An Update On Our 2018 Arwa Fellows

Back in December we selected three extraordinary women for our inaugural cohort of the Arwa Fellowship. These women are on their final stretch in completing their degrees and are preparing to become civil society leaders. Here’s a look at what two of our fellows, Haifa and Reem, are doing in hopes of someday bettering their communities:


Haifa, a medical student from the remote island of Soqotra, is in her final year of med school, where she’s training to become an OB/GYN. Before receiving the Arwa Fellowship, her studies were put on hold when al-Qaeda militants took control of Mukalla, the city in which she is completing her studies, forcing her to return home. Even after al-Qaeda left the city, the prohibitive costs of traveling from Soqotra to the mainland kept Haifa from resuming her classes, until the Yemeni Empowerment Fund stepped in to help. Since returning to Mukalla — by way of a 44-hour boat ride over rough seas — she has been eager to finish her degree. Her sixth medical curriculum is split up into six different rotations, ranging from the pediatric department to general surgery. Her group started with pediatrics, gaining clinical experience, attending lectures, and working one-on-one with specialists who talked them through the cases they were admitted to. Though her journey has been tough, Haifa has seen progress in her academic work and noticeable professional development towards her career path. There are challenges, however: safety and security in Haifa’s area have decreased over the last year. Living conditions across the city have deteriorated due to the ongoing conflict and political instability. Despite those conditions, local authorities are functioning, and Haifa’s university remains in operation.  

"Haifa’s sixth-year medical curriculum: 
• Gyn/Obstetric department for 8 weeks
• Internal medicine for 10 weeks
• General surgery for 10 weeks
• Family medicine for 4 weeks
• Holiday (Ramadan month) for 4 weeks"
The College of Medicine at Hadhramawt University, which both Haifa and Reem attend.

The College of Medicine at Hadhramawt University, which both Haifa and Reem attend.


Reem is also in her final year as a medical student in Mukalla, in Hadhramawt Governorate. She has hopes of building a community health clinic in a rural area of Hadhramawt, and of developing a telemedicine program that will connect rural patients to medical experts overseas. Since receiving the Arwa Fellowship, she has taken advanced medical courses in addition to her required courses. All of her goals have become easier to achieve with access to internet and electricity. Reem has completed her ECG practical course in the hospital in addition to cardiac shock training, which lasted two months, and emergency cases training. She started English classes last month to prepare for the TOEFL, and completed registration for her practical year at a hospital in Aden.

"All of my goals have become easy to do because of you…. I paid all of my university fees… and I bought medical surgery books. My university life has become easy because of your support."


Help us empower Yemeni women by contributing to the Fund today! Your donations will go directly to our amazing Arwa Fellows.