Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yemeni Youth Help Protest Victims in Aden

The complex political and security situation in Yemen has an outfall on more than what is broadcasted on TV, there are social and humanitarian consequences to the ongoing turmoil, including injuries, deaths, livelihoods lost, and more.

From this standpoint, a number of youth groups across the country have come together in solidarity with the humanitarian consequences, working together to raise resources, work with families and children, and provide the needed medical care, food, and non-food emergency items needed by families which are directly affected by the ongoing unrest.

“We’ve been in touch with friends and family in Aden to tell us how we can help” said Faris, A youth activist speaking to Yemen Observer, adding that they could not stay empty handed where the call of duty is calling on them.

The situation in Aden is an alarming; from a humanitarian perspective, especially as the unrest continues, hospitals are short on many types of equipment and many people do not have money needed to purchase the needed emergency and healthcare items, and even if they do, that comes out of their food and well-being budget for their families. “The situation is truly dire” stated Ahmed Hussain, a member of the humanitarian relief committee of Mansora, “these families barely made it to survive every day in regular days, mind you when the head of the family is injured or killed during the unrest, they need urgent help, which without it more frustration and anger is created”.

“We all have a part and a responsibility to play in this”, said Rania Ahmed, a professional who is coaching her two younger siblings on raising funds for this cause, adding that the society should come together at the times hardship and exert all efforts needed in order to help our fellow citizens overcome the current unrest and crisis.

She further indicated that it is the responsibility of adults in our communities to lead by example, engage in social work and demonstrate to youngsters that it is a call of duty to do all that can be done for social cohesion and harmony.

The youth of Yemen should do whatever that can be done to support each other, “this is a social responsibility for each and every one, and there is no excuse for standing behind”. As such the group of Yemeni Youth established a Facebook group to raise funds for humanitarian relief.

The group was first established to organize medical support for Aden citizens only who were injured during protests. Days later, the group decided to widen their operation to include Yemen nationwide. However, until now only two phases of fund raising and humanitarian support were organized and both of them have focused on relieving Aden citizens.

The first phase included raising funds to send out first aid kits to Aden. The group was able to provide 11 kits costing 2200YR each which were sent to Aden. Yemeni Youth in Aden distributed the kits to the medical committees.

Rania Ahmed stated, "at the beginning we heard calls for blood donation, being far from Aden, and the difficulty of collecting, storing, and transporting blood was considered, provided we heard that the Red Cross stepped up to cover blood shortage problems. Therefore, we decided that the least we can do is to send some medical aid."

Wafa Mohammed explained, "We gained some experience from the first phase, we were able to find key people in Aden to help us arrange, we made an agreement with a group of youth in Aden that any funds raised or support should be used for humanitarian relief and not for supporting questionable activities."

For the second phase, the youth in Aden made needs assessment. They provided a list of detailed medical items needed, these included: a list of medicines, stitching silk threads, needle holders...etc. Another list was also provided containing food items for the families who were suffering from the loss of their breadwinners and restriction of movement. Food aid list included providing families with rice, flour, oil, sugar, baked canned beans, dry milk, baby milk, and diapers.

Rania Ahmed indicated " to avoid the cost of transporting the food aid and medical aid and the risk of forbidding our aid truck from entering to Aden, we decided to send out the money to our focal points in Aden, provided they will collect receipts from beneficiaries and bills for the purchased items for transparency purposes."

The fun raising’ organizers organized a fund raiser box in Mokha Bunn Coffee Shop in Sana’a, on 7th of March. They were able to collect around 120 thousand YR during the two hour fund raiser event from around 25 people. Reem Al-Yazidi elaborated, "I was amazed to see the enthusiasm of the youth donating. Some even complained that they didn't know about the event or they would've brought more money. The best donation we received was from a generous business man, amounting to 50,000 YR".

The group now aims at mobilizing efforts to provide urgent humanitarian relieve for all of Yemen. It is open group and the members rely on pure trust to operate. It also represents independent youth who do not belong to any political wave.

Mohammed Alyafe'e explained, "We do not care who is the person calling for help, we only care that he/she is a Yemeni." He further elaborated, "If someone says can we support Ibb, and then we start asking people if they have key persons in Ibb that we can contact, we contact those people and make them our focal points, we ask them to provide us with needs assessment, and then we start working in raising funds to help."

Rania Ahmed concluded, “We need our group to grow, we need more young people to join from all over Yemen, we need them to help us in organizing fund raisers, provide us with suggestions to improve, contribute to our operation as a whole. All they need to do is join our Facebook group and express their willingness and ways of contribution that they ought to provide."

*For more info, please check out the team's Facebook page; youth for humanitarian relief
*The team sends its gratitude to Mohammed Noaman, Mokka Bun Cafe's owner for his wonderful cooperation.