Did you know that Yemeni coffee, an ancestral wild beverage, is incredibly sought after and praised for being one of the best coffees in the world?
A Muscat resident who is an Arabic coffee expert is using coffee as an entry point to raise awareness about the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, and helping vulnerable Yemenis in need of support.
Medina Ilyassova from Kazakhstan and a Muscat resident holds workshops on how to make Arabic coffee and its health benefits.
Her socially responsible initiative with a popular tag line #Coffee4Yemen, has received admirable support. She has also started to sell coffee kits, with part of the proceeds going to support Yemenis.
Medina learnt about the suffering of Yemeni children by accident when a friend from Kazakhstan mentioned it to her.
A Central Asian country, Kazakhstan had suffered a terrible famine during the beginning of the 20th century. “The trauma inflicted on the people has been passed down through the generations. When people suffer so much, it does not simply end once the conflict is over,” she recollects about her home country.
At first, she was surprised to be unaware of how severe the crisis was. During Ramadhan, she started giving educational workshops and talks about coffee and raised substantial money.
Says Medina: “After closely studying the situation, I was shocked at how bad it was, and of the scarce media coverage. Since Yemen is the birthplace of Arabica coffee, and Yemeni culture is a beautiful representation of Arab culture, I decided to try and raise awareness about this crisis using coffee as an entry point.”
Soon, other concerned individuals joined her cause and named themselves Yemen.Is (@_yemen_is_).
They partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help support vulnerable Yemeni people displaced and harmed by the crisis.
Today, their work in supporting Yemen is exemplary and progressing.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive, she says, as people have come together in a wonderful way, sharing their love for coffee and desire to see Yemen stand up on its own again, and overcome this humanitarian crisis.
“Over $10,000 was raised, which goes directly to the UNHCR bank account in Geneva and will be spent to provide food and medication to the most vulnerable refugees,” she adds.
Her ‘Yemeni Arabica,’ is 100 per cent freshly roasted responsibly sourced and supports sustainability. She has so far tried over 10 different types of Yemeni Arabica and over 100 different recipes from all over the Gulf.
“We are definitely going to continue to support Yemen in whatever way we can. During the recent Ramadhan, we were able to raise awareness and funds which gave us a lot of momentum to go ahead with our plans. The situation in Yemen is dire, and the people need much longer help than just during the holy month,” she mentions.
Many exchanged ideas attending her live Arabic coffee workshops sharing the history, preparation process and health benefits.
Medina has come up with her own recipe, which is a perfect blend of spices and specialty.
“Every Arab family has their own recipes which are passed down across generations. They vary from one family to another based on different elements namely the types, beans and quantities of spices used as well as ingredients like rosewater,” she elaborates.
A marathoner, Medina (@Medina_diaries) is currently preparing for the 2021 NY marathon in November.