we are
We’ve come so far since 2008


ith a desire to give back running in their blood, a small group of the University of Houston students came together in 2006 to work on a community service project. What they discovered was the spark that ignited their growing passion to serving resettled refugees. Uncovering the large scale of unmet needs of thousands of resettled refugees in their own city, they began to collect food, clothing, furniture and even funds for distribution. They quickly realized that fulfilling only short-term and immediate needs was not enough to fully support the many newcomers to the city.

Fueled by a drive to revolutionize the industry, in 2008 Amaanah Refugee Services was officially established. As the heart and soul of this organization, Amaanah’s team has grown exponentially to meet the ever-growing needs of resettled refugees. Through our focused programs and events, in 2016 we touched the lives of more than 10,000 resettled refugees in Texas.

From our humble beginnings in Houston, we have now planted our roots in Austin, the state capital. We are tirelessly working to set the foundation for our future growth in Texas and beyond. We thank you for your support and hope you will continue with us on this journey.

Financial Reports

Integrity and transparency are incredibly important to our organization. As one of the largest privately funded refugee services organizations in Texas, we know that our life-changing programs could not happen without generous contributions.

and previous years
  • 2016 Form 990
  • 2016 Annual Report
  • 2016 Audited Financial Statements
  • 2017 Form 990 Coming Soon!
  • 2017 Annual Report
  • 2017 Reviewed Financial Statements Coming Soon!

Board of Directors

Roger Yelton

​Roger Yelton is a 30-year veteran of the Oil & Gas industry. He has spent most of his career at Weatherford International where he is now serving as the US Director of Quality, Health​, ​Safety & Environment. Roger holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Management from Southwest Texas State University.​​

Omar Zakaria

Omar Zakaria is a Research Analyst for a financial services company covering the energy industry. Prior to this role, Omar held a variety of roles in energy and finance. A native Houstonian, Omar holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston and an MBA from Rice University.

Ghulam Kehar
Board Member, Organizational Co-Founder 

Ghulam Kehar has been a visionary at the helm of Amaanah and a voice for refugees for over a decade. He has presented at several TEDx conferences and served on the advisory board for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs 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.

Saba Ahmed
Board Member

Dr. Saba Ahmed graduated from The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Dental School. She currently has a private practice called Village Park Family Dental and Orthodontics. Dr. Ahmed is an active member of several accredited organizations. In addition to community work with Amaanah, she is actively involved with Shifa Clinic.

Mujtaba Ali-Khan
Board Member

Dr. Mujtaba Ali-Khan is an internal medicine specialist and serves as the Chief Medical Officer at the Kingwood Medical Center. He graduated with honors in 2003 from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Mujtaba has over 13 years of experience in internal medicine, general practice, and osteopathic manipulative medicine.

Nazif Sharique
Board Member

A Certified Public Accountant by trade, Nazif has been an active volunteer with Amaanah since its early days. Nazif received his Bachelor’s of Accounting and Economics from Rutgers University in New Jersey. He has over 14 years of experience in public accounting, business development, and consulting services. Currently, Nazif serves as a partner at RSM.

Abid Yousuf
Board Member

​Abid Yousuf is an entrepreneur and a supply chain management professional. He is the co-founder of a growing technology firm, Terra Firma Logistics, that provides logistics solutions for the energy industry.  Abid holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and a MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.​

The Team



Coming Soon

Muhammad Daoudi
Director of Development

As a Syrian native raised in the United States, Muhammad is a true citizen of the world. Prior to joining Amaanah, he assumed a variety of roles in the Oil and Gas industry. He specializes in proposal writing and coordination. Muhammad has a Bachelor’s in Business from Texas A&M. He joined Amaanah as the Director of Development in 2017 to help Amaanah grow across Texas.

Marisela Martinez
Director of Educational Programs

Marisela joined the Amaanah team after 10 years of teaching and program development in Houston ISD. Driven by personal experience as a first generation student, Marisela’s commitment to elevating the quality and sustainability of our Awesome Academy programs is second to none. Marisela holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and is pursuing her EdD from the UH.

Braden Darville
Transformed Program Manager

As a passionate advocate for human rights, Braden is drawn opportunities to stand up and speak out for those who don’t yet have the tools to do it on their own. This, along with her experience living in Thailand, led Braden to seek out a role in refugee services. Clients and coworkers love Braden for her enthusiasm, and her social service skills add value to the program. A Prairie View A&M University alumnus, Braden received a Bachelor’s of Psychology and a Master’s in Human Sciences.

Ghadah Bayati
Transformed Specialist

Ghadah arrived to the United States in 2008 through the refugee resettlement process and first came to Amaanah as a client. By 2011, Ghadah was an integral part of the team. Ghadah’s personal experience drives her to give back, and it’s obvious that she has a unique ability to connect with our clients from all over the world. Because she’s so passionate about her job, Ghadah’s work and personal life are often intertwined, which is the way she prefers it. Ghadah holds a Bachelor’s in Business Management from Baghdad University.

Mariam El-Wakil
Finance & Administration Specialist

While still an undergrad at the University of Houston, Mariam started as a receptionist with the Amaanah team, where her Arabic skills often came in handy. Now, she oversees a variety of operational tasks. Because Mariam is often the first impression that callers and visitors recognize when connecting with our organization, she makes it her priority to represent Amaanah’s values and culture in every encounter.

Hamida Mitha
Marketing Coordinator

Hamida started with the team as a volunteer, dedicating 10 or more hours each week to Amaanah while working another job. Her commitment to our mission was obvious, and she transitioned to a full-time team member in 2016. Hamida has contributed her signature creativity to various projects at Amaanah. As Marketing Coordinator, her primary roles include creative ideation, support with marketing strategy and amplification of Amaanah’s visual impact.

Deeshown Stewart
Transformed Associate
Maha Yaqoob
Transformed Associate
Devin Sanders
Awesome Academy Manager
Camille Frey
Fund Development VISTA
Dina Madi
Workforce Development VISTA
Renata Mofin
Lead Instructor – Austin
Jacob Padilla
Lead Instructor – Austin

Austin Advisory Council


Like the Board of Directors, our Austin Advisory Council share their gifts in service by providing the organization with professional expertise, diverse knowledge, philanthropic support, and introductions to community resources. Our current Council Members are Kerry Khilnani, Sirish Prabhu, Saba Waheed, and Kumail Hasan.

Core Volunteers

Core Volunteers are an invaluable part of our Amaanah family. These team members have been involved with the organization for years and spend countless hours supporting our events and programs. Their involvement is a key part of our organization’s success. Our Core Volunteers include:

Salma Nassef, Event Manager
Yehia Omar, Logistics Specialist
David Thanoon, Soccer Specialist
Chakir Cherif, Amaanah Lions Coach and Coordinator
Salma Taher, Event Specialist
Soha Nassef, Event Specialist
Richard Spragg, Amaanah Lions Coach and Coordinator