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I wish this was all just a nightmare

a woman carrying a yellow container on her head

Shafeqa carrying water bottle on her head

Shafeqa carrying water bottle on her head

Shafeqa is a mother of three disabled children. Her husband lost his job as a farmer and since then she has had to provide for her family.

“My husband was the breadwinner of the family,” says Sahfeqa. “He was my strength – we used to feel safe when he was around. One day when he came home from work he looked very tired, but we couldn’t take him to the hospital because we didn’t have enough money. When I asked him what was wrong he told me he no longer had his job.”

Since the war in Yemen started four years ago, life has become much more complicated for Shafeqa and her family. They were dependent on the income her husband used to receive from working on the land, but as so many farms are not operational because of the increase in the prices of fuel and water, they found themselves without income.

Shafeqa says: “I was constantly worried, crying at night. I felt like I had failed to provide a decent life for my children. I started working in people’s houses to be able to feed my children. But even now sometimes I get tired and I sit and cry, thinking about our situation. I wish this was all just a nightmare.”

Four years of war in Yemen have affected the lives of millions of people and created a dire economic situation. 24 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and 20 million are food insecure. With economic decline, job losses, and the increase in prices, people like Shafeqa are not able to afford food, medicine and other basic items.

On top of her financial worries, Shafeqa was struggling to get water. She used to walk every day for two hours to collect water from the well. After CARE helped to build water tanks close to her house it only takes half an hour to collect water and come home. She also participated as a volunteer in raising awareness about hygiene practices, which helps to prevent diseases like cholera. “So many people get sick because they don’t know about good hygiene habits. After I learnt about them I feel I am responsible to spread the word and share the knowledge I have.”

a woman wearing a head scarf
Shafeqa portrayed at home

Shafeqa’s is one of countless families in Yemen who suffer from poverty as a result of the relentless war. She often wishes she could go back in time to her comfortable and stable life. “Our life wasn’t perfect,” she says. “But we used to sleep with our minds at peace. Now, I sleep worrying about how we are going to survive tomorrow, and I wake up thinking about how we are going to end our day.”


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