Roya Naderi works for the Karam Foundation, which is on a mission to build a better future for Syria by eliminating barriers to success through innovative education, entrepreneurial development, and community-driven aid. Her studies serendipitously led her to Islamic studies, and her work now confirms her passion to serve refugee populations around the world.  

I went to a Catholic school for my undergraduate degree in political science, and because it was a Catholic school, you had to take two religious study classes. I chose to take Islam World History, and I liked the class so much, I decided to see if I could major in it. It turned out I already had a lot of requirements needed to, so I decided to double major. It wasn’t a religious major, but you learned a lot about history. I liked it most because my family is Iranian, and a lot of the studies included current events, which helped me understand what was going on in Iran today.

A year ago, it was my final year, and one of my friends was working for the Karam Foundation; we used to go to a lot of events that the founder would come and speak at. At the time, I thought I wanted to volunteer somewhere, so I asked my friend if she could get me a foot in the door at Karam. Shortly after, I was offered an internship there, and after graduating, a part-time job.

The team travels to areas and works with urban refugee populations, and we support the communities through education in different schools and through different persons and organizations. We have different ways of serving these refugee populations, and it’s working with people on the ground.

I really like the non-profit work, and I want to do whatever I can to stick with this area and the organization I am with now. I do want to continue my education, and I’ll see where I go from here.

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