Oxfam donor Marjorie Rachlin leaves a lasting mark through her assistance for people in Yemen.
Marjorie Rachlin built a legacy around fighting inequality. In 1947, she began her career in labor rights education at the Textile Workers of America. She then embarked on a Fulbright year studying labor relations in London, before moving to Washington, D.C., where she became an education associate for the International Association of Machinists.
Rachlin, who was described by her niece Nancy Joy Allchin as an “advocate for truth and social justice,” co-authored "Labor Education in the United States" in 1968. It was the first comprehensive survey on the subject of labor education. In 1970, she joined the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she would spend the next 30 years establishing herself as a voice for union education. There she led programs on teaching techniques for union officers and staff and leadership for women union members.
A longtime Oxfam supporter and member of our Legacy Circle, Rachlin passed away in August 2021. Her spirit endures at Oxfam America and in the lives of the people of Yemen who were touched by the impact of her generosity. While reflecting on her legacy, she chose to leave resources to support Oxfam’s work with partners who are helping families in Yemen weather the effects of years of war.
Her nephew, Douglas Allchin, says, “Marjorie’s final gift for Yemen was very much about helping those who suffered misfortune not of their own making.”
Oxfam legacy gift lessens impacts of years of war on Yemeni people
As Yemen enters its ninth year of war, nearly 20 million people in the country are in need of humanitarian assistance. In March, we reported that assistance groups, including Oxfam, estimated that 17 million people are experiencing high levels of food insecurity.
In response to these ongoing crises, Oxfam is helping people start businesses and support themselves so they can survive and sustain their families. Nazrah Mohsen and Shoai Abdullah Munaseer Al-Domainy are two such entrepreneurs and mothers who were struggling to meet basic needs. Both women took advantage of a small business program through Oxfam that helped them regain control over their finances.
Monsen, a mother of five from Abyan governorate, lacked a steady source of income, but had training in beehive construction. She registered her business idea with an Oxfam program that provided a financial grant for her and her husband to establish a beehive-construction and bee-breeding business.
“When we received support from Oxfam, at first, I built a few beehives,” Mohsen says. “Over time, people began coming in crowds to buy from us, and the sales increased. Some of our clients sell these beehives at the market, while others keep them in their homes to breed bees.” With Mohsen’s children now registered at school, she and her husband also renovated their house and have been able to set aside money for emergencies. But, with prices in the market rising, their sales have begun to decline. “I took the beehives I built to the market to sell them, but nobody wanted to buy them like before,” she says. The price of sugar, essential food for raising bees, is also becoming unaffordable. Mohsen is eager to move past this challenge. “My aspirations for the future are simple,” she says, “like purchasing a small generator to operate the electric chainsaw because the electricity is unstable in our area.”
Anesa Shoai Abdullah Munaseer Al-Domainy opened a perfume and incense business in Sa’ada, hoping to cover basics and school fees for her children. After registering with Oxfam, she received two grants amounting to 350,000 Yemini Rial (YR)—about $1,400 USD—which helped her expand her business. She used the first grant to purchase perfume, incense, and other supplies from the capital city, Sana’a.
“My project was small, but after my name was registered with Oxfam, my situation changed for the best,” Al-Domainy says. Since participating in the Oxfam program, Al-Domainy’s capital has rapidly increased from 30,000 to 400,000 YRl [between$120-160 USD]. “My life is better now,” she says. “My children have continued their education, and my daughter is studying at university and working to help me provide life essentials for our home.”
With the help of Legacy Circle members like Marjorie Rachlin, Oxfam can continue providing assistance to families like Mohsne’s and Al-Domainy’s well into the future