Yemen Humanitarian Fund: Stories from the field

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 24 Feb 2019

BACK TO SCHOOL

Al-Atta for Relief & Development (ARD)

“Since the arrival of the water, I don’t miss school anymore”

“Since the arrival of the water, I don’t miss school anymore” In Alzubiah sub-district, Almagrabah village, girls live a difficult life in harsh conditions. Water shortages in the small village are very severe. It takes hours to get to the nearest source.
Ghadah, a 10-year old girl lives here. She is the oldest of her siblings and studies in Grade 4. On many days, she can be seen leading her donkey loaded with water jerry cans. Her mother, who leads another donkey, accompanies Ghadah and her three younger sisters.

“I study in the fourth grade,” she explains. “I know that I am the smartest student in all the stages.
Unfortunately, I could not get the first place among my classmates because I am so absent. I have to help my mother bring water whenever I get out of the house. I miss school two or three days a week to bring water from the well. I try to compensate by asking my teachers and colleagues.”

Ghadah’s village was in the area selected by Al-Atta Relief & Development (ARD) to install a water network with funding from the Yemen Humanitarian Fund.
When told about a project that in the near future will bring water to her house, she said she would be able to stick to her school work every day and be the most outstanding.

After the installation of two water networks in Alzubiah, which connected 858 families (over 6,000 people) to water, ARD reconnected with Ghadah as she ran out of her house when she saw the organization staff passing close to her house. She was wearing clean clothes and thanked them for fulfilling their promise: “Since the arrival of the water, I have not lost a single hour on collecting water and I don’t miss school anymore!”

“If my family did not need me to collect water every day, I could go to school and prove that marginalized people can study and succeed like the rest of the children”

Amani is a 9-year old girl from a marginalized group living in Shareef, a village of Alzubia which suffers from drought most of the year and is far away from the nearest water well. People use donkeys or travel long distances on foot to fetch water.

Amani told us how she would feel sad seeing young girls wearing school clothes and laughing on their way to school while she was walking long distances with her daily companion, the family donkey, to look for water: “ “If my family did not need me to collect water every day, I could go to school and prove that marginalized people can study and succeed like the rest of the children”. 2 Names have been changed Amani’s village was also part of the villages selected to be equipped with water networks as part of the YHF-funded project.

ARD explained to her that the project would bring water to the village and promised her to help her to enroll in the school despite her late age. Amani was shocked and did not believe this was possible.
During the project implementation, ARD staff got in touch with Amani’s family and the village school, and they were able to persuade the school to accept her as a regular student.

Amani is now studying in the first grade and no longer dreams of wearing school uniform and going with her classmates on the school road. Now her dream is to continue studying as a doctor in the future to prove that marginalized girls can do just as well as other girls.

Nahda Makers Organization (NMO)

“My wife and children used to spend most of the day going back and forth carrying heavy buckets and jerry cans filled with water on their heads or on our poor donkey”

“My wife and children used to spend most of the day going back and forth carrying heavy buckets and jerry cans filled with water on their heads or on our poor donkey” this is how Mr. Abdullah3 , 50 years-old and father of nine children, responded when asked about water availability in his village of Najd Al-Barad, in Al-Maqatera district of Lahj governorate, before the intervention of Nahda Makers Organization (NMO). “My children could not go to school because they were too busy bringing water for our basic needs”. Mr. Abdullah explained that because men would be busy working most of the day or in other governorates looking for job opportunities, women and children would carry the burden of walking about three-hours distance to bring the water.

Another villager, Mr. Rashad, also 50, said the village had seen incidents of women leaving their houses to bring water for their babies; however, because the journey is too long, and the children would stay home alone without a caretaker, the women would arrive home to find their babies had passed away.

The village of Najd Al-Barad, where Mr. Rashad and Mr. Abdullah live, was one of the areas where NMO, with funding from the Yemen Humanitarian Fund, intervened to rehabilitate water systems.
NMO replaced the old submersible pump, rehabilitated the diesel generator and provided all needed equipment to restore the network.

NMO also established a community water committee and trained its members to manage, operate, and maintain their water supply scheme to ensure the sustainability of the project. Since the rehabilitation, more than 13,000 people have direct access to water.

“Now, the water reaches my house and all of my children go to school”, Mr Abdullah concluded happily. The water reaches most of the villages in Najd Al-Barad and the people can now go on with their lives without worrying about going back and forth from one village to another in order to fill a 10-litre jerrycan.

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