By: Haya Al-Kubati (YES 2014-2015, Yemen, placed by Ayusa in Owensville, MO)
Haya Al-Kubati ‘15 from Yemen, aged 24, has been recognized with the highest accolade a young person can receive for social action and humanitarian efforts – The Diana Award. Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Diana Award honors young people for going above and beyond in their daily life to create and sustain positive change.
Haya is a dedicated young leader, who is currently a medical student. They have volunteered over 6,000 hours to benefit their community in Yemen, focusing on helping girls and women access health services. Haya’s volunteer efforts include projects around breast cancer awareness, drug abuse, gender norms, reproductive health, mental health, and vaccination awareness, and have impacted over 20,000 people.
She has also worked with more than 30 local youth-led initiatives to advocate for sustainability, and is an Arab Voice Ambassador recognized by the Arab Youth Centre in Abu Dhabi for her podcast “Youth and Sustainability”. She also received recognition as the Awareness 360 2022 Fellow of the Year.
After being forcibly removed from Yemen, she started doing simple volunteering work, such as helping non-English speakers fill out application forms, teaching English to young children, and helping illiterate people fill out asylum forms. She said, “I knew what not having a place to call home means, and I wanted better for the people around me.” After two years, she risked her own safety to return home to Sana’a.
Haya shared that they consider the YES program to be their “spark”. Haya endured many challenges, and this always encouraged her to implement volunteering and social action projects, especially in a war-torn country like Yemen. As a medical student, Haya aims to connect medical knowledge, service, and sustainability. She is inspired by the following quote from Princess Diana: “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”