Nasser Salim Ali Al-Hamairy

Nasser Salim Ali Al-Hamairy

Nasser Salim Ali Al-Hamairy
Founder of the Society for Humanitarian Solidarity (SHS)

Nasser Salim Ali Al-Hamairy

Born in Shabwah, southern Yemen, Al-Hamairy founded the Society for Humanitarian Solidarity (SHS) in 1995 with the aim of providing relief to the needy for the benefit of society as a whole. Under difficult conditions and despite heavy security constraints, SHS has consistently provided essential and life-saving support to refugees in Yemen's southern governorates.

With a background in science and administration, Al-Hamairy was previously the Deputy Director of Mayfa’a district council, where he helped to mediate local disputes. Driven by a desire to assist the large numbers of poor and sick people in the community, he established SHS to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable in Mayfa’a. When refugees and migrants began to arrive by boat, the local government lacked sufficient resources to provide assistance. SHS stepped in and began working with UNHCR to help the new arrivals.

Al-Hamairy has also collaborated with embassies and other charities on various other humanitarian and development projects. For example, SHS worked with the Japanese Embassy in Sana’a to build essential infrastructure in the village of Khor al Omeria, which benefited the host community near Kharaz refugee camp. In addition, the NGO worked with the US Embassy in Sana’a to renovate a high school in Aden and three schools in Ma’areb. SHS has also worked with the Emirates Red Crescent and Qatar Charity to distribute food and clothing to refugees and the local community.

The UN refugee agency announced on 13 September 2011 that SHS founder Nasser Salim Ali Al-Hamairy and his dedicated team had won the 2011 Nansen Refugee Award. The award, which consists of a medal and a US$100,000 prize, is given annually to a person or group for outstanding services in supporting refugee causes.

2011 Yemen: Risking All for a Better Future

Plagued by violence, drought and poverty, thousands of people in the Horn of Africa leave their homes out of desperation every year. Seeking safety or a better life, these civilians - mainly Somalis and Ethiopians - make the dangerous journey through Somalia to the northern port of Bossaso.

Once there, they pay up to US$150 to make the perilous trip across the Gulf of Aden on smugglers' boats. They often wait for weeks in Bossaso's safe houses or temporary homes until a sudden call prompts their departure under the veil of night, crammed into small rickety boats.

Out at sea, they are at the whim of smugglers. Some passengers get beaten, stabbed, killed and thrown overboard. Others drown before reaching the beaches of Yemen, which have become the burial ground for hundreds of innocent people who die en route.

The Yemen-based Society for Humanitarian Solidarity (SHS) has been helping these people since 1995. On September 13, 2011 UNHCR announced that the NGO had won this year's Nansen Refugee Award for its tireless efforts to assist people arriving from the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.