Undoubtedly, appropriate and healthy environment is prerequisite for effective learning. Yet, learners in Al-Jarrahi, Al-Hudaydah Governorate lack the basic classroom requirements; more than 1,200 students (between 5 and 16 years old) gather in crowded classrooms, mostly sitting on the floor while listening to their teachers.
Three decades ago, Fatma Al-Zahra’a Elementary and High School in Al-Jarrahi was established to serve children in the area. Gradually, the increasing number of female pupils enrolled in the school urged parents to build extra six classrooms with roofs of zinc sheets. These classrooms were unequipped, with neither doors, nor windows; which made children subject to the risk of being bitten by insects and rodents.
Mr. Yahya Futini Wasel, principal of Fatma Al-Zahra’a School, summarizes the difficulties faced in the school saying: “what we suffer the most in this school is overcrowding of female students in the classrooms. The number of female pupils exceeds 1,200 students, and there is a significant shortage of school seats, leaving around 750 students sit on the bare ground”.
Fatma Al Zahraa School is among the schools targeted by the National Foundation for Development and Humanitarian Response (NFDHR) as part of the Emergency Response Project for Education Services funded by the Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF).
The director of the NFDHR office in Al-Hudaydah, Hilal Humaid, confirms that targeting Fatima school came after a preliminary evaluation study showing the need for urgent intervention to help continue the educational process. The school needs seats, rehabilitation of six classrooms and construction of additional classrooms to provide good environment for learning in this region where poverty is widespread.
Hana Jilan, a science teacher at the school, explains that old classrooms are unfit for education and do not help children to learn, “especially during the summer season when the temperature reaches around 40° which makes it difficult for young girls to bear, especially if they are sitting on the ground under roofs made of zinc sheets”.
As a response, NFDHR established two classes attached to the school, in addition to rehabilitating four toilets, and providing 130 double-eats and 16 whiteboards. Furthermore, 734 school girls (first to sixth grade) were provided with school bags with their supplies.
The situation has improved greatly with the beginning of the school year 2020-2021. It was a pleasant surprise for the school students when they saw spacious classrooms, equipped with study seats, modern whiteboards; not only that, but that the school opened its doors for students on the first day, with the establishment of an important event to support the educational process in the school.
The school principal asserts: "Supporting the school with school seats, extra classrooms and supporting students with school bags encouraged the students to return to school and motivated the dropouts to resume their study.
Student Shaima al-Jabbini, who dreams of majoring in journalism and media, says: “We were suffering from sitting on the bare ground and we had difficulty understanding the lessons because of the hot sun and high temperature. we a good environment to study, we need classrooms, we need school seats, we need ventilation and fans during summer days; we also need textbooks and boards ... etc. "
An unprecedent festival was held at the school on the 9th of November 2020, with the theme of motivating students to continue their education and encourage parents to enroll their children in schools. The school girls celebrated receiving new school bags and seats, bidding farewell to sitting on the ground. They also celebrated the opening of two new classrooms and the rehabilitation of the old ones.