Time: 13 June, 2020
LAHIJ, YEMEN: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have been cooperating to help students return to school after Houthi militia actions in various parts of Yemen forced classroom teaching to stop. The Houthi coup against legitimacy in Yemen has caused a great deal of damage to the country’s educational sector and school buildings.
Below, some of the beneficiaries of KSrelief’s project to re-enroll returning and IDP students in the Lahij area tell their personal stories.
Montaser, a student, said that schools were damaged in various parts of Yemen due to the Houthi coup, forcing some to study in tents. Students would sometimes have to sit in the sun and the wind, he explained, and the difficult conditions forced some students to stop going to school. “Now, we are happy in the school that was built with the support of KSrelief through the IOM. It is good, the teachers are teaching us well, and we are able to practice football on the wide school athletic field,” he said.
Montaser’s teachers did not allow the school’s destruction by the militias to crush the dreams of their students. A teacher named Samiha said that when the schools were destroyed, they faced many difficulties, but that their work did not stop, even though they lost some educational resources. She added that after the school was rebuilt, both students and teachers returned to the new facility with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and energy.
A little girl, Leen, said that that she was now going to school from morning till afternoon, learning the Holy Quran, Arabic language, science and mathematics. “When I grow up,” she stated, “I want to be a doctor who cures people”.
Leen is another of the many children in Yemen whose education was affected due to the destruction of schools. She is happy she came back to learn at her school. The partnership between KSrelief and IOM has improved the learning environments of more than 1,900 students.
Hussam, another student, explained that they been studying for some time in the schoolyard with only tents for classrooms. Some of the students said, “The Houthis destroyed our school; what can we do now? Because of the wind and rain, we were sometimes forced to leave the tents during our lesson.” They didn’t have any school supplies or even chalk boards, he reported.
Hussam said, “We felt desperate and frustrated, but some students did not give up and continued to learn. Now, we are able to learn much better in our new school, and the students who had left have returned.”
The Houthi coup affected a number of schools in Lahij, causing severe damage to many buildings. Nearly 2,000 schools were destroyed around Yemen, which prompted KSrelief, in cooperation with the IOM, to implement the “Re-enrollment of Returned and IDP Students in the Host Community in Lahij Project”; the scope of the project included the districts of Tuban, Al Musaymir and Al Houta. The project benefited 3,468 people, and its aim was to contribute to stability and recovery in the Lahj governorate. The project also adds to the sustainable reintegration of returnees and IDPs in host communities through projects to improve educational opportunities and create suitable educational environments.
During the project, four schools were rehabilitated in Lahij, and training courses were provided for teachers working in the targeted schools.