NRC’s Education Assistant in Aden, Malka Mohammed (26), remembers March, 2015 as a time that turned from being a joyful month of celebrations and weddings into a living nightmare. She was working as an English teacher in her home city of Aden when a colleague ran to her classroom, knocked madly on the door and shouted: “They’re attacking the city!” 

“We evacuated the school. There was a lot of confusion. There was shooting everywhere,” she recounts. Over the next few weeks, it got worse and the fighting drew closer to Malka’s home. 

“Every day, I heard stories of how people had been killed, and I saw the remains of destroyed buildings. It scared me to death. I was particularly afraid during those early morning hours when the airstrikes would begin.”  She remembers one day waking up to the screams of the little girl next door. “I ran out to the street without wearing my abaya or even a scarf on my head. I was running like mad and the street was full of people. It felt like the end of the world, the sky was covered in red lightening.”

Malka and her mother ran as fast as they could. They eventually reached a house at which they felt safe and were welcomed in by the people living there. They stayed until the next morning. 

A stranger helped Malka that day. Now, she is helping others. 

As an EducationAssistant in southern Yemen, her job is to make sure children living in conflict can still access school. Through our education work, we rehabilitate and rebuild schools destroyed by shelling and other attacks, we distribute school materials, teach teachers and organise school meals.

“We cannot lose education in Yemen. If we lose education, we can lose a whole generation,” she says, and continues: “Education is so important, and that’s why we try to support young Yemenis to create a better life for themselves, and a future.”

Photo:
Les billedteksten Malka Mohammed (26) jobber som utdanningsassistent for Flyktninghjelpen sør i Jemen. – Vi har ikke råd til å la utdanning gå tapt i Jemen. Hvis vi gjør det, kan vi miste en hel generasjon, sier hun. – Utdanning er så viktig, og det er grunnen til at vi hjelper barn og unge, slik at de kan skape et bedre liv for seg selv, og en fremtid. Foto: Ghida Abulatef/NRC

Slik bygger vi opp nedbombede skoler i Jemen

Kristine Kolstad|Publisert 22. mar 2019
Millioner har flyktet fra hjemmene sine. Landminer, flyangrep, matmangel og mangel på medisinsk hjelp setter 24 millioner liv i fare. I fjor hjalp vi over 700.000 mennesker i Jemen.

– Jeg drømte aldri om å gå på skole i telt. Det føltes som krigen fulgte meg overalt, forteller ni år gamle Samia. Klasserommet hennes ble flyttet inn i et glovarmt telt etter at skolen ble lagt i ruiner i et flyangrep.

Nå har Flyktninghjelpen bygget en ny skole til Samia og vennene hennes. Vi jobber døgnet rundt i Jemen for å sikre at de som trenger det mest får mat, rent vann, husly og utdanning.

Ali Abdulaleem school, located in Al-Mighefa village, in Tuban district was destroyed by airstrikes in 2015 and now unrecognisable as a school. Nonetheless, schooling has continued since the 2015 attacks, overcoming major challenges with ongoing implementation.

In the period immediately following the strikes, community members rallied to offer their own homes for use as classrooms, until tents were made available to reestablish the school site, demonstrating the commitment of communities to ensuring continuity of educational access.

In January 2019, NRC, with support form UNICEF, opened a newly-constructed school, with much celebration from children and community, who regard the school as central to their opportunities and dignity. NRC has also distributed schoolbags and provided teaching and learning materials to ensure the school can be used effectively.

NRC Education department: We prioritise seriously damaged schools in hard to reach areas, where children might otherwise be at risk fo disengaging from school entirely. NRC rehabilitates damaged schools, and constructs TLS' (Temporary learning spaces) schools that become overpopulated due to displacement. We train and support teachers in the same schools so they can teach and manage classrooms as well as possible, while providing desks and teaching materials, and distributing school bags and recreational kits to ensure students have access to the things they need to learn. 

Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC
Les billedteksten I januar bygget Flyktninghjelpen, i samarbeid med UNICEF, en ny skole ved siden av ruinene av den gamle. Den nye skolen har ti klasserom med fullt utstyr. Foto: Ingrid Prestetun/Flyktninghjelpen


To millioner barn går ikke på skole

I 2015 ble barneskolen Ali Abdulaleem i Lahj-guvernementet sør i Jemen lagt i ruiner i et flyangrep. Ruinene som er igjen av skolen er en grufull påminnelse om virkeligheten for jemenittiske skoleelever: Over to millioner barn i landet hindres fra å gå på skole.

Overalt i Jemen blir skoler ødelagt, okkupert av væpnede grupper og brukt som husly for mennesker på flukt. Bare siden 18. desember i fjor, har 13 skoler i landet blitt angrepet.

I årevis har lokale frivillige og lærere gjort sitt beste for at elevene ved Ali Abdulaleem-skole skal fortsette å lære. I over tre år har de arrangert skoletimer i hjemmene til frivillige og i telt. Timene har gått på skift, for at alle barna skal kunne delta.

Aden, Yemen.
NRC’s education assistant Malka Mohammed (26) remembers March of 2015 well and how it went from being a joyful month of celebrations and weddings before it turned into a living nightmare. She worked as an English teacher in her home city of Aden when one day her colleague came running to her classroom, knocking madly on the door and shouting: "They’re attacking the city!"

"We evacuated the school, there was a lot of confusion. There was shooting everywhere," she recounts.

Over the next few weeks, it got worse and the fighting  drew closer to Malka’s home. 

"Every day I heard stories of how people had been killed and I saw the remains of destroyed buildings. It scared me to death. I was particularly afraid during those early morning hours around 5 am when the airstrikes began." 

She remembers one day waking up to the screams of the little girl next door.

"I ran out on to the streets without wearing my abaya or even a scarf on my head. I was running like crazy and the street was full of people. It felt like it was going to be the last day on earth, the sky was covered in red lightening."

Malka and her mother ran as fast as they could. They eventually reached a house and were welcomed in by the people living there. They stayed until the next morning. 

A stranger helped Malka that day. Now, she is helping others. 

As an education assistant in southern Yemen, her job is to make sure children living in the midst of conflict can still access school. Through our education work, we rehabilitate and rebuild schools destroyed by shelling and other attacks, we distribute school materials, teach teachers and organise school feeding.

"We cannot lose education in Yemen. If we lose education, we can lose a whole generation," she says, and continues: "Education is so important, and that’s why we try to support young Yemenis to create a better life for themselves, and a future." Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC
Les billedteksten Malka Mohammed foran skolen Ali Abdulaleem i Lahj helt sør i Jemen. I 2015 ble skolen lagt i ruiner i et flyangrep. – Det gjorde meg umåtelig trist, forteller Malka. Foto: Ingrid Prestetun/Flyktninghjelpen


– Vi har ikke råd til å la utdanning gå tapt 

Samia forteller det var umulig å lære noe under de forholdene:

– Det var altfor mange elever, og det varme været gjorde teltene uutholdelige å sitte i.

I januar bygget Flyktninghjelpen, i samarbeid med UNICEF, en ny skole ved siden av ruinene av den gamle. I Jemen jobber vi for at barn som lever midt i konflikten likevel skal kunne gå på skole. Vi reparerer og bygger opp igjen skoler som har blitt ødelagt i angrep, vi deler ut skolesekker, bøker og skrivesaker, underviser lærere og organiserer skolelunsj.

– Vi har ikke råd til å la utdanning gå tapt i Jemen. Hvis vi gjør det, kan vi miste en hel generasjon, sier sier Flyktninghjelpens utdanningsassistent Malka Mohammed (26). – Utdanning er så viktig, og det er grunnen til at vi hjelper barn og unge, slik at de kan skape et bedre liv for seg selv, og en fremtid.

Malka Mohammed:

NRC’s education assistant in Aden, Malka Mohammed (26), remembers March, 2015 as a time that turned from being a joyful month of celebrations and weddings into a living nightmare. She was working as an English teacher in her home city of Aden when a colleague ran to her classroom, knocked madly on the door and shouted: “They’re attacking the city!” 

“We evacuated the school. There was a lot of confusion. There was shooting everywhere,” she recounts. Over the next few weeks, it got worse and the fighting drew closer to Malka’s home. 

“Every day, I heard stories of how people had been killed, and I saw the remains of destroyed buildings. It scared me to death. I was particularly afraid during those early morning hours when the airstrikes would begin.”  She remembers one day waking up to the screams of the little girl next door. “I ran out to the street without wearing my abaya or even a scarf on my head. I was running like mad and the street was full of people. It felt like the end of the world, the sky was covered in red lightening.”

Malka and her mother ran as fast as they could. They eventually reached a house at which they felt safe and were welcomed in by the people living there. They stayed until the next morning. 

A stranger helped Malka that day. Now, she is helping others. 

As an education assistant in southern Yemen, her job is to make sure children living in conflict can still access school. Through our education work, we rehabilitate and rebuild schools destroyed by shelling and other attacks, we distribute school materials, teach teachers and organise school meals.

“We cannot lose education in Yemen. If we lose education, we can lose a whole generation,” she says, and continues: “Education is so important, and that’s why we try to support young Yemenis to create a better life for themselves, and a future.”


Yasin Ismail:

Yasin Ismail has been working for NRC for five years and believes NRC is one of the best organisation to work for. Yasin started working for NRC as an education assistant and is now an education coordinator at NRC's Aden area office. 

Yasin believes education is a critical component of the workNRC does, because of its great impact on people’s lives. He recognises it as a basic human right, important to the development of children and youth to fulfil their potential, and critical to breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty. 

The impact of the conflict in Yemen has been catastrophic. Schools have been destroyed or occupied by armed groups or displaced populations, which have deprived children in some areas from accessing school for more than four years. 

Children in Yemen are struggling to cope with the violence they have faced during the conflict, and continue to face imminent danger as conflict carries on and exposes them to UXOs, mines and crossfire.

Yasin believes the security situation, which results in restricted access and unpredictable funding for education, are two of the main challenges in his job. He said that affected communities need access to aid but will sometimes have challenges accessing this due to long delays at checkpoints or challenges reaching distribution sites.

Yasin wants to help and support those affected by war in Yemen and believes that we can change the world with education.  “[We should] Always follow our dreams and believe in ourselves. For every ending - there is a new beginning, for every memory - there is a dream ahead.” 

"I hope for peace and stability for our people and country. I hope for our children and youth to get quality education because that will help them to build their future. I believe the education is the only approach to protect future generations, because it gives people a chance for healthy development, restores a sense of normality, and provides important life skills. Further to that, an education intervention is an investment in the long-term future, and in the peace, stability and economic growth of Yemen”.



More information:
These kids, like many others, leave for school very early because it takes them an hour - or as long as two hours for some - to walk! Ensuring children have sufficient access to nutrition is very important for children expending huge amounts of energy on commuting, learning and playing, and ensures they are able to engage appropriately in class. Lialy was among the children without anything to eat before coming to school. NRC has started to provide high energy biscuits to children in Lialy's schooll, who  expressed their happiness at receiving the biscuits. Several children mentioned feeling more energetic and active as a result, and said they could concentrate more in class. 

Info about the school:
Al-Qadisia school is located in Al-Qubbiyta district in Lahj and was one of the first schools in which NRC has delivered programs. NRC's team describe the AlQadisia as a normal school with an engaged community but problems including nearby landmines. As displaced families continue to move into the area, the number of students at the school continues to grow, creating congestion. NRC's program at is supporting rehabilitation of the school building, distribution of recreational, cleaning and scholastic materials, capacity building of teachers and provision of high energy biscuits for students. 

Education in H2R:
One of NRC’s global priorities is to deliver aid and services to people in hard to reach areas. We worked with the Education department to select this school and others identified as being among the most in need. In travelling to the school form NRC's office in Aden, staff encounter several checkpoints, threatened areas and landmines. 

Our programming in Yemen's southern governorates reaches people in Lahj, Abyan and Al-Dalea, among other areas. Operating in these areas is complicated and challenging: our staff travel through hostile checkpoints, some of which return traffic, preventing access to project sites. Several areas remain affected or threatened by conflict, explosions are often heard, landmines dot areas across Yemen and bureaucratic challenges delay or complicate processes. 

Where mines do explode, civilians can be punished severalfold as people can not only sustain injuries, but lose mobility and access to fields and other sites used for cultivation. 

Efforts should be made to call on the authorities and specialised organisations to strengthen demining operations and reduce the number of civilian casualties.   

Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC
Les billedteksten Sør i Jemen deler vi ut energibarer til 2.094 skolebarn slik at de får i seg næring i løpet av skoledagen. Energibarene inneholder protein, i tillegg til viktige vitaminer og mineraler. På bildet deler utdanningsmedarbeiderne våre, Yasin og Malka, ut energibarer til barna på barneskolen Al-Qadisia. Foto: Ingrid Prestetun/Flyktninghjelpen

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