Sakhr Manaseer

Originally from Yemen, Sakhr has been living in New Zealand since 2016. He works for the Red Cross as a youth activator. We chatted with him about the situation in Yemen and how from New Zealand we can make a difference. Here’s what he had to say.

Where in Yemen are you from?

I am originally from Lahj but lived in Aden most of my life before I moved with my family to Sanaa for my last 5 years in Yemen.

When was your last time in Yemen? And have you been back? 

Last time I left was for University in 2011, I used to go back and visit but the last time I was in Yemen was January 2015


What do you miss about Yemen?

The humbling generosity of people despite their living conditions and poverty and the food of course


What do you think people who haven't lived in the crisis should know or wouldn't realise?

That in places like Yemen unfortunately safety becomes a luxury, your life could be lost in a split second as collateral damage or indiscriminate attacks “mistakes” 


What do people outside of Yemen, in places like New Zealand, take for granted?

People outside Yemen, Syria, Palestine and many other places especially in countries that are involved in the proxy power dynamics need to understand that they hold a power in what happens to these countries, most of them are proxy wars that are controlled by the countries you live in. So vote right and ask your representatives about their international political stances and hold them accountable to the promises they made you!

What would you tell people who don't know anything about Yemen?

Yemen is now one of the poorest countries in the world with over 80% of the population needing basic food and aid to survive. There is no way a country that poor can sustain a civil war for 5 years on such a large scales without other countries being involved. That involvement is unfortunately not out the goodness of their heart but for interests and resources whether it being oil or strategically controlling geographical areas.