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Pioneers of change

A man holding a picture with kids sitting on the ground

Taleea demonstrating hygiene and nutrition messages to children in the village

Taleea demonstrating hygiene and nutrition messages to children in the village

In the city of Halameen in Lahj governorate, sanitation and hygiene is severely lacking, after nearly five years of conflict in Yemen destroyed services and infrastructure in Yemen, leading to the spread of diseases like cholera and dengue fever.

Taleea Saeed Nasher, 45, is the provider for his family of eight. He works hard and receives a meagre daily wage. Like many other families in the area they suffer from diseases caused by water pollution, a lack of hygiene and poor nutrition, which puts huge pressure on the family’s income and increases their suffering.

As the situation deteriorated the people of Halameen city found nothing but burning rubbish heaps and sewage in their streets and in front of their homes, causing an environmental disaster. Taleea says: “The city was suffering from the spread of garbage, sewage, diseases and insects that made our lives hell.”

Taleea’s personal situation became harder when he could not find any work, and was reduced to having to borrow money to buy food for his family. His children were suffering from diseases related to malnutrition, especially anaemia, and his wife was diabetic.

“I was crying every day when I saw my children suffering from anaemia and I wasn’t able to help them,” says Taleea through his tears.

Thankfully, with funding from the Yemen Emergency Food Assistance Project (YEFA III) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), CARE intervened with a project to address this suffering. Taleea was elected to be the area representative of the project, and after receiving a training in environmental sanitation, nutrition and hygiene awareness he began to spread awareness messages in schools, public facilities and markets. He was also involved in the implementation of activities, the most important of which is the International Day of Handwashing.

A man holding a piece of paper next to a group of people
Taleea demonstrating hygiene and nutrition messages to young men in the village

“I can’t believe how my life has changed,” says Taleea. “I am now working with a lot of NGOs, and also I have my own project. I paid off my debts, thanks to CARE.” His own life changed because he wanted the residents’ lives to change for the better.

“At the beginning of the project people were closing their doors on us because they didn’t understand, but after a while we became famous even in the neighbouring villages because of the improvement of the environment in our area and the decrease in diseases. This project gave us hope for a beautiful future and we hope that such projects will not stop.”

A man standing in front of a classroom with a group of kids
Taleea conducts awareness raising in the local school
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