LINA SERGIE ATTAr • FOUNDER/CEO
Lina Sergie Attar is founder and CEO of Karam Foundation. She is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo. She was named one of GOOD magazine's 2016 GOOD 100 for Karam's innovative work with Syrian refugees. Her articles and essays have been published in the NYT, Chicago Tribune, Foreign Policy, Politico, The Atlantic, and BBC. She has appeared on CNN, NBC News, BBC News, Huffington Post, NPR and other media outlets. Lina has spoken about the Syrian humanitarian crisis at schools, universities, and institutions including: RISD, Harvard, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, The New School, Phillips Exeter Academy, King's Academy in Jordan, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, New America, the Aspen Institute, and others. Sergie Attar is a co-founder of the How Many More? project, serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of The Syria Campaign, and is a non-resident fellow at New America. See Lina’s TEDx talk here.
NADA HASHEM • DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & Programs
Nada Hashem was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and would frequently travel to Damascus and the Middle East to reunite with family. Nada spent 7 years organizing nationwide and worldwide campaigns to raise awareness about the needs of the people in Syria and the ongoing refugee crisis. Since October 2015, Nada has worked on the development and expansion Karam Foundation’s operations and programs primarily in Syria, Turkey and the US. Outside the office, you can find Nada enjoying nature and probably eating a cookie.
Yisser bittar • director of development
Yisser Bittar is the Director of Development at Karam Foundation. She is a Syrian-American who graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Having recently returned from 3 years in Southern Turkey working on the humanitarian response in Syria, Yisser hopes to continue her work in support of the Syrian people here at Karam Foundation. Yisser has 3 years of experience in helping establish and lead one of the largest Syrian NGOs in the response, as well as an additional 2 years of organizing in the US in support of the Syrian cause. Having seen that one of the largest gaps of the response in Syria was addressing the needs of the youth, she is particularly looking forward to help expand Karam's programs that aim to empower the future of Syria. She is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Administration at Arizona State University. Other than Syria, Yisser loves to cook all types of (Syrian) food with her husband, play basketball and FaceTime with her nephew, Sami.
Apryl Eshelman • director of major gifts
Apryl Eshelman served as a volunteer Ambassador for Karam for 18 months before officially joining the organization to help Karam Foundation supporters learn more about the organization and opportunities to fund operations and specific projects at Karam. Prior to joining Karam Foundation, Apryl raised support for The Nature Conservancy's global conservation projects, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health programs, and the Alzheimer's Association's sponsored scientific studies and family aid. She was a commercial wholesale banker for twenty years, beginning her career with JP Morgan Chase in New York City. She has also worked as a wholesale commercial banker in Europe and, most recently, in Pittsburgh. Apryl is a native of western Pennsylvania and a graduate of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Wilmette with her husband who is a first generation Syrian immigrant, and has four adult children.
Roya naderI • COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
Roya Naderi works as the Communications Coordinator at Karam Foundation. She began working with Karam as a volunteer, then intern. Roya previously worked as Karam's Product Manager, Social Media Manager, and HQ Manager in Chicago. She is currently responsible for generating content, managing our social media accounts, and keeping our followers up to date on our activities. Roya graduated from DePaul University where she studied Political Science and Islamic World Studies. She has spoken at the University of Chicago, DePaul College of Law, Bradley University, Furman University, and other institutions across the country. She has been interviewed by Bustle, The Whitney Reynolds Show, and The Daily North Shore. She has traveled to Reyhanli where she co-led a workshop for Syrian refugee youth at Karam House. Roya hopes to use her communications skills to further Karam's mission to build a better future for Syria.
Lainey Schmidt • Development Coordinator
Lainey Schmidt is the Development Coordinator at Karam Foundation. She previously worked for an international monitoring and evaluation firm, where she focused on business development and evaluation coordination, and spent time working in sub-Saharan Africa. Lainey also has experience interning with a refugee services program at the American Red Cross, doing both direct service work as well as programmatic work at the organization's headquarters. Lainey received a BA with honors in International Studies with a focus on Global Cultural Studies from Washington University in St. Louis where she was active in the International Studies Honorary.
ANNA ROSE WIGMAN • ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR
Anna Rose Wigman is the Administrative Coordinator at Karam Foundation. She developed an interest in refugee and immigrant rights while studying Political Science and Islamic World Studies at Lake Forest College. Anna Rose was inspired by Karam's mission. She is enthusiastic and hopes to quickly become an integral part of the organization. Anna's future plans include returning to school to obtain a law degree and specialize in immigration law.
Lilah Khoja • higher education coordinator
Lilah Khoja is Karam Foundation’s Higher Education Coordinator. As Higher Education Coordinator, she oversees the Karam Scholars program and is in constant communication with Syrian high school and college students in the U.S., Turkey, and Jordan. Since 2011, she has worked to support Syrians and refugees in a number of ways, from organizing campus events at UCLA, where she received her B.A., to supporting journalists at the Committee to Protect Journalists. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at the University of Michigan, with a focus on refugee and reproductive health. When not at school or working, you can find her embroidering or buying too many books.
Leena Zahra • Community Program Coordinator
Leena Zahra is a Syrian-American who obtained a Master's in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies from the London School of Economics (LSE). She previously provided consultative support for the International Rescue Committee-UK (IRC-UK) and the World Food Programme (Geneva). Within the refugee settlements in Calais, France and Idomeni at the Greek/Macedonian border, she volunteered as an interpreter. Continuing advocacy efforts, Leena is a co-founder of In-Sight, a global networking platform that provides poignant information and stories from the refugee crisis. Leena is eager to continue this support through Karam.
Jimena Lara • Accountant
Jimena Lara is an Accountant for Karam Foundation. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside with a B.S. in Accounting. Jimena has over 5 years of experience in accounting. Outside of work she enjoys spending quality time with her family. She stays busy with her toddler and two month old baby. She plans to continue her education in accounting to become a certified public accountant and grow along side Karam.
Tarek Addas • SITE Manager
Tarek Addas earned a B.A. in history and law from Damascus University. He left Syria in 2013 due to war conditions in order to work in Turkey with a number of organizations and schools devoted to improving educational systems for Syrian refugees. Tarek has also volunteered to be the commissioner of the Syrian Private scouts in Istanbul.
Tarek is impressed by Karam Foundation’s goals and devotion to improving education and creative education and is excited to be part of the team. Today, Tarek is working on expanding Karam’s projects in Istanbul – especially Sponsor a Syrian Refugee Family Program as well as opening a Karam House in Istanbul in the near future.
Tarek enjoys scouting, camping, hiking and adventure.
Omar alsoud • PROJECT COORDINATOR
Omar Alsoud worked as a volunteer with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent for six years. In recent years, he worked as a volunteer with humanitarian relief organizations as well as performed data documentation for a field hospital, both in in Maarat Alnoman, Idlib. Omar also worked as an independent civilian journalist for 4 years, reporting to the media about the current humanitarian crisis and human rights violations in Syria. Omar is trained in DSL, disaster management, first aid, and media training. He was forced to stop his studies during his second year at the Dental Prosthetics Institute in 2011 due to the security conditions. Omar coordinates Karam Foundation's programs inside Syria and also works with Karam's team in Reyhanli.
SARAH FAOUR • PROJECT COORDINATOR
Sarah Faour graduated high school in 2014 and is applying to university to study English. She left her home in Damascus in 2013 due to the ongoing war. Sarah currently lives in Reyhanli, near the Turkish-Syrian border. She first met Karam Foundation during the Innovative Education mission at the Ruwaad School in 2015 and was impressed with the programming and the impact it had on the students. Soon after, Sarah began working with Karam's Reyhanli Team on our on-the-ground operations, including coordinating our Sponsor a Syrian Refugee Family Program, Innovative Education missions, and Smart Aid projects. Sarah loves working with refugee children and hopes for the world to become more aware of the events in Syria and the devastating impact it has on the children.
Feras shashaa • karam house team leader
Feras Shashaa was born in Syria 1988. In 2013, Feras had to leave Syria due to the war and now lives in Reyhanli near the Turkish-Syrian border. Feras studied Business Administration and started working for NGOs in 2013. He worked as an outreach team leader at the IMC organization, a psychological and social support consultant for the Maram Foundation, and as a psychological support worker for the Syria Bright Future Organization. Feras joined Karam Foundation with hopes of helping refugee children complete their education as well as supporting the Karam House Team with reaching their goals. His hobbies include reading, swimming, and traveling his friends.
LAMA KHUDARI • PROJECT COORDINATOR
Lama Khudari received her bachelor's degree in economics from Damascus University Syria. She worked as an administrative employee at AIU university in Syria and was a volunteer at Nada NGO for three years, where she taught English courses to the children in orphanages and evacuation centers and provided needed psychosocial support. Lama moved to Turkey, Istanbul in 2016 and began working with Karam Foundation in early 2017. She is very devoted to the Syrian cause and hopes to be able to invest her experience in developing projects which aim to get Syrian children back to schools and continue their studies.
HADI ALHOSUAMI • PROJECT COORDINATOR
Hadi Alhosuami was born in Homs and graduated from the Electricity department in high school. Because of his passion in electricity engineering, he moved to Gaziantep in Turkey in 2010 to continue his academic education in Electricity Engineering. During the beginning of the war in Syria, Hadi started working with a group of Syrian students as a volunteer responding to medical cases arriving at the Turkish border from Syria and transferring them to Turkish hospitals. He later moved to Istanbul and started working as a board member in an NGO that provides services to Syrian refugees in Turkey. Hadi then worked as an executive director in a Turkish factory. After that he learned about Karam Foundation and joined their team for many reasons. The most important one was their exceptional and different approach to providing services and their project implementation. Hadi's hobbies include camping, adventure, and scouting. He is also a volunteer leader in Istanbul Arabian scout.
HAZAR MAHJOUB • SSRF PROJECT COORDINATOR
Hazar Mahjoub was born in Damascus. She received her Bachelor degree in Sociology from Damascus University. After graduation she worked for nine years as a social supervisor in primary school. Her work was about dealing with problems occurring with children and among their families. In 2013, Hazar left Syria and went to Egypt where she started working as PSW in NGO that was an implementing partner with UNHCR in Egypt. It's main services was providing PSSMH advocacy to all the refugees in Egypt. She started as a PSW then became a team leader and then a deputy coordinator for the psychosocial program. In 2017, Hazar left Egypt and moved to Istanbul. March 2018 she started working as a SSRF Project Coordinator at Karam Foundation. Hazar enjoys working in the humanitarian field and providing support to people regardless of their background. She hopes to return to Syria and establish her own NGO to support all Syrians to overcome all the tragic events they have been through during the war so they may participate in rebuilding Syria.
MAJD ALABD • SSRF PROJECT COORDINATOR
Majd Alabd is a native of Damascus, Syria. He studied at the Faculty of Commerce and Economy, but was compelled to leave in 2012 before completing his studies. Profoundly dedicated to human rights and humanitarian work, his interest in helping other Syrians emerged after experiencing hardships himself. Four years prior to joining Karam, he worked as a hotel manager but left after two years to be a part of an NGO and serve the humanitarian cause. He worked with various nonprofit organizations in Turkey as a consultant and coordinated assessment programs inside Syria. Majd has been a guest speaker on distinct platforms and keeps learning from people of all walks of life on a daily basis. He aims at surpassing himself in serving the cause through Karam's principles. He reintegrated university in 2017 to pursue studies in Economics and strives to help young Syrians to do the same thing. Majd is very devoted and longs to participate in implementing Karam's plans of action in endowing the coming generation with resources that will help shape a promising future for Syria.
Hamsa Sayed Issa • Karam House Mentor
Hamsa Sayed Issa is a mentor at Karam House in Reyhanli. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Architecture in 2015 from Ebla Private University in Syria. Hamsa is passionate about architecture and has applied what she's learned in several projects to help displaced Syrians, including the design of a camp for displaced people in Northern Syria, a town for orphans, and a complex for the displaced. Hamsa worked as a volunteer with Watan Syria covering media issues, taking pictures and creating videos that reflect the happy and sad moments in the lives of Syrian children. One of her goals is exploring creative learning methods and programs and applying them with Syrian youth, empowering them to explore their passions and create their projects.
Aya Alhajji • Karam House mentor
Aya Alhajji studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Aleppo University and received her bachelor's degree in 2014. She is now continuing her Masters studies in the same field at Sütçü İmam University while working at Karam House as a mentor. Aya is interested in conducting workshops and activities that convey what she is teaching to the students. Aya likes handicrafts, building electrical circuits, and programming.
Nour Razraz • Karam House Mentor
Nour Razraz has a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Aleppo University. She now lives with her family in the Turkish town of Reyhanli. Nour joined Karam Foundation in January 2017 as a mentor looking forward to help Syrian children. She hopes to make a unique impact with Karam. She spends her free time reading, improving her English, and having fun with friends. Nour aims to improve her skills in Civil Engineering. She also loves to exchange opinions and ideas with others and teach them what she experienced.
Rashad Ramadan • Karam House Mentor
Rashad Ramadan holds a certification of Electrical Engineering Institute, Electron Control Department, from Aleppo University. He works in manufacturing chargers, electric generators, digital electronic circuits, and computer and software maintenance. Rashad currently lives with his family in Reyhanli, Turkey. He joined Karam House as a Creative Educational Mentor because he seeks to teach children the basics of exploratory science by offering his experiences through electronic workshops and connecting them to the computer with innovative ideas and methods. His hobbies include chess and table tennis.
Mohamad Bakri • Karam House Mentor
Mohamed Bakri is a graduate from Aleppo University where he studied interior design. He worked as Graphic Designer and is a professional photographer. Mohammed loves photography, making animation and drawing. As a hobby with his friends, he participated in health awareness campaigns with the organization Monitor in IDP camps inside Syria. Mohammed was also an education team member for Firefly, a nonprofit organization in Antakya. He previously worked as a mentor and teacher with different education and relief organizations. He now works as a mentor in Karam House Reyhanli and is glad to be part of a team that works towards improving education delivery methods and nurturing the seeds of Syria’s future. He always has creative ideas that he loves sharing with the team and students.
Wathek Ahdaly • Karam House IT Specialist
Wathek was kidnapped in Syria at the end of 2011, left to Egypt at the beginning of 2012, and to Turkey in 2014. He started working with NGOs in early 2015 as a professional trainer accredited by the International Center for Training and Development in the United States and Director of Knowledge Center for Development and Training. Wathek is interested in planting hope for Syrians by providing courses to develop and qualify them to enter the workforce. Wathek in excited to be part of the Karam House Team and guiding Syrian refugee children to the path of creativity. His hobbies include reading, playing guitar and writing poetry.
Dania Mukahhal • CREATIVE DEsigner
Dania Mukahhal is the Creative Designer for Karam Foundation. She received her B.F.A. in Graphic Design in 2015. She has worked the past couple years at Karam building the branding and visuals for the organization. She has worked on very exciting projects including traveling to Reyhanli, Turkey to Karam House to co-lead a workshop about branding and design to Syrian refugee youth. She has been very inspired by their passion and creativity and hopes to continue to inspire and be inspired through the world of design.
Mary Oglesby • Product Manager
Mary Oglesby has a passion for fair trade, human rights, and world cultures. She comes from the fair trade fashion company, Malia Designs, which has a social mission to fight human trafficking in Cambodia and the United States. She also brings experience from the wholesale import industry with Chicago based Trade Associates Group, Ltd. She has been involved in charity work in Nicaragua for over 10 years and has a deep appreciation for empowering people with dignified employment. Mary keeps herself busy with her college aged children, gardening, travel, and attending the many cultural offerings of Chicago with her husband, Steve. She is very happy to join Karam Foundation and support the work of refugee artisans.
Amgad Ellaboudy • Accounting Clerk
Amgad Ellaboudy is an Accounting Clerk for Karam Foundation. He graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and earned his master's degree in Physical Oceanography at the University of Southampton in the UK. He has worked as a professional fundraiser for Public Outreach, and has volunteered with the Tiyya Foundation as a Family Mentor, which involved coaching immigrants and people seeking asylum in the US on American work expectations. Amgad is an outdoors enthusiast; his hobbies include surfing, hiking, and playing soccer. He hopes to make a significant impact with Karam, and is thrilled to be joining the team.
Shannon Sweetnam • community relations coordinator
Shannon Sweetnam is the Community Relations Coordinator at Karam Foundation. She organizes and promotes events and helps raise awareness of Karam Foundation's work on behalf of Syrian refugees in the United States and abroad. She also fosters relationships with local businesses and individuals interested in supporting the foundation's cause. An award winning author, Shannon became interested in joining Karam after supporting a Syrian refugee family soon after their arrival and helping them assimilate into life in America.
Samer Mansour • Logistics Officer
Samer Mansour is from Idlib, which is where he spent most of his life. Due to the war, however, he had to leave Syria and move to Turkey in 2012. Samer has worked in several fields, including a hospital for wounded Syrians in Reyhanli, Turkey. He joined the Karam House team in February of 2017. Samer really enjoys playing football and trains every week.
Heba Najjar • Logistics Officer
Heba Najjar lived in Idlib until the revolution, which is when she moved to Damascus and later Turkey. Heba became a kitchen chef at the Meram organization for nearly half a year. Heba has attended an electronic training course from GIZ. Heba loves writing, photography, exploring and learning new things as well as remaining optimistic and active. She began working at Karam House in February 2017.
Faten Mosa • ASSISTANT PROJECT COORDINATOR
Faten Mosa has a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from Aleppo University. She worked in the nutrition department at the Maarat al Noman health center for one year. Faten also volunteered with the distribution of emergency aid to the civilian evacuees from Aleppo. She is interested in humanitarian work, working for the Syrian cause and alleviating the suffering of the children. Faten joined Karam for this reason. Faten also loves to play chess and listen to music.
Abdullah AbdulGhaniOglu • Turkish Language Mentor
Abdullah Abdulghanioglu is of Syrian Turkish roots with a Turkish nationality. He was born in Reyhanli Hatay in Turkey and completed his studies in Turkey up until high school. Abdullah has worked extensively in the field of translation between Arabic and Turkish, and worked in Libya, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia as a translator for construction companies. Besides his 13 years of experience as a translator, Abdullah worked as an administrative officer. Abdullah lived in Aleppo for about 12 years, then returned to Turkey at the start of the revolution where he spent the past four years teaching the Turkish language to Syrian students.
Suliman Faour • karam house communications officer
Suliman left his home in Damascus in 2013 and moved to Reyhanli, Turkey near the Syrian border. He began working as a video editor with Binaa organization. He is a self taught graphic designer. He previously worked with UOSSM as a graphic designer. He gained much experience and learned different programs through his work. Suliman is now completing his high school studies and is seeking to attend university to specialize in his field of work. Suliman joined the Karam House team in April 2017.
Jude Wafai • development and outreach Intern
Jude Wafai is a Syrian-American anthropologist working towards her masters degree at the American University of Beirut. She attended undergrad at the University of Notre Dame where she studied Anthropology and Pre-Medicine. She has been involved in a variety of refugee education initiatives, and served as a volunteer mentor three times with Karam Foundation’s Innovative Education Program. Jude participated in the Climb4Karam Kilimanjaro expedition as a climber and fundraiser. She moved to Lebanon in November of 2015 where she served as a teacher at a Syrian refugee school in the Bekaa Valley. Since then, she has worked as a tutor, English teacher, research assistant, and communications officer for several different education initiatives for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. She is currently working on her master’s thesis titled Education as Future-Making: the Dual Experience of Displaced Syrians, where she dissects the intricacies of being both a refugee and an aid worker for Syrian teachers and administrators in refugee schools in Lebanon.
Maliha Yousuf • Communications Intern
Maliha Yousuf is a Pakistani-American student at Lake Forest High School. She has always had an interest in human rights, refugee and immigrant rights, and women's rights. Her interest really spiked during her freshman year at Lake Forest High School, where she found herself learning about many of the current events going on in America and all over the world. Maliha travels around the world and makes an effort to learn and understand different cultures. She is joining the Karam team as the Communications Intern. Outside of Karam, Maliha enjoys acting, singing, hanging out with friends, and watching Bollywood movies. She is ecstatic to join the Karam team and make a difference in the world.
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Interested in joining our mission to build a better future for Syria? Check out our job and internship openings!
Disclaimer: Karam Foundation has not approved, endorsed nor embraced any personal views of any Karam Foundation affiliate. The personal views expressed by any Karam Foundation affiliate are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Karam Foundation unless otherwise explicitly stated by Karam Foundation. Karam Foundation affiliates include, but are not limited to, board members, staff members, contractors, interns and volunteers.