LINA SERGIE ATTAr • FOUNDER/CEO
Lina Sergie Attar is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo. She is Founder and CEO of Karam Foundation. In 2007, Attar developed the vision of Karam (which means generosity in Arabic). Since 2011, she has directed Karam in its focus on the Syrian humanitarian crisis: developing innovative education programs for Syrian refugee youth, distributing aid to Syrian refugee families, and funding projects initiated by Syrians for Syrians. Attar is co-founder of the How Many More? project and serves on the Board of Directors of The Syria Campaign. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Foreign Policy, Politico, and the Huffington Post. She has appeared on CNN, NBC News, the BBC News, NPR and other media outlets. She is a graduate of University of Aleppo, Rhode Island School of Design, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
NADA HASHEM • DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & Programs
Nada Hashem is the Director of Operations at Karam Foundation. She is a Syrian-American pursuing her M.S. degree from Boston University in Computer Information Systems, with a concentration in Health Informatics. At Karam Foundation, she hopes to help bring technology opportunities and solutions to improve and develop Karam Foundation's operations and programs. Nada coordinates the bi-annual innovative education missions to Syrian border towns in southern Turkey. She has 5 years of experience in organizing nationwide and worldwide campaigns to raise awareness about the needs of the people in Syria and the ongoing refugee crisis. Hashem has spoken at various institutions and media outlets including: University of California Riverside, California State University Fullerton, KPFK 90.7, Reuters, and ABC7. Nada is co-founder of the How Many More? project and nationwide student organization Students Organize for Syria.
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. 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 began working with Karam as a volunteer then intern. She has been with the organization for three years, previously working as Karam's Product and Social Media Manager. Roya has since taken the role of Communications Coordinator. She graduated from DePaul University where she studied both Political Science and Islamic World Studies. She has spoken at universities across the US and has been interviewed by different media outlets about Karam's work and ways people can get involved. Aside from Karam, she stays involved with the greater Palestine Solidarity movement. Roya plans on staying connected to Karam and providing support where it is needed.
Lainey Schmidt • Development Coordinator
Lainey Schmidt is the Development Coordinator at Karam Foundation. She previously worked in a development capacity for an international monitoring and evaluation firm, where she spent time working in sub-Saharan Africa. She also interned with a refugee services program with the American Red Cross. Lainey received a BA in International Studies with a focus on Global Cultural Studies from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015.
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 received her B.A. from UCLA in International Development Studies. Lilah has worked with the Democracy Council and the Committee to Protect Journalists. She has been published in The Outpost, Mashallah News, Today's Zaman, and SyriaDeeply. She is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Health, with a focus on refugee health. She believes in sustainable aid and is thrilled to be working with Karam Foundation.
Leena Zahra • Community Program Coordinator
Leena Zahra is the Community Program Coordinator at Karam Foundation. She is a Syrian-American, with a Master's in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies from the London School of economics (LSE). She previously provided consultive support for the International Rescue Committee-UK (IRC-UK) and the World Food Programme (Geneva). A Cleveland, OH native, she recently worked on resettlement efforts in her hometown, assisted partnerships of the CanDo Syrian social enterprise, and interpreted in refugee camps within Calais, France and Idomeni at the Greek/Macedonian border. She is eager to continue this expansive support through Karam. Leena is co-founder of In-Sight, a global network of advocates that aims to create a platform where people can come to find accurate but also poignant information and stories from the frontline of the refugee crisis.
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 • PROJECT COORDINATOR
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.
Dana Mansour • SSRF assistant Project officer
Dana Mansour is a Syrian member of Karam Foundation. After growing up in Kuwait, she moved back to Istanbul to pursue an undergraduate degree in Engineering Management from Bahçeşehir University. After graduation, she got in touch with the Karam Team and was impressed by the work of the organization. Dana is now part of the Karam Istanbul Team, working on-the-ground operations, as well as documenting and updating data. Her biggest role takes part in the Sponsor a Syrian Refugee Family Program where she escorts the Karam Istanbul Team to family visits for updates and follow-ups. Dana had always wanted to find a way to give a helping hand to the struggling families. Dana is very enthusiastic and excited about continuing her work with Karam and looks forward to seeing this organization flourish.
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.
Amir Ghazal • Karam House Mentor
Amir Ghazal studied at the Faculty of Medicine for three years and then had to leave the university. He worked in a number of field hospitals inside Syria and participated in relief work. He worked with a team of young volunteers to provide training and rehabilitation services to injured people, school dropouts, and beggars, helping them reintegrate into society. Amir currently works as a mentor at Karam House in Reyhanli and seeks to help children share their ideas and build their personalities, and push them to search and explore.
Wathek Ahdaly • Karam House IT Specialist / MENTOR
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.
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.
Dania Mukahhal • CREATIVE DEsigner
Dania Mukahhal received her B.F.A. in graphic design from Columbia College Chicago. She has spent the last couple years using her graphic design skills in nonprofit organizations as well as startups. She is very excited to be a part of the Karam Foundation team. Dania spends her free time reading design books/articles, baking, and freelancing.
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.
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.
Mohamad Karkas • PHOTOGRAPHER
Mohamad Karkas is a photographer and media activist. He began his activism in 2011 at the start of the Syrian revolution. He participated in many media campaigns to convey the stories and suffering of the Syrian people in Northern Syria despite the continuous shelling and deteriorating humanitarian crisis. He visited the IDP camps and areas under aerial bombardment to document and report the human rights violations. Mohamad then worked as a photographer for Anadolu News, then as a reporter with Baladi News, and as a freelancer with many major media outlets such as Aljazeera, Alarabiya and Orient News. Mohamad is now a field photographer with Karam Foundation to visually document the impact and smiles of our projects inside Syria.
Abdullah Abdul Ghani Oglu • Turkish Language Mentor
Abdullah Abdul Ghani Oglu 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 Graphic Designer
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.
Reem Karmouta • Intern
Reem Karmouta is a second year Human Biology and Society, B.S. major and Global Health minor at UCLA. She is the head coordinator of the Books Not Bombs campaign at UCLA, which urges the university to provide scholarships for Syrian students seeking higher education. In addition to her passion for equal access education, Reem is passionate about examining the complex intersections that exist between health and communities. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, and traveling. Inspired by Karam Foundation’s innovative approach to aiding Syria, Reem joined the team in hopes of making a difference!
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.
JOIN OUR TEAM
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.