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Online platform Al Yamaniah seeks to change the narrative surrounding Yemeni women Open in fullscreen

Sahar Esfandiari

Online platform Al Yamaniah seeks to change the narrative surrounding Yemeni women

Sitara by @thebashayer_(L) and Yemeni Rural Women by @alia.zabarah (R). [Al Yamaniah]

Date of publication: 29 May, 2020

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Al Yamaniah is shining a spotlight on the creative talents of Yemeni women.
In a bid to shine a light on the incredible work of Yemeni women around the world, British-Yemeni artist and musician Intibint founded the online platform Al Yamaniah

Building on her existing platform on Instagram, the London-based creative launched Al Yamaniah in March 2020 in collaboration with six other Yemeni women who share a common goal of changing the global narrative surrounding women in Yemen. 

Since the civil war in Yemen started in 2015, the image of the country in the media is largely dominated by the war, and narratives of everyday life and Yemeni people are largely if not entirely absent.

"In the media, conversations surrounding Yemeni women have always focused on undermining their position, and push aside the fact that despite the difficulties faced from the war in Yemen, as well as other issues, they continue to rise and contribute greatly to wider fields including music, politics, science, and development," Intibint told The New Arab.

The team is currently formed of Intibint, Asma Ibrahim, Anwar Baobeid, Afraa Ahmed, Shaima Al Mekhlafi and Makadeer Kassim. 

Through the platform, the team are hoping to change the conversations surrounding Yemeni women and create a space to inspire people through highlighting examples of brilliant Yemeni women

Al Yamaniah seeks to change the global narrative surrounding women in Yemen

"There are so many talented Yemeni women and we wanted to bring them all to one place," says Intibint.

The 30 Yemeni Women Campaign 

At the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the platform launched the 30 Yemeni Women Campaign through Instagram. 

The campaign is in its second year, having taken place on Intibint's platform last year, and celebrates women from a range of fields including art, healthcare, and journalism among others. 

"The idea of a 30 Yemeni women campaign came to me as a way to expand the conversations that occur during this month. As we post about a woman each day we hope that their achievements will be discussed around the Ramadhan table," Intibint told The New Arab.

This year, with the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign has been tied to a fundraiser to raise money for the ongoing work of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), an NGO who provide emergency life-saving services for women delivering babies, people injured in fighting, and children suffering from malnutrition. 

Over 500 people are thought to have died so far after contracting the coronavirus in Aden, a main city in Southern Yemen, according to local health officials. 

Having suffered damage to its health infrastructure as a result of the armed conflict, the spread of the virus is particularly worrying in Yemen, and it is feared that the country will not be able to cope under the strain of the pandemic.

As this situation unfolds, the work of Al Yamaniah becomes increasingly urgent. At the time of writing, Al Yamaniah had raised over £3,215 for MSF through their campaign. 

The inspiring work of Yemeni women

Esra' AlNaggar is a Yemen-based journalist and writer. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Sanaa and working as a journalist for some time, Esra' launched The Elixir Magazine - a publication aiming to revive the importance of reading. 

Her motivation for launching the magazine came from a desire to educate people on the benefits of reading and learning, but also to prove to the world that Yemenis can produce regardless of the ongoing war.  

Commenting on the work of the Al Yamaniah platform Esra' says "as a Yemeni woman, highlighting the work I am doing helps The Elixr Magazine gain better recognition and creates more opportunities for us to grow both on the local and the international level." 

There are so many talented Yemeni women and we wanted to bring them all to one place

Ghadeer AlMaghafi is an accomplished business and entrepreneurship professional. She is currently the acting director of the Yemeni Business Club and its affiliated organisations, who aim to support entrepreneurship and other economic activities in Yemen. 

Ghadeer is also heavily involved in contributing to social development projects to tackle issues brought about as a result of the war such as SAVE, through which 500 participants were given training on protection, shelter and first aid. 

Passionate about validating the work of Yemeni women from all walks of life, Ghadeer is keen to mention that even in the context of the war, women play a vital role in society through supporting their families, and have also started to work outside of the home more than before. 

Yemeni women in the diaspora are also involved in the project, one of whom is New York based Threa Almontaser. Threa is a Yemeni-American writer and author of The Wild Fox of Yemen, a poetry collection due to be released in 2021. 

"I am excited to be part of such an amazing feature showcasing the work of Yemeni women, I am very proud of my people, where I come from, and my community," she told The New Arab.

Struck by the huge amount of support the platform has received in such a short amount of time, Intibint describes the response to the 30 Yemeni Women Campaign as very positive. 

"People from all over the world have been celebrating the women on our page and we have received DM's from people who are being inspired and would like to connect with the women we feature," she said.

In the future, Al Yamaniah are looking to launch a number of new projects through their online community with the same aim of promoting the work of Yemeni women internationally and changing the narrative around them. 

As the team work remotely on these projects, the platform is set to expand even further in the coming months.

Sahar Esfandiari is a British-Iranian writer focused on the Middle East and its diaspora

Follow her on Twitter: @saharesfandiari

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