"My work fills me with enthusiasm and generates a sense of responsibility within me. I feel responsible for displaced people and for fulfilling their needs.
I work in the field and meet community committee representatives to collect information about the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen. I monitor IDP's access to facilities and services, and I support them with referrals and response mechanisms if there is an incident. I ensure that relevant protection matters are brought to the attention of protection agencies and competent authorities, and inform the population on their rights and obligations.
I face challenges as a woman due to cultural and traditional norms, especially on Yemen's west coast. The area in which I work is considered to be conservative with few working women. In the beginning, the local authorities and IDP community representatives refused to work with me, and they did not agree to share any information.
But I dealt with everyone with patience and respect, and with a lot of hard work, I proved that I was competent and gained the trust of the community, the local authorities, and my counterparts, who began to cooperate with me.
It was unfamiliar to the people here to see me attending all-male meetings, and to see me traveling by myself between governorates as a woman along with my male colleagues.
To me, it was a motivational challenge as a female. I wanted to prove them wrong. Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean that I should be restricted to my home only. I was patient and the results of my work started to show. I worked as hard as my male colleagues, and maybe even harder. I was very happy to see the response from the authorities when my humanitarian work was being recognized, particularly as one of the few female representatives in the area making a visible impact in the community. My team were also very supportive and thanks to them, I am here today.
From my point of view as a female, women are essential actors, particularly in the humanitarian work. A woman's role is a constant challenge. I took that challenge and proved that I could overcome it. I moved from a junior position to a higher position: I started as a volunteer and today, I am a team leader, which reflects my success and growth.
What makes me happy is having my tasks completed on time. I am organized and I stick to my time lines, work plans, targets and policies. When I look back at the impact of my work, I have been able to change people’s lives. I reach people who haven’t been assisted before, achieving my personal goals, practicing my English and improving my language, influencing other girls and inspiring them to be ambitious. It makes me feel very happy.”
These stories are recollections of human experience in the lives of refugees and displaced persons – present and past. Their stories are the strongest proof that they are just as empowered human beings just as you and I.
In 1997, Nicole fled Eritrea to avoid military conscription. Her story is a story of female empowerment and strength. Coming to a new country, Nicole had to overcome the challenges of being “othered” due to her birth name, Rahwa.
Sara published her first poetry collection earlier in 2021. It tells the stories of her upbringing between two cultures, seeking her Palestinian roots, and trying to understand her cultural identity through a generational perspective.