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Education in Yemen: struggling to achieve dreams

Dirty water on the floor of an empty room

A classroom Al Hamdi school flooded with rainwater

A classroom Al Hamdi school flooded with rainwater

The ongoing war has deprived millions of children in Yemen of their right to education. Armed conflict, displacement and attacks on schools prevent many children from accessing schools. One of five schools in Yemen can no longer be used as a direct result of this conflict.

For more than 50 years, Al Hamdi school in Ash Shamayatayn district, a district in Taiz governorate, has been serving hundreds of students that come from 12 surrounding villages. After years of neglect, the school has become shabby and unfit for studying. The roof of the school is destroyed, which makes it unsafe for students and teachers. When it rains, classrooms are filled with water and teachers were forced to stop the classes.

“We get terrified when we find insects inside the classroom,” says 9-year-old Wafa, a student in Al-Hamdi school. “I wish our school was safe, so I can complete my education and go to university. My mother used to dream about becoming a teacher, but she couldn’t fulfill her dream and dropped out.”


A man in a white coat with a group of people in the background
50-year-old Khaled, the principal of Al Hamdi school and one of its former students

Nearly 8.1 million school-age girls and boys need Education in Emergencies (EiE) assistance across Yemen. Only two-thirds of all schools across the country are operational. A total of 2,507 schools were destroyed, damaged and/or utilized for non-educational purposes, leaving more than 2 million school-age girls and boys out of school.

50-year-old Khaled, the principal of Al Hamdi school and one of its former students, says: “We have been suffering for many years. Many parents prevent their children from going to school because they are afraid that the roof will fall on their children. On rainy days, students don’t study because the school is full of rainwater, and this affects students’ education because they miss many classes during the year.” A few months ago, Khaled fell from the roof of the school while he was fixing it and broke his arm.

A girl wearing a hat and a blue scarf sitting on a desk
9-year-old Wafa smiles in his new classroom

In addition to the dilapidated building, the school doesn’t have bathrooms so students have to relieve themselves in the open or wait long hours until they go home, which affects their health. “Sometimes I feel pain because I have to wait until I go home to use the bathroom,” says Wafa.

With funding from UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), CARE helped 1000 residents in Ash Shamayatayn district with unconditional cash transfers and cash-for-work activities. Through the intervention, CARE supported residents to build new classrooms and bathrooms in Al Hamdi school and earn much-needed income to buy food, medicine and other needs.

Both students and teachers of Al Hamdi school are grateful for rehabilitating the school. Now they never worry about insects or rainfall. “I’m so happy,” says Wafa. “Our school is beautiful and safe now. I hope to be a teacher so I can teach children in my village and fulfil my mother’s dream.”

A group of girls in a classroom
Students of Al Hamdi school feel excited to come to the school and study in the new classrooms
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