Alya Humaidi, Yemen

Ending hunger during a pandemic

“One person is powerful enough to make a change. Even if the change is as big as fighting hunger.”

Coming from some people, those words might seem trite. But coming from Alya Humaidi, a young woman working to make sure people in Marib and Dhamar Governorates, Yemen who are on the brink of starvation have access to food, one can’t help but pay attention.

Alya works as a program officer for ADRA Yemen, the partner of Foodgrains Bank member ADRA Canada. She is just one example of a frontline worker in the fight against global hunger who has had to adapt, both personally and professionally, to the challenge of delivering food to people in need while the world changed around her.

Alya runs emergency food distribution programs responding to the needs of people affected by Yemen’s ongoing conflict. It’s a conflict that’s been raging the last five years and it has devastated the lives of the ordinary people, like Alya, who call it home.

Staff members at ADRA Yemen prepare emergency rations for people at risk of starvation.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for Alya’s work hasn’t stopped. People are hungry, and it’s her job to make sure they receive emergency food. In the project, with ADRA Canada, 7,700 people receive food vouchers they exchange for flour, rice, beans, oil, sugar and salt. Many of the families who receive the help are displaced from other parts of Yemen due to conflict, and are headed by single mothers. Special priority is being given to households with children under five.

In her own words:

“COVID hit humanitarian organizations like ADRA [Yemen] hard, and the communities in need as well. We had to scale back our nutrition programming, for example.

Honestly it was very hard at the beginning, but then I got used to sanitizing everything and staying at home and talk to my other family members and friends via conference calls. It didn’t mean that much not being able to travel since the airport has been closed for over 5 years.

The biggest change personally for me was having to worry about my father who has a rare disease along with a heart condition that made me become paranoid about him catching the virus. We changed our clothes in the front yard before entering the house. We washed the groceries and the bags. Almost everything was sanitised before entering the house.

During my work-from home time, I designed face masks with a Yemeni touch. I posted the designs on Facebook for fun and a huge positive feedback came back. People were excited to wear them.

I believe one person can make a change. My father taught me that if each individual does their best to take care of their circle, they will make a change in the world. I think everyone has grown so much faith in God and what’s meant to be will happen.

It takes one person to start something. One person is powerful enough to make a change. Even if the change is big as fighting hunger.”

We are grateful for the work that people like Ayda do to bring about hope in hunger-stricken countries via the gift of food. Thank you!