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Children find safety amid uncertainty

Two pictures of a wall with a fence and a building in the background.

Four years of a painful and deteriorating situation in Yemen have not only left 80 per cent of the population in need of humanitarian assistance; they have also killed the dreams of many children, destroying their right to play and enjoy their childhood in safe areas.

In Al Ensha’at in Dar Saad district of Aden there used to be a beautiful park that enabled children to play and connect with other children from different backgrounds. In this particular neighbourhood you could run into a Somali refugee, a Yemeni who has had to flee their home, as well as marginalised and host Yemeni families, all in the same area trying to live in harmony. The garden which brought their children together had a profound meaning for all of them all but it was completely destroyed by the conflict.

With generous funding from the Dutch Relief Alliance, CARE implemented a cash for work activity in Al Ensha’at through which the community was able to rehabilitate the park. Children and their parents’ happiness was more than words can describe. Old and young rushed to help in the cash for work activity – the wall was rehabilitated and painted with bright colours, two gates were put in, there was new playground equipment, and water tanks were provided along with new plants. Despite their differences, everyone worked hand in hand for the sake of their neighbourhood and their children.

The below photos illustrate the activities that were done and how the park became once again a safe and joyful place for children and for the whole neighbourhood.

Before the rehabilitation of the park parents were afraid to send their children to play. Suad, one of the mothers in the neighbourhood said, “I can’t send my eight-year-old son to play in the street because I am constantly worried about him and afraid that something will happen.”

Men digging in the sand
During the cash for work activity and rehabilitation of the park

As soon as the work started in the garden, there were many positive signs of peace and harmony among the residents of Al Ensha’at. Eventually, by the end of the project not only was the park repaired, but also the social bonds between families were renewed and strengthened. “The rehabilitation work in the garden brought everyone closer as one big family,” said Ahmed Yousif, one of the cash for work participants.

A blue slide in a playground
Installing the playground

There are enormous psychosocial benefits to providing children and families with places to play and have normality in their lives. One of the displaced people who came from Hodeidah said: “I fled my home to provide my children with a normal life – playing in this garden will help them forget the horrors they saw in Hodeidah.”

A fence with a colorful wall
Image 4: Painting the walls

Now children and mothers go every day to the park and spend wonderful warm afternoons together sharing laughter in peace. They drink traditional Adeni milk tea and khamir snacks and enjoy the coexistence and harmony.

“God created us all the same: we all want peace and comfort for ourselves and our children,” said Fatom Saeed, smiling happily.

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