Sahar Jafrani, Founder & Executive Director

Sahar is the Executive Director & Founder at the Institute for Youth Health and Development. She leads program development, research and advocacy projects at the organization and is a passionate activist, public speaker, and writer who feels most at home at the intersections of storytelling, education, & innovation. She believes deeply in the power of collective leadership, participatory research, stories, and community to drive us towards socio-political change.

As a second generation immigrant, her personal experience and experiences working with racialized, immigrant, and newcomer/refugee youth inspired the vision for the Institute for Youth Health and Development. Witnessing the ways in which youth slip through the cracks in our systems,  she advocates for disrupting power dynamics, empowering vulnerable populations, and collaboratively deconstructing how to address the challenges they face. Her professional background outside of IYHD has included strategic communications & campaigns, working in South America on youth-wellbeing, and mental health and resilience advocacy work.

Sahar possesses a double major honours bachelors degree from York University in Health Science/ Kinesiology and English literature - a marrying of her love for art and science. She also studied Public Relations at the University of Toronto and is currently completing a Masters of Public Health (Global Health specialization). Outside of IYHD’s events, you are most likely to find Sahar in her favourite places: dance studios, basketball courts, & bookstores.