Djibouti: Safia Houssein Awaleh

By Katherine Roux

Sitting under a shaded tree in the sweltering heat of a summer day, Safia Houssein Awaleh is proudly explaining her work as a Djibouti Red Crescent Society (DRCS) volunteer. And when asked how her community is coping with the present drought, she replies calmly: “There is a constant drought here.”

Safia does not distinguish between the present hardships her community is facing with any other time of the year. For her, the problems are chronic. People are unemployed, water is scare, and food prices have skyrocketed making it difficult for many families to eat. Safia lives in one of the poorest areas of Djibouti, a place called Balbala, located on the outskirts of the capital city.

As a DRCS volunteer, Safia has helped identify some of the most vulnerable families in her community. She typically targets the elderly, children less than five years of age, and pregnant women, who receive health care,  and lessons on good hygiene practices and the prevention of HIV/AIDS and cholera.

Safia has been carrying out the work since 2003 when she jointed the DRCS as a volunteer, and she will serve as a critical link to local communities when the society and IFRC provide support in the coming months.

For Safia, her motivation to be a Red Crescent volunteer lies in a desire to improve the lives of those around her. “I want to enrich the community where I live, and it is the most important to help people get out of difficulty,” she says.