416-4699754 ext 226

Carolina earned two bachelors’ degrees from Universidad Centro Americana Jose Simeon Canas (San Salvador) in Education and Journalism. She began work as a teacher of literature in high school. While teaching she began her Journalism degree and her involvement with the university radio station YSUCA. On completion of her degree in Journalism, Carolina committed herself to a career in that field and began work as a journalist with YSUCA. Her work focussed on human rights and Carolina worked at the radio station for over ten years. She continued working at the radio station and also took on a teaching position in 1999 at Universidad Centro Americana to teach radio production: writing, editing etc. In the fall of 2001, Carolina came to Canada from El Salvador with her husband and three children.

Philip Ackerman, Resource Development and Youth Coordinator
packerman@fcjrefugeecentre.org
416-4699754 ext 228

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from the university of Toronto, Philip Ackerman has worked extensively as an adult educator in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Canada. For the past few years Philip has been committed to working with diverse newcomer populations, focusing most of his efforts in working with youth. He has been working as the Resource Development and Youth Coordinator at the FCJ Refugee Centre, where he devotes himself to coordinating an ever-growing youth group, supporting newcomer youth in a variety of different areas. Philip is also committed to the financial stability of the organization, working as the primary fundraiser and resource developer.
Alongside his work at the FCJ Refugee Centre, Philip is also part-time faculty at Seneca College, teaching several courses in two different programs. He is also currently undertaking a Master’s degree in Adult Education and Community Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Tanya Aberman, Research and Project Coordinator
tanya.aberman@fcjrefugeecentre.org
416-4699754 ext 226

After completing a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Tanya moved to the UK where she studied and worked in the area of gender and development. She graduated with an MA from the University of Sussex and worked with international development organizations prioritizing women’s rights in London and Brighton. Tanya returned to Montreal in 2009, where she began working in the settlement sector. This experience lead to an interest in issues of forced migration and human trafficking and a commitment to social justice.

Kanishka Basnayake, Finance and Operations Coordinator
kanishkab@fcjrefugeecentre.org
416-4699754 ext 224

Kanishka began her career in the Accounting field soon after completing high school. She completed the Accounting Technicians Diploma and obtained Life membership of the Association and Licentiate level and Professional part I exams conducted by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka. During her studies, she joined Ernst & Young Chartered Accountants Firm and completed 5 years of practical training in various industry sectors. In 1996, she joined ABN AMRO Bank as the Assistant Internal Auditor. After 5 years of service, Kanishka left the bank to take care of her twin daughters, but became a self- employed business woman and involved herself in the accounting field in her spare time. Together with her family, Kanishka migrated to Canada in 2009 and completed Accounting and payroll administrator diploma at Everest College in 2010 and obtained the Payroll Compliance Practitioner Certification from Canadian Payroll Association. She joined FCJ Refugee Centre in December 2011, after completing some volunteer and contract work in Canada.

Sr. Lois Anne Bordowitz

Sr. Lois Anne Bordowitz is a member of the Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus, a small international congregation (www.fcjsisters.org). She has had a variety of assignments in her life, including teaching, missionary in Sierra Leone for 10 years, social justice ministry including work with refugees in Calgary and in Toronto. In Sierra Leone, Lois Anne was a facilitator for a development education program used extensively in Africa.
Sr. Lois Anne joined the FCJ Refugee Centre in 1996, working with Francisco in organizing workshops, producing manuals, updating website, etc. Presently she is President of the Board of Directors and volunteers one day a week at the Refugee Centre and one day a week at the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre.

 Blanca Cruz
Housing Counsellor
416-4699754 ext 228
blancacruz@fcjrefugeecentre.org

Graduating with a degree in Psychology in Mexico, Blanca has lived in Canada for several years, and been involved in a wide range of community work. She has not only worked as a facilitator for a weekly women’s group, but provided one-on-one counselling and support for diverse populations of newcomer women and children. She has volunteered extensively at the Mennonite New Life Centre, where she became an intern in 2010, and was the facilitator for workshops tailored for women in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association in 2011. In addition to this, she has been closely involved with the FCJ Refugee Centre since 2008, where she is currently working as the Housing Counsellor

Varka Kalaydzhieva
Anti – Human Trafficking Project Coordinator
416-4699754 ext 228
varka@fcjrefugeecentre.org

Varka is the anti-human trafficking coordinator at FCJ Refugee Centre. She came from Bulgaria where she graduated law. Before coming to Canada she briefly worked with the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, an independent non-governmental organization for the protection of human rights. Varka obtained her Master degree in international law at University of Montreal. She worked with Canadian Council for Refugees where her passion for human rights and refugee rights in particular grew even further. FCJ Refugee Centre provided her with opportunity to work with likeminded people whose aspirations for better world free of oppression inspire her every day.

 Diana Gallego
Immigration and Refugee Worker
416-4699754 ext 225
dianagallego@fcjrefugeecentre.org

 Rocio Rivera
Migrant Support Worker
416-4699754 ext 222
rocio. rivera@fcjrefugeecentre. org

Mohammed Bukhres
Health and Well-Being Worker
416-4699754 ext 230
moe.bukhres@fcjrefugeecentre.org

Rosa Solorzano
Event Coordinator and Development Assistant
416-4699754 ext 230
rosas@fcjrefugeecentre.org

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