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Shining a spotlight on local heroes in Yemen

Special Interest Programme / Partner story

Photo provided by Oxfam / taken by Omar Algunaid

Heba works as a Public Health Promotion Officer for Oxfam in her hometown of Aden, southern Yemen. In the four years that Heba has worked for Oxfam, she feels as though her work has never been more important. Her current position helping Oxfam involves raising awareness around the importance of good hygiene, and training community health volunteers to deliver hygiene awareness sessions. This position puts her on the frontlines of the Covid-19 response in Yemen.

“I am proud to be part of Oxfam and have the opportunity to contribute to supporting people in my country. We are humanitarians. We are needed more than ever in times like these; if we don’t stay to help and support people, who will?”

Her courage and sentiments are a source of inspiration for the Disaster Environment Committee’s (DEC) Coronavirus Appeal. Its appeal has been set up to raise urgent funds to help people fleeing war and living in fragile states, such as Heba’s. By bringing together 14 UK aid charities, the appeal has now raised over GBP 33 million, some of which is being allocated to Oxfam, one of DEC’s member charities. The funding Oxfam received from the appeal will be split evenly between a number of countries, including Yemen.

Since the confirmation of cases of Covid-19 in Yemen in April, Oxfam refocused its work in the country to respond to the pandemic. It is working on ensuring a clean, steady water supply to one of the main hospitals, distributing hygiene kits to vulnerable households, and trucking in clean water to camps for people who have had to flee their homes. On top of all this, Oxfam is training community health volunteers to spread the word about Covid-19 and the importance of hygiene and hand washing.

In the midst of this crisis and chaos goes the quiet heroes made up of extraordinary Yemenis, like Heba, who are standing with their communities to help in any way they can to ensure that their country can one day thrive. That is why Oxfam wanted to pay tribute to local humanitarians who are making a difference every day. You can read more about Oxfam’s conversations with local Yemeni heroes here.

Oxfam is an Oak partner devoted to fighting equality to beat poverty. Oak is supporting Oxfam’s humanitarian emergency operation in Yemen under our Special Interest Programme; you can read about the programme strategy on our website.