Baha’s Unwavering Journey of Hope and Humanity in Yemen
The Humanitarian response in Yemen is taking place in one of the most complicated and challenging environments in the world. Despite the multifaceted impact on humanitarian workers and the personal sacrifices they make, their dedication to help make a positive impact on people’s lives fuels their motivation to keep going.
Baha’a, father of four, has been a vital member of Oxfam Yemen's food security team. Prior to joining the humanitarian work, Baha’a was a symbol of hope and a devoted member in support of his community in AlDhale’e Governorate – Southern Yemen.
Before the escalation of conflict in Yemen, He had a stable life, things were relatively safe, and hard-earned money had a steady value.
As conflict continued, everything dramatically changed. State of unrest widely spread, sounds of gunshots became common, securing basic food needs has become a struggle, and many families were forced to accept a new harsh reality. A chilling reminder of the surrounding chaos.
The conflict did affect the whole country— and it also hit Baha’a personally too.
“I lost many loved ones during the conflict and I had to hold onto my education and focus on surviving. I had to come in peace with myself and the fact that I won’t be able to fulfil my dreams, and only God knows how much of a challenge was that? “
Amid all the darkness, Baha’a found a glimmer of hope and decided to act. With a group of young people, he started some personal initiatives to help his community. ‘’We established with community support a local humanitarian foundation to help poor people, then succeeded in establishing a Dialysis Center’’ these efforts showed his strong caring nature and genuine passion for making a positive impact. ‘’But it wasn't easy’’ Baha’a continued.
After that, Baha’a joined Oxfam's food security team in 2018. Energetic and filled with natural enthusiasm, he started his first working day.
‘’My first day at work changed my perception of the nature of humanitarian work, it was not an easy work, I remember that day when I joined colleagues and we travelled to a remote areas to deliver cash for food assistance, driving through harsh roads and isolated areas with no phone coverage. I was anxious until we reached the village and saw hopelessness and desperation in people’s faces the moment we started helping them my anxiety vanished.” Baha’a recalled.
Noticing the moments people appreciated their help, made him more determined to keep going. “ It's a heartbreaking feeling when you become deeply connected to the others' struggle’’. he affirmed “The fear and pain were shared, so were the moments of success and hope. Seeing people's joy when they received help reminded me that every effort was worth it.”
Knowing that his humanitarian work was a lifeline to those in need, he continued with dedication to help reduce the suffering, yet his journey wasn’t easy.
One day, two years ago, Baha’a joined his colleague ‘’Fatehi’’ and the driver and traveled on a field mission from Aden heading to the displacement camps in Al Dhale’e governorate. While on the high road, their car was rained down with heavy gunshots.
‘’When we were under attack, we were horrified, bullets pierced the car from everywhere. At that time, I was asking myself: Will I live? Will I see my family again? The three of us were silent, lowering our heads down to avoid being hit by bullets.''
In this horrific attack, Fatehi – Oxfam’s logistics officer - was severely hit with multiple gunshots resulting in his death hours later after being transported to the nearest hospital, both Baha’a and the driver were also hit and injured, but the driver suffered complications due to his serious injuries.
‘’When gunfire stopped, I was terrified to death, not feeling my injury, blood stains spread everywhere inside the car, then I saw pieces of flesh, I looked around to find out that it was from Fatehi’s body. Not knowing what to do, I kept crying out loud in the car.’’ Baha’a painfully described.
Baha’a and the driver survived a certain death from this attack, traumatized for several months later, but he would never forget this terrible moment when his colleague died next to him.
” My head keeps repeating what happened over and over, thinking what I could have done differently to save Fatehi’s life, sometimes I close my eyes and feel the same horrific moment of Fatehi’s blood and flesh on my clothes and everywhere in the car. knowing that Fatehi was gone, and his lovely spirit had left us, I feel my soul is deeply wounded forever.’’ he said.
Humanitarian Fieldwork left a lasting mark on Baha’a's heart, but he was not left alone, his colleagues and team at Oxfam provided him with continuous support until he was able to stand again with the team and continue rising the spirit of humanity together.
Baha’a's story shows that his hope has no boundaries. He wishes for a day when Yemen's suffering would end, and stability would return. Every step he took, every life he touched, brought him closer to this vision. In the harshest times, Baha’a proved that compassion and strength could light up even the darkest moments and that humanitarian work is a torch that lights the way for a much better world.