Yemen crisis: The casualty of education

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Every student across the world at some point of time or the other hopes, wishes and prays for that blissful moment when you wake up on a Monday morning and school is somehow magically closed. The idea of exams getting cancelled is a dream only some of us dare to see.

The coronavirus pandemic in spite of wreaking havoc across the world has managed to grant these unrealistic wishes. Four months into the worldwide pandemic and the indefinite closure of schools and colleges across the world has left us questioning our wish and desperately missing those 8 am classes.

For most students across the world, this situation is temporary and they will have the chance to see their schools and colleges again. However, for 2 million children in Yemen living in the biggest man-made humanitarian crisis since 2015, the thought of going to school is a distant dream they only get to see in their sleep.

Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under international law states that “Everyone has the right to education.” Unfortunately, political crisis, terrorism and poverty has robbed these young children living in war-torn Yemen of their right to quality education.

For these little ones the survival against starvation, armed conflict, abuse, child labour and various horrific and inhuman atrocities are every day tests of life they need to pass just to stay alive. The lives of the children of Yemen ruined by the political greed of a few powerful men must be saved, making education the only way for these children to have a brighter future.

Education is the key, that will unlock all doors of opportunity for these young lives and will become their most valuable asset. From empowering a young child to dream to advancing mankind beyond the boundaries of the earth, education is our biggest weapon against all social evils.

As a young girl thousands of miles away from a war-torn Yemen I can either choose to look away or use my power of education to bring a change

Children out of school in Yemen

According to a report by UNICEF from 2019, one in five schools in Yemen can no longer be used as a direct result of conflict. The consequences of being out of school is a threat to life for these children as they become victims of all forms of violation and exploitation.

Many schools that are still functioning do not have basic hygiene facilities; the travel to school is often risky and life threatening, parents are apprehensive to send their children to schools as they remain under constant threat of armed attacks.

Another report by UNICEF cited the lack of availability of teaching staff in schools due to the inability of paying their salaries. This lack of access to education has forced many children into child marriage, child labour, child trafficking or recruitment of child soldiers. The condition of Yemen’s education sector is expected to worsen further in the coming years and has already been suffering the brunt of the corona virus pandemic.

Over the years various global NGOs have worked to increase the accessibility of education across Yemen. International organisations such as UNICEF, Global Partnership for Education have set up new schools, rehabilitated damaged schools, trained teaching staff, repaired hygiene and sanitation facilities and established safe spaces for children to learn.

NGOs such as Creative Associates International, Yemen Care, Save the Children, Saba Relief etc are some of the humanitarian organisations  working towards improving education and learning facilities across the country. However, the development of an accessible and sustainable education system in Yemen still has a long way to go.

The hope for a better future for the children of Yemen rests in the hands of education. For many years the this humanitarian crisis has been largely marginalized, for a world that preaches the ideal of peace and cooperation the convenient ignorance of the loss of 100,000 lives is not only inhuman but shameful.

As a young girl thousands of miles away from a war-torn Yemen I can either choose to look away or use my power of education to bring a change. Just like me, several people across the globe have this choice at their disposal. It is up to them whether they wish to look away or use their education, privilege and ability to help change the life of these young children and allow them to pave their own way to a brighter future, full of opportunities.

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