Meet the Team

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.

– Vince Lombardi

The Volunteers

The largest and most important part of the A HOPE team is its volunteers.  They are too many to list here!  We wish to acknowledge their dedication and sacrifice in giving hope to those in need.

Umer Akbar

Co-founder and President, A HOPE

Umer has been active in social and humanitarian efforts since high school.  After relocating to RI in 2014, he has remained an active participant in social outreach and interfaith activities.  In collaboration with other members of this team, he co-founded A HOPE to facilitate resettlement of refugees, who are the most vulnerable members of society.  He is a (busy) father of 4, a physician by profession and a wanna-be basketball player.

Noor Memon

Vice President, AHOPE

Noor is a social worker, reformer, and caretaker of orphans and widows in her hometown back in India. She is an educator who believes strongly that in order to break the chain of poverty, we must teach the needy (and their children) to fish, rather than giving them fish. For over 15 years in India, Noor has adopted families with young children whose education she has facilitated all the way through college.  Seeing her success has fueled her passion to grow her efforts.

Professionally, Noor is a business owner. She has served as the president of RICMA and of the Pakistani Association of RI.  She has been deeply disturbed by the refugee crisis and she joined A HOPE to collaborate with dedicated volunteers in helping the needy. She is humbled by the love and affection from the people whom she has had the privilege to serve.

Mayss Bajbouj-Kinjawi, Ph.D.

Secretary, A HOPE
Co-team Leader, Setup and Welcome Team

Mayss is a professor of French and Arabic, and has been teaching since 2006 in different universities in Syria and in the USA, most recently at Boston College. She lived in different places since her childhood and her love for languages has exposed her to other cultures and she uses this passion to acquaint new migrant families to the American culture and make them feel at-home. A HOPE has given her the chance to express herself and be helpful in different areas, such as the Setup and Welcome teams.  She facilitates and arranges furniture pick-up from local donors.  She’s infamous (or famous) for being super-organized.  She recently started to participate in interfaith activities. She is a mother of a daughter and a son that they have been the youngest volunteers since A Hope started.

Samir Soulaimani

Co-founder and Treasurer, A HOPE

Samir has been living in Rhode Island since 1988 and has been active in social and humanitarian efforts for the last 20 years.  He has worked in the prison system as a chaplain for 18 years.  His observation that youth are a large portion of the incarcerated population has led him to be a strong advocate and mentor for youth of all ages and backgrounds.  This passion has overflown into helping empower the most vulnerable among us: women and children.  Thus, assisting families become healthy and successful comes naturally to him.

Samir has always been a helping hand in the community and given his Syrian background, he feels a special connection with refugees from that area.  He plays a critical role on several AHOPE teams, including the Setup team (moving furniture) and mentoring (giving advice, teaching driving, assisting with shopping).

He’s a father of four children (2&2) and a grandfather of two beautiful grandsons (yet he’s not that old)

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Cheryl Al-Sasah

Co-founder, A HOPE;
Team Leader, Welcome and Setup teams;
Liaison to Dorcas

Cheryl has a degree in Special Education and Human Services, and currently works as a Special Educator.  She volunteers with A HOPE as a liaison working with Dorcas International Institute to help settle refugees.  Additionally, she is the team leader for the Setup and Welcome teams and is also a member of the Marketing team.

Cheryl is passionate about assisting those who may need a little hand and guidance to help them become prosperous in their lives. She strongly believes that every individual has the potential to succeed in life when they are given the means and an equal opportunity.  She aims to help nurture those individuals by providing assistance and the necessary tools, thereby enabling them to flourish and become self-sufficient individuals.  Cheryl is a mother of 5 children and wife of a caring man for 27 years.

Saleh Farba D Sarr

Team Leader, A HOPE Logistics team

Saleh has been a member of the RI muslim community for over 12 years, and currently works as the Operations and financial analysts manager for a US corporation. He volunteers in many programs for the various mosques around the community and also is active with mentoring local youth. He is of Senegalese origin and believes in peace and unity of all religions under the command of one God.  Saleh is 40 years old and father to 2 beautiful daughters and husband to an outstanding woman.