Reema Al-Merekhi, a Human Genetics graduate of Newcastle University, has been presented with the Social Impact Award by the British Council. She then went on to win a People’s Choice Award, gaining 34% of the public vote in Qatar.
The British Council presents three awards to graduates of UK universities who have travelled from abroad to study. The Social Impact Award “acknowledges alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving lives.” Al-Merekhi, who has volunteered with the Qatar Red Crescent since 2013, received the award for her work with the IRFC Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT), a branch of the Red Cross that attends the sites of natural and political disasters urgently. The is also a member of “Surge”, meaning that she is one of the first Red Cross representatives deployed, often at little notice.
After volunteering at a Disaster Management Camp, Al-Merekhi was certified by the Red Cross and worked as a Team Leader of a Rapid Response Team. In 2016 she became the first Arab woman to be certified by and join the IRFC’s FACT Team, whereupon she gained the position of Movement Relief Assessment and Coordination Operations Officer during the 2017 response to the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh. She has now been elected as a youth member of the Qatar Red Crescent Society’s Board of Directors.
Al-Merekhi emphasises the importance of empowering marginalised women to partake in global relief efforts: “I recommend that Arab women from MENA Red Crescent and Red Cross should be represented in the surge system. It is important for localization and ensuring that MENA (The Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan) national societies can support each other in emergencies.”
Last modified: 20th February 2020