Mariam Issa

Ms. Mariam Issa, a Houstonian for more than two decades, hailed from Pakistan by way of Dubai. Ms. Issa, from a privileged background, emulated generosity and kindness of the heart from her parents. By giving of herself, she is making a difference in this world, both while in her native land, and in this adopted country she now calls home.

Her philanthropic work began quietly and long ago while she was in Pakistan. She learned Braille in order to tutor two blind boys who eventually earned master degrees in English. While contributing to the business community as a business owner in Houston (Texas), she returned to her first passion as a community volunteer and advocate. Her primary interest is to promote harmony among people of all backgrounds. She founded the Pakistani-American Volunteers Association (PAVA) not only to promote the rich culture and heritage of Pakistan but also provide assistance to those in need. PAVA has participated in projects with the March of Dimes, Rehab Mission to feed the homeless, Houston International Festival, the Asian Arts Festival and assisted in the settlement of Bosnian families. Ms Issa is currently assisting the Afghanistan refuge families in their settlement in Houston.

Ms. Issa served as the president of the Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association and is president elect of the South Pacific Chamber of Commerce. She has been on numerous non-profit boards, working tirelessly and selflessly for causes she believes in. Numerous organizations in this international city have benefited from her association. And she was saluted by Channel 11 two years ago for her outstanding contribution in community service. The whole month of May 2002, Channel 39 saluted her as one of the “Unsung Heroes.”

Ms. Issa currently serves on the Board of Directors at Asian/Pacific American Heritage Association, the Asia Society, South Asian Chamber of Commerce, the Mayoral Advisory Board for International Affairs and Development-Asia and Asian American Voters Coalition.  She also served on the boards of Express Theatre, the Blaffer Gallery at the University of Houston, Asian American Coalition, Pakistani Association of Greater Houston, Ancestral Films Festival and Asia World Expo. She was also a member of committees and advisory councils for UNICEF, HISD, Asian American Studies Program at the University of Houston, and Census 2000.

Her humanitarian efforts also help bridge understanding between the U.S. and Pakistan. She worked with House of Charity to bring a team of health professionals who traveled to Pakistan to help burn victims there as well as trained the doctors so they can help themselves. When the September 11th tragedy occurred, Ms. Issa with the help of her board members raised $40,000 from the Pakistani community to give to the Red Cross in its relief efforts. She was recently awarded the Paul Harris Award by the Rotary Club for her hand-pump project. Due to her leadership, and with the assistance of Rotary Club International, 69 hand-pumps were delivered to 2 provinces in Pakistan that had no drinking water and have had drought for 4 years. In September, 2002 she received an award from the City of Houston for her continued service to the Pakistani community. She has successfully raised $43,000. for this documentary movie “Muhammad His life and Times” It will be aired on December 18, 2002 on all PBS TV Stations all over America.

She was born in Bombay, India and after the partition in 1947 all the Muslims migrated to Pakistan. She is a Pakistani and her father was one of the pioneers of Pakistan. He was an industrialist and had a textile mill in Karachi. Before coming to the United States she lived for ten years in Dubai and her husband was the first person to put up two mills in the whole of the Gulf: Steel Corporation of Dubai and Gulf Neon Signs. Ms Issa is married and has two grown children. She is very actively involved in local and state politics.

            Contact address: 18 C East Shady Lane, Houston, Texas 77063.


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