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Restoring dignity and safety

Two young boys running beside a stone building

Children playing safely near the rehabilitated sewage system in Dholemah village

Children playing safely near the rehabilitated sewage system in Dholemah village

Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and the five-year-long war has devastated the country’s development. Hubaish district of Ibb governorate is a conflict-affected area and is considered one of the poorest regions in southwestern Yemen. Like many areas in Yemen, Hubaish suffers from an acute shortage of basic services and damage to infrastructure such as roads, schools, and sewage systems.

The ruins of a school

Like many other schools across the country, classrooms in Khalid Ibn Alwaleed school, which is located in Bani Moein sub-district of Hubaish district, are often no more than cold decripit walls – no chairs, boards, doors, or windows. The wooden roof collapsed while students were in class, and they were forced to study in the open under a hot sun. During rainy days, classes were suspended. The learning environment is supposed to be safe and fun for children, but in Khalid Ibn Alwaleed school the situation was risky. Many students were injured due to the school’s poor construction.

An old building with an open roof
A classroom in Khalid Ibn Alwaleed school

“I didn’t feel safe,” says 13-year-old Hussien, who fell from the school’s roof one year ago. The accident caused him to fracture his hands and he needed to stay home for three months to recover. Some parents took their children out of school to keep them safe.

No road, no life

Al Dharahi village of Hubaish district suffers from a lack of health services among others. Due to the dangerous road, obtaining food and accessing health services was very challenging for the villagers. Families had to rent cars at a high price so that they could bring food to their homes.

Women and girls are among the most vulnerable in conflict-affected areas, and pregnant women from Al Dharahi had to go on foot to reach their nearest health facility. “One pregnant woman tragically died on the way to the clinic,” says Ibraheem who lives in Al Dharahi. “Young girls in the village were also deprived of studying because the school is far and the road isn’t safe.”

A dirt road on a mountain
Al Dharahi road before the rehabilitation

Death swamp

People in Dholemah, another village in Hubaish district, suffered from a poor sewage system which infected residents with cholera, malaria, and other water-borne diseases due to the mixing of sewage water with drinking water. Unpleasant smells from the sewers also caused them double suffering as methane gas released by the sewage causes irritation in the mucous membranes and affects the nose, sinuses, and lungs – especially for those with existing heart conditions. “I really want to move to another home,” says Hamoud. “But I can’t because it’s my only property and I can’t afford the rent anywhere else.”

A pile of garbage on a hill
Sewage system in Dholemah village before the rehabilitation

Restoring dignity and safety

With funding from the World Food Programme, CARE intervened in Hubaish district with its Food Assistance for Assets project, rehabilitating both Khaleed Ibn Alwaleed school and Al Dhrahi road, as well as constructing a new sewage system in Dholemah village. Hussein and his friends are happy with the new classrooms and hope that the COVID-19 closure ends so they can return to school. “Now we can say we have a school,” says Hussien happily. “It is safe and beautiful.”

Just like Hussien and his friends, the people of Al-Dharahi village are happy with the new road. Transportation costs dropped and they can now reach the health facility easily. “We have noticed a decrease in the number of cholera cases after the intervention carried out by CARE,” Hamoud says proudly. “This is a great achievement. Now kids can play safely in the street, and there are no unpleasant odours.”

Using the money they received from the rehabilitation work, project participants were able to buy food, medicine and other essentials. Residents of the villages hope that CARE continues to support the rehabilitation of vital community assets.

A young boy smiling
Hussien smiles in his new classroom
A stone path with trees and rocks in the background
Al Dharahi road after the rehabilitation
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