Yemen Rebuilding classrooms from rubble

Not every student has the luxury of a well-equipped classroom with a chalkboard and proper desk.

In Yemen – where over five and half million children need educational assistance, and over two million children are out of school – classrooms are often improvised and very basic.

Makeshift classrooms

Classrooms are frequently outdoors, set up in the shadow of mosque minarets or under corrugated roofing sheets.

Large stones are used as chairs, and there are no desks. The indoor classrooms that do exist are often damaged and crowded.

Still, students who study in these conditions count themselves fortunate because they value learning.

No toilets or water

Renas Al-Qutami, a 12-year-old girl who studies in Amran governorate, struggles to stay in class for the full school day.

“I can’t attend all classes since there are no toilets or water and our classroom is crowded with students,” Renas says. “And sometimes, I sit on the ground because the desks are full.”

Renas has been struggling to find a good school where she can sit at a desk and have access to water, toilets, and a yard to play in.

And some children have it even worse, like Hala Sadeq.

Cost of education is an obstacle

Hala and her ten family members fled her village in Lahj governorate five years ago because of conflict. They have been living in Al-Dhalea governorate since.

Access to education wasn’t easy for Hala because her father couldn’t afford to pay for all eight of his children to attend school. But she insisted on being able to join classes.

“I’m the first one among my siblings to go to school, as everything is expensive and my father doesn’t have a job,” she says.

“I go to school with only one notebook for all subjects and carry it in a plastic bag.”

Although Hala doesn’t have all the necessary learning tools for her education, she is happy to go to school and is well-known for making jokes with her classmates and making them laugh.

“Such an amazing school”

The Giving Hope For Them (GHFT), with support from the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), has intervened in several governorates in Yemen to help children access education.

We’ve done this by building temporary learning spaces, providing teachers and students with educational materials in the form of “learners’ kits” and “teachers’ kits”, and rehabilitating toilets.

Renas’s school was one of those that received support from GHFT.

“I am pleased that I got a learner’s kit,” says Renas. “I am also excited that I will study in a new classroom instead of a damaged one. We are luckier than the last generation who didn’t have such an amazing school.”

Hala also benefitted from GHFT support.

“I think that what GHFT did for us will help a lot of boys and girls like me to achieve our dreams,” says Hala.

When asked about her future dream, Hala answers:

“I don’t know what I want to be in the future. I just know that I want to be happy and safe.”

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