Saara Bouhouche, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s Emergency Head of Mission since August 2016, is a natural born humanitarian worker.
From event management to humanitarian aid
I started in the communication field and quickly became a consultant, but after a few years, my wanderlust and thirst for meeting new people caught up with me. Working in the humanitarian field allows me to question myself, my certainties and my vision of the world, on a daily basis. In a word: to grow up. It is a tough job, most of the time exhausting, both physically and morally. But nothing is more satisfying than knowing we contributed to save lives. In a way, my professional pathway reflects my personality: communication is my tool, art and my commitment keep me going, and my investment in the humanitarian field makes me blossom.
The challenge of the emergency team
Today, I am part of the Emergency Department at SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, which includes a permanent team at headquarters and a 3 person Emergency Response Team (ERT) of which I am Head of Mission. My role is to support the Desk Manager in the follow up and analysis of the humanitarian needs around the world, and to implement an emergency response with my team in countries selected by SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL when a crisis occurs (conflict or natural disaster). That is what I was looking for when I came here: a challenge, continuously renewed by different missions.
Yemen, a country that suffers
My last mission to date? Yemen. A few years ago, it was my first mission on the ground. Back then, I spent almost a year over there. It is such a beautiful, rich and interesting country. Yemenis are incredibly warm and welcoming. There is something mysterious in this country that I couldn’t describe. Landscapes are unique, the country’s history is magic and the architecture of the old city of Sana’a is overwhelming. But it is also a country that has been deeply suffering for a while now. Its population is dying slowly, the struggle for power continues to rage and the strategic interests of governments allied to the different stakeholders are making the people suffocate. To see this nation of such generous people suffer from war and die to the international community’s indifference revolts me. 17 million people are facing food insecurity, 17 million who could die of hunger if nothing is done. I can’t remain silent about this terrible disaster.