Saturday, January 14, 2012

Save Yemen's Children

The children are our future and in Yemen children represent more than 50% of the population, which is 24 million, thus amounting to more than 12 million. They are the victims of poverty, political instability and malnutrition. According to the WFP " half of Yemen's children are chronically malnourished and 1 out of 10 does not live to reach the age of five".  
A survey by Yemen's Ministry of public Health and Population supported by UNICEF  in the coastal town of Hodeida found a global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate of 31.7 percent, nearly 60 percent of children were underweight and 54.5 percent stunted, meaning their height was too low for their age, a sign of longer-term malnutrition. 
In the southern Abyan Governorate, a battleground with ongoing fights, a UNICEF survey in September found a GAM rate of 18.6 percent, of which 3.9 percent were severe cases. Nearly half of the children surveyed in northern Hajjah were underweight and 43.6 percent were stunted. In short,  according to a recent report by Oxfam more than one in three children in Yemen are severely stunted.
"Widespread poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition, unemployement, low levels of education, high gender disparities, rapid population growth and insufficient access to safe water and land", is what characterizes Yemen according to the WFP,  conditions which have been further aggravated by the current political crisis, taking a toll on Yemeni children and impacting their psycosocial well being. 
Listen to the children's own words

According to Geert Cappelaere, director of UNICEF in Yemen, in a recent interview with Willam Lambers an author who wrote numerous books and articles about hunger, "one in three children reported feeling unsafe, sad, or frustrated, and suffered from diminshed hope, fear, anger and hatred as well as experiencing difficulty sleeping. One in four experienced difficulties concentrating, and establishing trustful relationships."  
This video shows children role playing the recent violence in Yemen:

At least 94 children have been killed and 240 others wounded by gunshots or shelling in Yemen since civil unrest began in February 2011, according to UNICEF. 

UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported over 170 schools were damaged or destroyed as a result of six rounds of conflict in Saada. In a more recent report by UNICEF "nearly a quarter of a million of children across Yemen have difficulties attending schools" due to the fact that "more than 180 schools in different parts of the country have been occupied or attacked by armed forces and groups or by displaced communities." A survey conducted by Oxfam concluded that "one in five said they had taken their children out of school to help the family earn their daily bread and nearly two-thirds were skipping meals."

One of many heart breaking stories of Yemeni children suffering published in the Global Post reads as follows:
"Amry’s eldest son, 9-year-old Majd, walks the five kilometers to school each morning. But his two younger sisters Naema and Salama no longer join him.
“Our Dad withdrew us because we didn't have any clothes or books,” Naema said, leading a donkey down to the well to fetch water.
“We wash dishes, bake, cook and clean. We would love to be studying in school instead of staying at home,” Naema said. “With school you can be a doctor, but without school you cannot.”
And so, uneducated through lack of food, Naema and Salama will join the 70 percent of Yemeni women who are illiterate in the nation that has consistently ranked lowest in the Global Gender Gap index.
With no classes to occupy them, Amry said he would soon be searching for husbands for Naema and Salama, eager to earn the best dowry possible for marrying off his daughters, around $1,000 each if they married into another poor family."

Children growing in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, have little opportunity for education and development, traumatized by the violence sadly do not know when their next meal will be. 
Some of you are parents and do our best to protect and provide for your children, many parents in Yemen don't have the ability to even do so. Children in Yemen need your help,  please spread the word,  donate and make a difference in their lives.

1 comment:

  1. Appreciate these blog posts. Yemeni children have been locked in a grid of civil wars and taking on roles as bread winners. Unacceptable in a world with so many resources and campaigns to help children. I hope to see more aggressive recovery for them.

    Appreciate your sharing this important information.

    Miss Linda Song
    Founder of The SEEN Project