Community leader Shashi Assanand leaves powerful legacy

EVA BC shares the sadness across the anti-violence sector in the passing of a highly respected community leader Shashi Assanand.

In 1991 Shashi Assanand founded the Vancouver Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services Society (VLMFSS), a non-profit organization that offers “free and confidential services to immigrant, visible minority, refugee and women without immigration status and their families who are experiencing family violence.”

Shashi went on to lead the organization as its executive director for the next 26 years.

Her work brought her honours: from YWCA’s Women of Distinction Award, an honorary doctorate from the University of British Columbia, to the province’s highest recognition with the Order of BC.

But it was in the anti-violence community and the lives of those she helped, guided and mentored where her loss is perhaps felt the most.

VLMFSS continues to be involved with EVA BC and delivers several EVA BC programs.

Shashi also closely collaborated with EVA BC, serving as a valued member of EVA BC’s Community Coordination for Women’s Safety (CCWS) Working Group for decades until 2018 and was a key member of our project team for the Safety of Immigrant, Refugee, and Non-Status Women Project (IWP).

“Shashi was a dear friend, mentor and a wise leader,” said EVA BC’s executive director, Ninu Kang. “She was bold and brave in naming the systemic challenges experienced by equity seeking groups, including immigrant and refugee women. I remember long conversation of strategizing about how we could work collaboratively with mainstream services to ensure that all survivors receive culturally and linguistically sensitive supports. Her impact on the individuals she helped and the work of responding to gender-based violence in the multicultural community and the community at large in the Lower Mainland will continue to leave a powerful legacy for years to come.”

The VLMFSS has invited those who remember Shashi to leave their thoughts and comments here.

In lieu of flowers they request donations to the Shashi Assanand Bursary for Graduating Grade 12 students, and they ask that you either earmark the donation on CanadaHelps or send a cheque directly to the Vancouver & Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services Society.