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Supporting displaced families to rebuild their lives

A woman holding a bundle of plants

A displaced woman who benefits from unconditional cash assistance buys mallow from Salem's vegetable booth inside the camp. Photo: Elyas Alwazir/CARE.

A displaced woman who benefits from unconditional cash assistance buys mallow from Salem's vegetable booth inside the camp. Photo: Elyas Alwazir/CARE.

“The war has destroyed everything beautiful in my hometown,” says Salem Jaber, a 49-year-old father of nine children – seven sons and two daughters. “I used to have a calm life in Al-Hodeidah Governorate, where I worked selling poultry to provide for my family. One night in 2015, fighting broke out suddenly in my area, and it was raining with bullets and shells on my house. Four of my children were hit by shrapnel, one of whom now suffers from a mobility disability because a shrapnel hit his leg. It was the worst night of my life. That night, I decided to flee for my children’s lives. We moved to Aden Governorate and joined other displaced families in the camp in the Al-Shaab area.”

Although displacement may provide relative safety away from fighting, fleeing can have serious consequences and hardships. Displacement journeys are challenging and distressing experiences for individuals and families. Leaving one’s home, community, and support systems and losing livelihoods and education opportunities can have long-term consequences for families and communities. Internally displaced people (IDPs)  require support to meet their basic needs, such as accessing food, water, shelter, and livelihood.

After settling in the camp, I started to look for work to buy food and other necessities for my children,” says Salem. “I worked in a small shop near the camp selling poultry. I used to work in the shop from early morning to evening to earn very little money that could secure one meal a day for my family. As food prices skyrocketed, I became anxious and exhausted. I eventually started to suffer from insomnia. In a blink of an eye, I became homeless and unable to feed my children.”

A man leaning against a window
Salem Jaber, 49, a displaced father of nine children from Al-Hodeidah Governorate. Photo: Elyas Alwazir/ CARE.

The highest levels of vulnerability in Yemen are concentrated in displacement hosting sites, where very few services are available. An estimated 1.6 million people of Yemen’s 4.5 million internally displaced population currently live in 2,431 hosting sites across the country. Women and children represent up to 80 per cent of the displaced population, with approximately 26 per cent of displaced households headed by women. Displaced families experience compounding challenges in accessing essential services, income, and livelihood opportunities. IDPs living in displacement sites often travel long distances to reach services, with limited availability in or near displacement sites. This often heightens tensions and demands within the already vulnerable communities that host them.

CARE provides unconditional cash assistance for the most vulnerable families of displaced and host communities in Yemen. In Aden, 2,100 households received six rounds of cash aid (the equivalent of 84 US dollars per round) to meet their urgent need with dignity and to be able to rebuild their resilience. Cash aid also positively impacts local markets, supporting the flow of income and ensuring markets continue to provide services and employment opportunities.

“My family and I felt an immense thrill every time the cash assistance was due,” says Salem. “I used to go to the market to buy food for my children after receiving my cash aid. I also bought extra mallow and tomatoes to sell for displaced families as there were no vegetable shops near the camp. Gradually, families asked me to deliver more vegetables, such as potatoes, zucchini, and onions. And this encouraged me to open a small kiosk to sell vegetables inside the camp.”

Salem’s vegetable booth helped dispaced families reduce the time and cost of transportation to reach the nearest market to buy vegetables. “My income has improved remarkably. I could never imagine earning this much from a small booth. We eat three meals daily, including rice, fish, or chicken, to ensure my children eat nutritious food. Life feels less stressful when our children go to sleep with full stomachs,” he concludes.

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