Yemen Times Person of the Year 2005 [Archives:2006/909/Viewpoint]

January 5 2006

Every year, the Yemen Times presents to its reader an active personality as Person of the Year. The criteria for selecting this person are that he or she must be successful both personally and professionally, as well as done something significant for the community during the year.

This year, however, there is a twist; Yemen Times does not have just one Person of the Year, it has an organization. Mrs. Hiyam Mubarak, head of the Women's Association for Poverty Reduction in Aden and leader of Al-Iradah Network, is the Yemen Times Person of the Year 2005. Al-Iradah, meaning “the will,” is a charity network working to eradicate poverty in Aden. During 2005, the network was behind establishing three schools, two health centers, three post offices and providing electricity to a poor area with no infrastructure at all. The network, made up of the association and other civic organizations, works for the benefit of the poor in Aden governorate. In addition to projects, it has worked on awareness activities as well as rehabilitation, training and field research. The association also is home to more than 20 street children who have found shelter and refuge within the association's protective walls.

These are only a few of the network's achievements, led by Mubarak and her determined spirit. The best part is that all of these achievements are based on volunteer work with no expectations in return. “Just seeing the smiles on the poor people's faces is enough for us. And although there are so many hardships, our faith in what we are doing gives us the will to go on,” Mubarak said when asked why the network does what it does.

There are some good people in Yemen who do not seek fame or reward for their work. These are the ones from whom we should derive strength and hope. There are many like Mubarak and Al-Iradah Network and we feel compelled to tell their stories as a means of inspiration and encouragement. Such people deserve our attention. They could be right in front of us, trying not to make much noise while they create everyday miracles. Thanks to Mubarak, the Women's Association and Al-Iradah Network, smiles are replacing tears. As we close the curtain on 2005 and anticipate what 2006 might bring, we wish these people more strength to survive and all the best that life can give.