Yemen: Six years of war, six stories of children
Violence and bloodshed remains an almost daily occurrence for children in Yemen. Over the past three years, almost one in four casualties in the conflict were children.
It’s a stark reminder that children and families are paying the heaviest price for this brutal war through no fault of their own.
After six years of war, Save the Children employee and photographer Anna Pantelia, captures the stories of loss and sadness, but also children’s resilience and determination to rebuild their lives after six years of war in Yemen. Accompanying each portrait is a story of losing loved ones, physical injuries from explosives and having to flee their homes because of the fighting. here are the stories of six children in their own words.
"When I was in the 9th grade, I had to stop going to school due financial problems
"I thought that there is no hope for me. I didn’t have any dreams when I was young because I was feeling that I was in such a bad situation... I used to come to Taiz city to get food assistance from some organisations.
"I met someone from Save the Children and they informed me about the vocational trainings they offer to children [adolescents] like me. I was registered for these trainings and I chose to get trained in sewing.
"I was very happy… This training that I got from Save the Children is not just about sewing. They helped us understand the importance of keeping our dignity, being independent, being resilient and gave us guidance on how protect ourselves.
"I hope one day Yemen will be safe for everyone and I hope I will continue being independent so my family will not have to depend on anyone."
"I was going to school but when the war started six years ago my family and I had to flee from Taiz. One day while I was in the market I heard clashes. I was going back home when a shell hit the neighbourhood. I fell on the ground unconscious. When I opened my eyes I was covered in blood. I was only 10... Shrapnel from the shell pierced my whole body and head.
"I stayed out of education for four years. Once the armed people left our neighbourhood in Taiz we decided to come back. Then I was able again to continue my education."
"Before the war, I had a good life; we had our own house and I was going to school, I was playing with my friends, I was feeling safe. I used to play football. I enjoyed playing football the most.
"When the war started, my life was not the same. One day, I an airstrike hit the area where we were. My dad died instantly and I was injured in the leg. I had an operation but my leg was broken in four different places so after the operation I couldn’t walk properly, I had to be held by someone.
"Now I am not going to school because I recently had another operation in my leg and I am still recovering. I am really looking forward to going back to school when my leg is better.
"When I grow up, I want to become a doctor so I can help people who are sick and injured. I hope Yemen will become as it was before the war so I can go back to Al-Mokha."
"We were at school when we heard explosions. We ran inside the school and when they finished we went out again to play. One of my friends got injured in one of the explosions.
"I was on my way home with a friend and I wanted to go to find my brother when the artillery shell hit us.
"I was paralyzed for a moment. Then someone on a motorbike picked me up and took me to the hospital;
"I want toys to be able to play but I don’t want any shelling."
"We had dreams to have a nice house and live there. We had friends and toys to play with. I was hoping to become a doctor one day and my brother hoped to become an architect.
"When the war started we had to flee our house due to the bombings. We saw three houses in our neighbourhood getting bombed on the same day. Our school was also bombed. Neither me or my brother went to school after this. Then we fled.
"I wasn’t thinking of continuing education but after Save the Children started to engage with us, I decided to continue. They helped me to register in public school. I started to study about five months ago. I struggle with writing but I am getting better. Reading is easier for me."
"Before the war I had a normal life. I went to school in my wheelchair. I had friends coming over and we used to chat, draw and sing in my room. I felt safe.
"After the war started I got displaced twice. It was three years ago when I was at school in Hodeida and an airstrike hit the neighbourhood of my school. Everyone was very scared and the school got damaged.
"We couldn’t go back to school for a week after that and even then there were more and more attacks in schools, so all schools in the area stopped operating. I started feeling very afraid."
Save the Children has been working in Yemen since 1963. We are the largest aid organisation operating in Yemen, and have been responding to the current crisis since 2015.
We work in 11 regions, implementing health, nutrition, child protection, food security and livelihoods, education and water and sanitation interventions. Read more about our work in Yemen and how you can support.