After Sara Al-Lamki’s parents fled Zanzibar during the revolution, in which Sara’s grandfather was killed, they became refugees in Ireland and Egypt for years before returning to their ancestral Oman. These family experiences made an impression on Sara, and informed her social conscience. She decided to study women’s health and spent time in Ghana, where she educated students about HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. Sara is now focused on reducing maternal mortality rates in the Arab world by training midwives in rural areas to perform the duties of nurses in city clinics. Her pilot, which focuses on tackling preterm rupture of the amniotic membrane, is simple enough to be replicated throughout the region and is the beginning of a broader strategy to approach other causes of maternal mortality. Sara will benefit from the large-scale, systems thinking of an Ashoka Fellow as she continues to be gripped by—and develop—her new idea for the maternal health field.


Luh Putu Upadisari is creating venues for traditionally marginalized women market vendors and laborers to access sexual and reproductive health services through her organization, the Rama Sesana Foundation. She has set up a health clinic in the ‘public traditional market’ – a marketplace without fixed prices where people can buy their food and daily goods – to give women market vendors the opportunity to access information and do routine checks for their sexual and reproductive health at affordable prices.

To read more about Luh Putu’s work, click here.


Working directly with Dr. Upadisari, Sara will be responsible for researching key barriers to maternal health in the region and developing promotional materials to address these problems and the work of YRS more generally. Specifically, the project will target schools, traditional markets and village youth groups to educate youth about STD prevention and maternity issues. Sara will also develop a reporting system and take part in cross-visit sharing with other organizations in the citizen sector and public health world.