Rathika was born in Sri Lanka and came to Canada with her family at the age of five.
Rathika’s political, social, and cultural consciousness took shape early on in her life as her parents have been community activists who worked towards the advancement and injection of Tamil culture into the Canadian fabric.
Rathika attended the University of Toronto for the first two years of her undergraduate studies, where she was the Vice-President of the Tamil Students’ Association. She then transferred to Carleton University, where she completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree.
While attending Carleton University, Rathika served as a Vice-President of the Carleton University Students’ Association, as Caucus Chair of the New University Government, and as Operations Manager with the Rideau River Residence Association.
Rathika proceeded to obtain a Master’s Degree in Industrial Relations from Queen’s University, where she worked with the Service Employees’ International Union as a researcher and helped the organization to successfully launch the “Justice 4 Janitors” Campaign.
Since the age of nine, Rathika has been making a difference at the grassroots level as a volunteer and community organizer in various capacities. Her inspiration for political participation stems from the student movement, the labour movement, and pursuit of social justice. The causes which are close to her heart include poverty reduction, affordable housing, access to education, employment equity, immigration, and the preservation of Tamil language and culture.
Rathika became involved with the New Democratic Party in 2004 by volunteering in the Ed Broadbent federal election campaign. Since then, Rathika has continued her involvement with the NDP in different capacities. In the 2008 federal election, Rathika was a canvasser and campaign manager.
Before her successful election as MP for Scarborough-Rouge River, Rathika worked at the University of Toronto Students’ Union.
Rathika was voted “Best MP” by Now Magazine in 2012.
In 2011, Minu Jose made history as being the first South Indian woman in Canada to win the prestigious Miss India Worldwide Canada title. A talented classical dancer with panache for contemporary dance, Minu also took home subtitles for “Best Talent” and most well-spoken contestant. Her win opened the doors for many other South Indian women in Canada to participate in the forthcoming years.
Winning the national event led her to ultimately becoming the official Canadian delegate at the international Miss India Worldwide competition held in Dubai, UAE where she shone again as one of the most well-spoken delegates.
Minu holds degrees in Applied Science & Engineering from the University of Toronto. Presently in the process of pursuing graduate studies in Engineering and Education, Minu is one of the youngest professors teaching Mechanical Engineering & Mathematics in Toronto. She is testament to the fact that women can maintain a balance between being successful in a male-dominated technical industry as well as in the performing and creative arts.
Smt. Mala Pisharody grew up in a family of Sanskrit and Malayalam scholars with a passion for art in Kerala, India. She received her training in Bharathanatyam and Mohiniyattam under the tutelage of Shri. K. Venkatesh of the Balaji Kala Bhavan and Smt. Kalamandalam Husna Bhanu respectively. She has also been trained in Kathakali by Shri. Narippatta Narayanan Namboodiri and South Indian Classical Music by Smt. Babitha Narayan and Smt. Suma Shridharan and has completed her Gana Bhooshanam Diploma in Music. Mala continues her artistic journey under the tutelage of the renowned Mohiniyattam exponent Kalamandalam Leelamma, Bharathanatyam exponent Smt. Chithra Visweswaran and Shri. K.Venkatesh. Mala is a graded performing artist with the Doordarshan Kendra in India for both Mohiniyattam and Bharathanatyam and has performed extensively across India.
Mala immigrated to Canada in 2004 to join her husband in Toronto and immediately became one of the Artistic Directors of the Adishankara Academy of Performing Arts in Mississauga, Ontario. The Academy currently not only gives performances in Mohiniyattam, Bharathanatyam and Kathakali all across North America and India but also provides specialized training in the first two of these three art forms. Mala has also participated in several productions of the Janak Khendry Dance Company, Toronto such as the Upanishads, Moods of the Rhythms, Gayatri, Mallari, Chandrakauns and Ganga in North America, Mexico and India. She has also worked on a contemporary production titled “Shakti” of the late legendary Chandralekha remounted here in Toronto by the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company.
Mala has also performed at several renowned South Asian events held across North America such as Masala Mehendi Masti, South Asia Calling, Carassauga, Carabram, Markham South Asian Festival, Harbourfront Festival, Panorama India Republic and Independence Day Celebrations, Indian Dance Festival Colorado, Swati Festival Orange County and the Kerala Hindus of North America Conferences in Los Angeles and Washington. Her academy has exhibited the richness and beauty of South Asian dance amongst Canadian organizations such as the Royal Ontario Museum as well as the Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce. They are also actively involved in the cultural festivities hosted across the country by several reputed associations such as the OHM Cultural Association, Mississauga Malayalee Samajam, Toronto Malayalee Samajam, Canadian Malayalee Association, Niagara Falls Malayalee Samajam, Malayalee Association of Social Workers Of Ontario, Bharath Seva Sangam (Montreal), Madras Arts and Cultural Association, Chennai Rhythms, Dhwani, Amma Foundation and Chinmaya Shivalaya. Mala was recognized by the Canada Arts Council as an emerging artist in the field of Mohiniyattam in 2012 and would like to acknowledge their support in all of her endeavours.
After my marriage I went to Saudi and lived there for 15 years. I worked as a teaching assistant in an American International school. During those years, I started playing shuttle badminton as a beginner. Within a short period I became one of the top players in Championship flight. I have won several prizes for singles, ladies doubles and mixed doubles. I have represented different parts of the Middle East. I have volunteered as a Secretary and Treasurer for a Saudi American oil company’s Badminton club. In the year 2000 I immigrated with my family to Canada. In 2004 I became the Secretary of a revived association, Mississauga Kerala Association which had been inactive for 4 years. For the last 3 years I worked as the President of this organization till February 2014. I always find time for this voluntary association to promote our Indian culture to our new generation. I have 4 children and I am working as well. But I never felt the involvement in voluntary activities as unnecessary nor did all of it hinder me from bringing up my children or achieving my goals. I also took initiative to form a ladies dance team so that all these ladies can have some fun time other than their family chores. We are a very strong group and have performed variety of dances on different stages and won prizes for the best Kaikottukali team for 3 years continuously. Looking back, I feel, I have accomplished a lot as a mother and as a woman.
Maria Easow Jobson:
and brought up in Kerala, India and educated at All India Medical Institute of
Science, New Delhi, Maria Jobson immigrated to join her husband to Canada in 1995. Maria started her Nursing
career in Hamilton, Ontario and then moved to Markham Toronto in 1997. Since
she has been working for Markham Stouffville Hospital.
Maria Easow , won the Dr.Robert J.Gall Award of Excellence for 2013 in recognition for her dedicated work and compassion towards the community. This award is been nominated by the community and gone through a selection process by the Markham Stouffville Hospital Senior Management Award selection committee. She has also received many other awards of excellence during her career.
Currently she works as a Manager of Cardiac and Telemetry unit at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Maria is a resident of Markham and a proud mother of 2.
All I do is helping Children and Youth to get themselves involved in the community, get in touch with our culture, follow human values, showcase their arts , remember our language and practice recycling.This is our second mother land and more than education, they must do something to the community and be good Citizens. I am not educated that well in Honors or whatsoever....but the only power I have is to convince people/youth to follow the above mentioned. Every single family/member treat me as their family member for which I am thankful to God. They trust me and believe my words and I am sure is the greatest wealth I earned by JUST LOVE. Lots of youth are following me and that has given me more strength to do more to diversified community youth. I volunteer different divisions of Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke, Canadian Blood Services, City of Pickering, Town of Ajax, Ajax Home Week, JAM Fest, CASSA's Toronto Mela, Ajax Library, WMRCC, ICCAD, DRPS, DDSB, Social Services Canada, Court Services of Durham, local schools, Ajax Welcome Center, SSN, CAC etc., and currently working on contributing something to Autistic children. This is my bio. And I have not applied for any award ,a I think award shouldn't be self applied. One must earn it. And moreover, social work doesn't need to be recognized,as it is like you going to a worship place and not a competitive ground.
A Travel Agent by profession Jennifer has been living in Canada since 1996, with her husband and two sons.