Marissa Kokkoros (she/her)
Founder and Executive Director
Marissa started her journey in women’s rights doing field work with different organizations around the world. From her travels in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Nepal, Italy, The Balkans and more, she has studied and researched the social position of women and girls in different places, as well as the greater community impact of violence against women and human trafficking.
Through her travels and research, Marissa has made strong ties and fostered deep relationships with fellow feminists and women’s rights defenders around the world. She has worked with local women leaders in different communities and taught English as a second language to women and children in Nepal, Kenya and Italy. Marissa lived in Italy for a number of years, which is where her mother was born and where her experiences supporting sex trafficking survivors began. Marissa has held lasting and loyal friendships with survivors of human trafficking and gender-based violence around the world and believes ‘the sisterhood’ can help heal immense and extreme trauma.
After a long time away from home, Marissa returned to Canada in 2013 and founded Aura Freedom International, plunging head-first into projects and programs addressing gender-based violence and sexual exploitation. Her research on different forms of violence against women in Nepal has been recognized by
different human rights organizations. Marissa is also an active community builder in Toronto, lending her experience to different projects around the city addressing violence against women and girls and sexual exploitation, on top of her work with Aura Freedom International.
Bold and energetic, Marissa’s passion is watching the ripple effects of placing knowledge and power into the hands of women and advocating for governments to address the root causes of violence and exploitation. Her ability to move people through her words and writing is helped by her theatrical past, including writing, acting, singing and clowning in countries affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS. Her heart is wide open and her approach to problems is head-on, wasting no time. She is driven, yet remains compassionate in the face of the many atrocities that Aura Freedom works to eradicate. Her dream is to see peace and freedom enjoyed by all women and girls, but it’s her love for her daughter that keeps the beat of her heart.
Tashin Rodoshi (she/her)
Senior Community Engagement Specialist
Tashin is a Bangladeshi-Canadian immigrant who is passionate about reimagining legal frameworks to advance gender equality and equity for all girls and women. Tashin obtained her Honours B.A. in Law & Society from York University, and throughout her academic career, she has been involved in various youth leadership initiatives across campus and communities in Scarborough. These experiences further solidified her commitment to challenging spaces to adopt a critical intersectional lens to ensure people receive adequate resources and opportunities to thrive in the future. You can find Tashin supporting local farmer’s markets on weekends and training for her next 10k on weekdays.
Danielle Warren (she/her)
Danielle is passionate about supporting communities from an intersectional and feminist lens and has dedicated 5+ years working with various organizations in the Mental Health and Non-Profit fields to coordinate and develop programs that are both trauma and culturally informed. She is a graduate and award-winning student of the University of Toronto’s Neuroscience and Psychology Programs, as well as Humber’s Post-Graduate Certificate in Addictions and Mental Health Program. Danielle has contributed to the field in her various roles as a Program Coordinator, Program Developer, Front-Line Worker, Research Assistant and Taskforce Member, with a majority of her work dedicated to supporting women, children and families.
She is also the co-founder of both a women’s community and children’s charity chapter, and an elected executive for a number of mental health and charitable organizations. Danielle has both led and supported various program and project initiatives to address gaps in services, including independently developing a 10-session psychoeducational group counselling program for a Violence Against Women (VAW) program. She is passionate in her mission to coordinate, manage, and develop new initiatives, programs, and projects within the field to create a more equitable future.
Orlaith Croke-Martin (she/her)
Research Lead & Coordination:
GBV In The Media project
Orlaith grew up in different countries around the world, witnessing and learning about the exploitation of women and girls from a young age. This experience led Orlaith to dedicate her academic career to studying current issues in women’s health, with special attention to how different cultures of sexuality reflect and reinforce gender and sexual inequities which affect its most marginalized communities.
Orlaith is passionate about research that is rooted in lived experiences, that adopts a critical, intersectional and victim-centred approach, and that places the most marginalized community members at its forefront.
Sabrina Lamanna (she/her)
Indigenous Research Lead:
GBV In The Media project
Sabrina is a Ktaqkmukeweq Mi’kmaw (Newfoundland Mi’kmaw) and second generation settler of Italian, Irish, and Scottish descent. She is currently a PhD Candidate in the Law and Society Department at the University of Victoria, located on the unceded territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. Sabrina uses her interdisciplinary education in Criminology and Justice (BA) and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies with a specialization in Transitional Justice (MA) to contribute to Indigenous resurgence, the revitalization of Indigenous laws, and relational transformation that honours Indigenous communities, particularly Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples. As the Indigenous Lead Research Consultant for Aura Freedom’s GBV In The Media project, Sabrina is dedicated to uplifting the aspirational voices of survivors, families, and communities to ensure that both just reporting practices and resolutions to GBV are determined from Indigenous community contexts on their own terms.