"I was caught between a rock and a hard place. Either I go back to my house - which became the main target of the ceaseless airstrikes - and face…
A Yemeni-based charity for humanitarian relief and development – managed earlier this September to deliver valuable aid to war-stricken Yemenis, at a time when many feel they have been abandoned by the international community.
Independently run by Fatik Al Rodaini in Yemen (a journalist and human rights activist) and Dr Riaz Karim in the UK, the Mona Relief organization has already made its mark in Yemen, offering the poorest and most most vulnerable a sympathetic shoulder to lean on.
While most relief agencies remain bogged down by politics, forced to play a game of cat and mouse with wealthy patrons in order to keep their operations going, the Mona Relief organization has defiantly outsourced its funding, calling on private donations to prevent any form of political hijacking.
Fatik al-Rodaini and Riaz Karim, founders, Mona Relief Organisation When international aid failed to provide countless Yemenis with their basic need, two friends decided to take action. Fatik Abdullah al-Rodaini, a Yemeni journalist in Sana’a, and Riaz Karim, a humanitarian in London, founded the Mona Relief Organisation, a grassroots charity for humanitarian relief and development aid. The Mona Relief Organisation is committed to offering critical aid to the poorest and and most vulnerable people in Yemen, and since its conception, has fed more than 7 million people in the country. Nominated by Alkarim Haji via GuardianWitness
Small local groups, such as Rodaini’s Mona Relief, don’t import food themselves. Instead, they buy food already delivered to local vendors by Yemeni merchants who have long-established distribution networks.
"I can't receive any shipment from abroad. So, I'm trying to buy food baskets from the local markets, and then I distribute it to the IDPs and the vulnerable families in Sanaa and in other provinces,” says Rodaini. “Mona Relief is working now in nine provinces. Most of them in northern Yemen.”
Mona Relief is an organisation which started from a single tweet and for the past two years has fed almost 8 million people in Yemen. "Mona Relief has the largest network of Volunteers in Northern Yemen Our work is a work of collaboration and social cooperation. We help communities help themselves; we use communities to assist us in our efforts, allowing for our network of local volunteers to grow."
What are some of the difficulties of running a non-profit in a country that is blockaded and sanctioned? How does MONA work around that?
We carried our work many times at the same time that Saudi led coalition was bombing places that we were working in. We tried as hard as we can to access areas that no one dares to go there.
People carry food aid they received from the local charity Mona Relief ahead of the holy month of Ramadan on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen. Photo by: REUTERS / Khaled Abdullah
More than 24 million Yemeni people, or 80% of Yemen’s population, are considered food insecure and require some kind of assistance from the 131 international and national groups