The Amaanah Refugee Services team hails from far-flung places around the globe who want to make a real impact in this world. We are a group of passionate professionals on a mission to integrate post-resettlement refugees into their new homes and communities. Our team includes full-time members, part-time members, and very dedicated volunteers.

Universal Soccer League Manager

David Thanoon

A French native, David moved to Houston in 2008 to complete his PhD in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science to go along with his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in similar fields. After completing his PhD from the University of Houston, David joined Schlumberger as a research geoscientist where is he still employed. David has been a regular volunteer with Amaanah for more than 5 years and in many different capacities. David’s passion and heart are found in soccer. David helped developed and currently manages the Universal Soccer League for Amaanah.

Client Services Assistant

Ghadah Bayati

Ghadah is one of Amaanah’s greatest success stories. She arrived to Houston in 2008 from Iraq as a refugee with her 3 young children. With Amaanah by her side, she worked her way through the challenges of rebuilding a new life and became a role model for all those around her. For the past 5 years, Ghadah has been using her passion and experiences to help newly resettled refugees adjust to their new lives. Ghadah is also known as the mother of Amaanah for her warm and loving heart that embraces all those in need.

Ghulam Kehar

Chief Executive Officer

Ghulam Kehar

As part of Amaanah’s founding group, Ghulam has been the visionary at the helm of Amaanah and a voice for refugees for almost 10 years. Ghulam is a regular speaker and presenter and has also served on the advisory board for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs (MOIRA) in Houston. Ghulam holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and entrepreneurship from the University of Houston and a nonprofit leadership certification from Rice University.

Director of Operations

Michelle Browning

Refugee services is near and dear to Michelle’s heart. Her father was resettled to the U.S. from Vietnam many years ago so she understands the challenges of resettlement firsthand. Michelle is a nonprofit professional with diverse programmatic and management experience. Her passion and resolve to serve refugees clearly shows in the way she interacts with them every day. Michelle currently manages Amaanah’s facility, business, and program operations. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University.

Chief Programs Officer

Nicole Holdman

Nicole brings outstanding experience, discipline, and determination to Amaanah. She oversees all of Amaanah’s programs including the Awesome Academy which serves over 250 refugee students across 5 sites. Her professional career spans 20 years in education with 16 years in the public school system, as an ESL teacher, adjunct professor, curriculum writer, campus after-school coordinator, and assistant coordinator for 21st Century after-school programming. She has worked closely with nonprofits, faith, and community-based organizations, bringing in large amounts of funding. Nicole holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from Capella University, a Master’s in Education, and a Bachelors in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston-Downtown. To put it simply, she is awesome.

Events Manager

Salma Nassef, Volunteer

If Salma was tasked with the sole responsibility to amplify the energy level and bring on the excitement, she would be up for the task. Her vibrant energy and excitement has proven contagious. Salma began volunteering for one of Amaanah’s distribution events in 2010 and has been hooked since. She now serves as the Events Manager for the team and is the legs behind Amaanah’s signature events such as Rock the Block and Rays of Change. Salma’s background is in science and health education, so reaching out to the community in this capacity came to her naturally. Salma is a Certified Genetics Counselor and currently works at the Baylor College of Medicine. She also holds Master’s in Genetic Counseling from the University of Houston.

Salma Taher

Assistant Events Manager

Salma Taher, Ph.D., Volunteer

Salma Taher, Ph.D., started out volunteering at service events. Known for her cheerful spirit, she eventually worked her way into the event management team. Salma holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, nutrition and political science from the University of Houston and a Ph.D. in nutritional science from the Texas Women University. Salma is married to Yehia Omar, who is also an assistant events manager.

Tee Mo

Amaanah’s Attic Assistant

Tee Mo

Tee Mo was born in Burma amidst the civil war. She had to hide from a militarized government for 9 years before finding herself in a Thai refugee camp. When she arrived in Houston in 2009, Tee found Amaanah and a new place as a leader in her community. As the Amaanah’s Attic Assistant, she is always working to ensure clients have a great shopping experience in The Attic. Tee continues to grow and seek out new opportunities to help the refugee community.

Yehia Omar

Assistant Events Manager

Yehia Omar, Volunteer

Yehia Omar grew up in the United Arab Emirates. He moved to Texas where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. As the Amaanah Assistant Events Manager, Yehia brings a trademark precision to the events team. He is currently completing his MBA at Rice University. Yehia is married to Salma Taher, Ph.D., who is also an assistant events manager.


Transformed Case Manager

Braden Darville

Braden Darville represents Houston well. The Prairie View A&M University alum holds both a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in human science. Along with a hefty load of campus volunteer and mentoring activities, Braden brings great experience to his role as the Transformed Case Manager mostly recently as a rehab clinician at the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County.

Hamida Mitha

Operations Assistant

Hamida Mitha

Hamida brings a contagious energy to the team. She is passionate about the arts, especially fashion and design. She uses her talents to ensure that Amaanah’s Attic and office space operate smoothly in addition working closely many clients. Her various interests include education, protection of children and cause-related nonprofits.

You Have the Power to Change Lives