14 January 2021 - Yemen

“The ability to read is the best feeling in the world”

Mohammed* is 11 and he lives in Aden Governorate in Yemen with his parents and siblings. They were displaced from Hodeida three years ago after the war intensified.

Mohammed’s parents tried to enroll him into several schools as soon as they arrived in Aden, but he was rejected every time due to a lack of primary school places. After two years, Mohammed’s mother Salema* heard about Save the Children’s non-formal education classes.

Mohammed started studying in the Al-Basateen centre and within a few months he was able to read and write.

Mohammed explains: “We are originally from Hodeida city. We had to leave our home and come to Aden a while ago. I can’t really remember our house in Hodeida.

"Last year when I first joined the centre, I wasn’t able to recognise the alphabet, but I worked hard and went to the centre every day, even when I was sick. My teachers helped me a lot and everything became easier day by day.

"I have a younger brother and sister. I love playing and acting like a teacher with them. After I finish my homework, I usually teach them the letters of the alphabet and the numbers. I want both of them to be able to read like I can.


Mohammed* in his school, Aden, Yemen

"It feels good that I can help my parents reading things like signposts in the street and labels on the food cans. My mother is very proud of me, and always shows off about me in front of everyone.

"I want to be a teacher when I grow up. I want to help people who can’t read and write, because the ability to read is the best feeling in the world.”

Salema, Mohammed’s mother, said: “Mohammed’s father is a daily labour worker, he is barely able to provide some income for his family. After we were displaced, we realised that education is the only way to give our children a better life.

"We were disappointed at first when schools rejected Mohammed, one year after the other, and we thought it was our children’s destiny to be illiterate. Non-formal education in the area brought us hope.

"Words can’t describe how proud I am. When I see Mohammed reading his books and writing I feel that all my dreams of a better future for my children are coming true.”

Save Our Education is our global campaign, which urgently calls on world leaders to support children with accessible distance learning, ensuring all children return to school when it is safe to do so, and are supported to catch up on their lost learning. Read the full Save Our Education report. Click here for more information on our work in Yemen.

*names changed to protect identity 

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