"Going to school in tents was not what I dreamed of. It was like the war was following me everywhere," says 9-year-old Samia. Her classroom was moved into a tent when the school was destroyed by an airstrike.
In January 2019, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), together with UNICEF, built a new school for Samia and her friends. We are working around the clock to ensure that people in Yemen receive food, clean water, shelter and education.
Two million children out of school
In 2015, Ali Abdulaleem elementary school in Lahj governate was destroyed by airstrikes. The remains of the school serve as a harsh reminder of the situation for schoolchildren all over Yemen, where more than two million children lack access to education.
Schools and other learning spaces are being destroyed, occupied by armed groups and used as shelters by people displaced in their own country. Since 18 December alone, 13 schools across the country have been attacked.
For years, local volunteers and teachers did their best to ensure that the children at Ali Abdulaleem could continue their education. They arranged classes in volunteers’ homes and, for over three years, in tents. Classes took place in shifts to make room for all the children.
"We cannot lose education in Yemen"
Samia says that it was impossible to study in such conditions:
"There were too many students, and the hot weather made the tents unbearable."
Together with UNICEF, we recently built a new school with ten classrooms next to the ruins of the old one. In Yemen, we make sure children living amid conflict can still access school. In southern Yemen alone, we’ve rehabilitated 30 schools and built 110 temporary learning spaces. We also distribute school materials, equip learning spaces, train teachers and organise school meals.
"We cannot lose education in Yemen. If we lose education, we can lose a whole generation," says Malka Mohammed, 26, one of our education assistants in southern Yemen. "Education is so important, and that’s why we try to support young Yemenis to create a better life for themselves, and a future."