Five years of conflict and severe economic decline are driving Yemen to the brink of famine, leaving the country in the grips of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.
It is children paying the heaviest price. They are facing attacks on their homes and schools. They are at risk of dying from entirely preventable causes – hunger, or treatable illnesses and diseases.
COVID-19 has only further complicated the dire situation for Yemeni people. Health facilities are turning people away due to a lack of necessary equipment to protect workers and treat patients. Children’s education has been hugely affected, with schools closed and no alternative learning opportunities available.
As one of the largest organisations on the ground, we are working tirelessly to meet children's needs. We are lobbying governments and politicians to help save lives and protect the futures of children in Yemen.
We have established Child Friendly Spaces – safe spaces where children can learn, play, and begin the long journey to recovery. We are running committee meetings and awareness sessions with the community to raise awareness of gender-based violence and exploitation.
We have set up temporary learning spaces so children don't miss out on an education where schools have been destroyed. We also support existing schools and education programmes in refugee camps as well as distributing essential school supplies, including books, pens and teaching materials, so children have everything they need to continue their learning.
We are ensuring children have enough to eat by distributing food to children and pregnant and lactating women. We are helping mothers safely breastfeed and are training staff and our partners on the importance of breastfeeding.
We have also been working closely with the local authorities to support COVID-19 treatment centres. We have distributed personal protective equipment to health facilities and have been working hard to train health workers and community volunteers on preventing and responding to COVID-19.
12-year-old Aiman* has brain atrophy, which makes it difficult for him to move, walk or write. Aiman loves learning and dreams of being a pharmacist and the president of Yemen so he can take care of vulnerable people.
When our team discovered Aiman’s situation, we gave him a wheelchair so he can go to school easily. We provided Aiman with a student kit with books, notebooks, pens and toys. We had also rehabilitated his school after it was damaged by airstrikes.
Since COVID-19, Aiman's school has been closed and he is frustrated that he cannot maintain his score as one of the top students in his class. He says he's getting tired of staying at home for fear of getting infected.