For millions of children across Yemen, simple things like a new toy, playing outdoors or going to school can seem like impossible dreams. This is the case for Amaal, a 10-year-old Yemeni girl whose family, like thousands of others, had to flee Hodeidah because of the war.
Amaal and her family settled in Aden. They live in an old wooden house but have no income and little hope. “Our life is hard here but it’s better than watching my own children die in front of me,” says Amaal’s father Fahd, his eyes fixed to the ground in despair. “I am very sad I can’t send Amaal and her siblings to school. I just can’t afford it.”
Yemenis are estimated to have been infected with cholera
Amaal’s school was bombed in the war, destroying her school certificates and her opportunity to attend class in Aden. Without the proper paperwork or funds, a devastated Amaal watched as schools opened in her new home and she couldn’t join. “I sit by our door and wait to see the girls walk home with their beautiful uniforms,” she says. “I know my father can’t afford it.”
Missing school is just one of many problems that kids like Amaal face. Deadly diseases pose serious threats, and cholera alone is suspected to have infected more than 2 million Yemenis.
Our life is hard here but it’s better than watching my own children die in front of me.
Amaal first saw CARE’s project team in Aden last September providing internally displaced people (IDPs) with hygiene kits containing soap, laundry powder and other basic items, and conducting hygiene awareness sessions to educate people about how they can prevent diarrhea and eliminate the spread of cholera.
Amaal watched the CARE staff work, and then began to help them. She helped the team identify IDPs’ houses in the area. Then she started to copy the project team and began teaching other children the simple things she’d learned, like how to wash their hands.
People really loved her, and this gave Amaal hope and support she needed. “Now I can speak to the other children without feeling ashamed of myself,” she says. Everyone was fascinated by Amaal’s strong will and the dedication they saw in a 10 year old.
“I can’t wait now to go back home to my old school to finish my studies,” she says. “I want to be a doctor and cure diseases.”
Video edited by Brooks Lee.