Yemen: A Child's Story
For the past five years, the ongoing conflict has made Yemen one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. UNICEF has been - and continues to be - one of the most active children's charities in the region, working to provide humanitarian aid to the over 11 million children who live in Yemen.
As part of an ongoing project, the UNICEF Yemen-supported NGO Power of 20 brought together 20 children from Sanaa, Aden, Hodayah and Lahj in Yemen, to teach them about story-telling and video making.
The videos were shared for the first time as part of UNICEF Yemen’s World Children’s Day celebrations on November 20, 2018 – showcasing to the world stories and perspectives of Yemeni children and their families, as told by Yemeni children and youth.
The School Is Closed!
This video – about the ongoing educational crisis in Yemen – was created by Shadi Tawfiq, age 15, and tells the story of 10-year-old Mohammed.
In October 2018, Mohammed attempted to register for the new school year, only to be told that his school was closed, due to the nonpayment of the teacher’s salaries.
“Mohammed felt very disappointed that he could not attend school, but he is not the only child to feel so,” says Shadi. “There are so many Yemeni children who were denied education due to non-payment of teacher salaries, who had instead to seek other jobs to earn living for their families.”
More than 135,000 Yemeni teachers have not received a salary in more than two years, resulting in the closure of many schools across the country, with additional schools being closed due to damage sustained during the ongoing fighting.
13 year old Khaled Al Qershi shared the realities faced by many children in Yemen, who have been injured in the ongoing fighting, with his video about 6 year old Emad, who lives in Aden, Yemen.
After his home was hit by a projectile, both of Emad’s legs as well as a finger on his right hand had to be amputated. Emad’s trauma also resulted in him undergoing severe neurological distress, which often triggered involuntary convulsions.
Emad received artificial limbs from the UNICEF-supported Prosthetics Center in Aden but the active little boy did not like how the new limbs slowed him down, so he often goes without them, using his hands to move around.
“Emad dreams that all children either in Yemen or elsewhere in the world live in peace,” says Khaled.
Children Under Rockets
For her video, Hajar Abu Baker, age 12, decided to focus on life after the loss of a child, interviewing Zahra, whose seven year old son Omran was killed in a missile strike.
Emran had gone with his friends Afan and Abdul Salam to the mosque, to fetch Afan’s father’s glasses, when a rocket hit the building, killing all three boys. "The death of Emran constituted a great shock to me," Zahra said. "He was the light of the house and the man to rely on it when it came to our needs considering his father's illness."
According to Hajar, she chose to interview Emran’s mother for her video because Emran, Afan and Abdul were just three of thousands of Yemeni children who lost their lives in the war, and like Zahra, she wishes the situation in Yemen would return to normal, so no other mother has to go through what Zahra did.