Rasha is a gender rights advocate in Yemen and the Founder of Yemeni Youth for Humanitarian Relief. Yemeni Youth for Humanitarian Relief (YYHR) is a youth leaded initiative to facilitate a rapid response to humanitarian crisis and relief Yemeni families from any man-made or natural disasters. A regional media and advocacy officer for Oxfam in Beirut, she has been working on the Syria crisis and refugee policy, including amplifying voices of refugees. Jarhum is a program development advisor for House of Ideas, a youth led NGO she co-founded and a researcher with American University of Beirut. From 2012 to 2015 she was a social research consultant for the United Nations. Jarhum is a member of the Yemeni Women’s Pact for Peace and Security and an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow.
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, displacement of people 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.
On February 16th-25th 2011, Aden protesters were brutally attacked by security forces (HRW Report), as such this group was created. The situation in Aden was very an alarming; from a humanitarian perspective, especially as the unrest continues, hospitals were 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 did, that came out of their food and well-being budget for their families. The group was first established on Facebook group to support and 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.
Today YYHR includes more than 60 boys and girls and works in close coordination with other initiatives. Initially there was focus on members who are politically independent but with time the group’s management realized that there are those active sincere Yemenis who may be affiliated to political parties but are interested in relief and humanitarian work. So they decided to be inclusive while still maintaining the neutrality of them as an initiative and focusing on non-political activities.
The interesting fact of this initiative is that it includes both men and women who work in a cohesive environment despite the Yemeni traditions that usually do not allow such freedom of mixed gathering. “The society is made of men and women so naturally a successful organization would be made the same way. We never faced any problems working together because we are serious in what we do,” said Al-Rawhani.