SHAFAQNA – For nearly a year Yemen has suffered Saudi Arabia’s brutal, and systematic onslaught – against its people, its state, its institutions and its infrastructures.
Broken, shattered and laid waste to Yemen has been left to its ow device and demise, left to wither and shrivel under the torments of war for Riyadh ambitioned to break a proud and sovereign people’s will.
But if Yemen has been shunned from the international community, abandoned by those very organizations which should have offered humanitarian relief, a few have refused to look away as an entire nation was earmarked for destruction.
The Mona Relief Organization was born from such a desire to resist and oppose the injustice of war.
Under the impetus of both Dr Riaz Karim, a veteran humanitarian, and Fatik al-Rodaini, a journalist turned rights defenders in Yemen, the Mona Relief Organization was able to rise a network of volunteers and supporters, making it possible for teams on the ground to directly distribute food, medicines and clothing to those most destitute.
Completely independent from the broader humanitarian complex set-up, the Mona Relief Organization retained its integrity …. Unlike so many NGOs in Yemen, the Mona Relief Organization was able to decline “foreign funding”, allowing its management to not fall prey to Riyadh’s humanitarian diktat.
While media have often refused to cover the underbelly of Yemen’s humanitarian reality, it remains a proven fact that the kingdom has exploited its financial patronage to profile humanitarian aid – imposing severe restrictions on those populations which share not in its religious inclination.
It is such aid profiling and despicable humanitarian sectarianism Dr Riaz Karim has campaigned against and denounced through his appeals, fundraising activities and outreach in the press.
Although less than a year old, the Mona Relief Organization was able to reach tens of thousands of families in northern Yemen, to distribute over 2 million meals and offer medical assistance to many vulnerable families.
Somewhat of a humanitarian sensation in Yemen, and abroad, the Mona Relief Organization caught the eye of several media with its bold approach to Saudi Arabia’s blockade on Yemen, and its teams’ propensity to run it!
Over the past few months the Mona Relief Organization was shot at, threatened and it convoys attack … still volunteers have persevered, determined to act a barrier against hopelessness.
“We have a responsibility to the communities we serve, and we will continue to do what we can as long as we can,” said Dr Riaz Karim in exclusive comments to Shafaqna.
He added, “As co-director and co-founder of the Mona Relief Organization my work has been of course to secure that funding remains steady but not only that … we are planning a broad reconstruction campaign. This war will end and when it ends our real work will begin. We ambition to do all that independently of course! We will not fall victim to amoral patronage … this is not who we are as an organization. We abide by a certain code of conduct – that ALL people should be treated fairly, equally and kindly according to their needs.”
An organization with a heart of gold, the Mona Relief Organization has gone well beyond the call of duty, offering refuge and solace to hundreds of thousands. Under their actions, villages have begun organize their own food distribution system, making it possible to help more people. While not wasting energy on logistics.
In tune with the communities it serves the Mona Relief Organization has become a humanitarian resistance movement onto its own, a true testament that before the impossible none should yield.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna –