Last week was World Humanitarian Day, a celebration that honors the global efforts made towards supporting people affected by poverty, disease, natural disasters, and war. This year, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs decided to highlight Women Humanitarians. In what the UN calls a “global momentum of female strength,” the following women humanitarians have dedicated their services to improve the lives of those in need.
EDUCATION ASSISTANCE IN YEMEN
Yemen has been going through a violent civil war that has threatened the lives of millions of locals. The violence, among having many impacts, has disrupted children’s access to education. Schools have been destroyed by bomb attacks and heavy gunfire. Education Assistants, like 26-year old Malka Mohammed, ensure children are still able to access education during this time of conflict. Along with rebuilding schools, Education Assistants distribute school materials, arrange meals for students, and provide teachers with adequate teaching resources.
PHILIPPINES DISASTER RISK REDUCTION NETWORK
Ana Ria Barrera is a teacher who doubles as a frontliner for the Philippines Disaster Risk Reduction Network, an organization that works to provide quick and easily accessible aid to people affected by natural disasters. The network pushes for change within the Philippian government, demanding Congress pass a disaster risk management and reduction bill. Barrera encourages other humanitarian leaders to operate with “clear gender objectives,” as women serve as vital resources of help and information during emergencies and times of crisis.
OXFAM COMMUNITY LEADERS
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries in West Africa, an Ebola outbreak has taken the lives of at least 1,900 residents. Several women in the DRC have offered their services through Oxfam, a global humanitarian foundation. Local nurses provide vaccinations and healthcare to those infected. Teachers are offering free classes on Ebola prevention. Community leaders are raising awareness of the virus and debunking myths that heighten community panic. Because women are primarily affected by the deadly virus, public health promoters target mothers and young girls for spreading information about resources.
PALESTINIAN WOMEN’S HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION
Lebanon currently hosts over 1 million Syrian and Palestinian refugees amidst war and violent conflict. The Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organization, or PWHO, supports the women living in Lebanese refugee camps. The group offers education programs and leadership workshops to encourage women to participate in local and residential politics. The primary mission of the organization is to provide equal access to developmental tools and opportunities for young women and girls.