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Haya Al-Kubati's Millennium Fellowship story


 


Haya Al-Kubati, an undergraduate medical student at the 21 September University of Medical and Applied Sciences in Sana’a-Yemen, is a passionate advocate for the SDGs. She is especially interested in good health and well-being, mental health awareness, and disease prevention. Haya gained an interest in volunteering and social activism as a young girl and has been involved in the work for 9 years. She has launched several social impact projects targeting young people in Yemen, including raising awareness on climate change to ongoing school children, and implementing Cancer awareness campaigns in her community. As Class of 2023 Millennium Fellows, Haya and her team conducted breast cancer self-examination exercises for more than 300 high school girls. She also volunteered with youth from 24+ countries as a member of the organizing committee of the International Volunteering Youth Forum.


Haya is a Catalyst 2030 Yemen chapter member, a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange program YES alumna, and a former youth member of the Yemeni Youth Volunteering Committee with the Yemeni Association of Reproductive Health where she has helped conduct more than 6 social action campaigns targeting youths, women and children. She is also a Yemen country ambassador with Awareness 360  (a global youth-led organization advancing sustainable development through youth empowerment ) and 2021 fellow of the year with Awareness 360. Haya is a Recipient of the title Arab Voice Ambassador 2022  by the Arab Youth Center in Abu Dhabi with her podcast Youth and Sustainability which introduces the SDGs to Yemeni youth and addresses youth challenges. Recently a 2023 Diana Award recipient. Following her Millennium Fellowship work, she was named a MENA regional focal point with the Sendai Stakeholder Children and Youth (DDR working group ). She spoke with Team MCN to share her Millennium Fellowship journey.



Haya conducting a breast cancer awareness exercise

Thank you for speaking with us Haya. Please introduce yourself and share what inspired you to begin social impact work?


"Thank you for having me. My name is Haya. I started my Social Impact journey during my exchange year in the United States through the YES program when I was just 15 years old. I have since spent time volunteering on multiple grassroots initiatives, associations, and medical awareness teams. I have also launched my own social impact projects, including most recently as part of the Millennium Fellowship, and in the past through global youth-led organizations like Awareness 360. I have always felt as a young person growing up in Yemen, it is my responsibility to try my best to make my country a better place."


"The lessons on setting core values for our projects and ensuring we centre these values in our work are things I will carry with me even as I graduate from the Fellowship."  

Thank you for sharing. You were selected to the Millennium Fellowship in 2023 having shown incredible leadership potential. What has the experience meant for you?


"It is difficult to explain. The Millennium Fellowship was an enriching journey for me. Last year I came across the Fellowship and immediately wanted to be part of it. I knew we needed to apply as a cohort to stand a chance, so I spent time going around the school, inviting and encouraging my schoolmates to apply. Eventually enough of us ended up submitting applications, and upon selection I was named Campus Director. Holding this role made me feel empowered, trusted, and inspired. I was able to coordinate training sessions, support Fellows on their projects, and generally create an environment where everyone felt like they were part of a small family. I value what this fellowship has offered me. I say to all students at my school looking to apply that the training will only be a semester-long, but the lessons learnt will last me a lifetime."


Amazing. Please take a moment to Introduce your Millennium Fellowship project. What problem does your project try to solve?


"Of course! My project "But first! Mental health" aims to shed light on the importance of mental health among medical students. We are focusing particularly on helping med students cope during the transition period from their academic training into clinical rotations. This is usually an exciting but tough time because it is very demanding and you get to see things that can be very traumatizing. Most healthcare practitioners are prone to mental health issues due to the demanding nature of this speciality. It is a noble profession, but it can sometimes carry much negative weight. I hope to help destigmatize seeking psychological support, and create spaces where we can normalize talking about the troubles we all collectively face. Our well-being has to come first before we can take care of others, hence my project name - 'But First! Mental health"


 "I hope to help destigmatize seeking psychological support, and create spaces where we can normalize talking about the troubles we all collectively face."



That's wonderful. All the best as you continue this mission. How did the Millennium Fellowship contribute to your achievements? 


The Millennium Fellowship program has helped me learn about my leadership ability. Being in charge of an incredible cohort was a big honour and responsibility. It has also helped me understand the basics of social impact leadership. I appreciate that the curriculum focuses on teaching you how to build up your grassroots initiative, taking a social impact project from ideation to execution. The lessons on setting core values for our projects and ensuring we centre these values in our work are things I will carry with me even as I graduate from the Fellowship.  



 

Connect with Haya on LinkedIn.



Millennium Fellows and alumni, would you like to share your story with the community? Get in touch: (alumni@mcnpartners.org)


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