Khadijah* is a divorcee. She is the mother of three daughters who live with her in one room in Taiz’, Al-Mawaset district. She has been the sole breadwinner for her family ever since she was divorced eight years ago.  She used to receive some support from her father to help her with her children.

“More than five years ago my father was diagnosed with diabetes. He couldn’t work anymore because of his condition so I had to find work to provide for my daughters and to help them complete their studies,” she says. 

Khadijah worked with farmers as daily wage labourer. She also helped women in her village gather firewood from the mountains. She usually earned between YR500-1,000 (around one USD) per day.

She adds: “I have a problem with my spine.  I can no longer do any hard labour. I had to stop working and started relying on generous people and charitable organisations to help me.”

Khadijah used to live in her father’s house together with her brothers and their families. One year ago she moved to another house consisting of only one room so that she and her daughters could live together alone as a family.

“We live in this room and we use my aunt’s bathroom and kitchen as she lives next to us,” she says. “I struggle to provide my daughters with the things they need especially clothes and school materials.”

Khadijah does not have an education herself but she hopes to see her daughters graduate from university one day. 
“No one knows our suffering”

She says that before the war people could help each other because food prices were cheap and men used to have jobs.  But now things are worse.

“Before the war, men used to travel to the city and work. But now they travel to the city and can’t find work,” she says. “My brothers can’t help me as they have families and don’t have jobs.”

“Life is difficult, sometimes we have enough food but most times we have only one meal a day. No one knows our suffering.”
The Norwegian Refugee council (NRC) with support from the UK government started providing people in Khadijah’s village with cash assistance

Khadijah started receiving money from NRC.  With her first cash transfer she was able to buy enough food to ensure that she and her daughters could eat three meals a day instead of one.

“NRC helped us to meet our basic needs and reduced our suffering. I can see families in the village are now happy,” she adds.

“If someone in the village is sick, we go to visit them and take juice and fruits with us.  But before the cash transfers we didn’t visit sick people as we couldn’t take anything with us.”

New source of income
Khadijah hopes to earn a source of income to provide for her family when the aid stops so she has started to keep goats.

“I used some of the money I received from NRC to buy two goats as raising goats may help me in the future to provide for my family, Khadijah says.”

Khadijah hasn’t raised goats before but has received support from her neighbours who have experience of raising goats. “My neighbours sell goats for a good price before Eid so I’m planning to do the same.”

Khadijah believes that receiving cash assistance is better than receiving food baskets because she can use the money freely to buy what she needs.

She hopes that her daughters don’t have to suffer like she has in her life. “I didn’t witness many happy moments in my life, I’ve suffered a lot. I work hard to make sure my daughters can have a better life.”

*name was changed as per the interviewee request.

Text: Nasser Abdulkareem/NRC
Photo: Riona McCormack/NRC
Yemen

Khadijah wants a better life for her daughters

Khadijah* lives an unconventional life for a woman in Taiz, a city in south-west Yemen. She is divorced, a mother of three daughters, and the sole breadwinner for her family.

Traditionally, a divorced woman in Yemen returns to live with her father, who pays for her and her children. However, this wasn’t possible for Khadijah.

“More than five years ago, my father was diagnosed with diabetes. He couldn’t work anymore because of his condition, so I had to find work to provide for my daughters and help them complete their studies,” she says.

Khadijah worked on farms as a casual labourer. She also helped women in her village gather firewood from the mountains. She usually earned between 500 and 1,000 Yemeni Rial (around USD 1) per day. Over the years, this hard, physical labour took a toll on her health.

“I have a problem with my spine,” she reveals. “I can no longer do any hard labour. I had to stop working and started relying on generous people and charitable organisations to help me survive.”

A difficult life

Khadijah used to live in her father’s house together with her brothers and their families. A year ago, she moved to a small, one-room house so that she and her daughters could live together as a family.

Khadijah* is a divorcee. She is the mother of three daughters who live with her in one room in Taiz’, Al-Mawaset district. She has been the sole breadwinner for her family ever since she was divorced eight years ago.  She used to receive some support from her father to help her with her children.

“More than five years ago my father was diagnosed with diabetes. He couldn’t work anymore because of his condition so I had to find work to provide for my daughters and to help them complete their studies,” she says. 

Khadijah worked with farmers as daily wage labourer. She also helped women in her village gather firewood from the mountains. She usually earned between YR500-1,000 (around one USD) per day.

She adds: “I have a problem with my spine.  I can no longer do any hard labour. I had to stop working and started relying on generous people and charitable organisations to help me.”

Khadijah used to live in her father’s house together with her brothers and their families. One year ago she moved to another house consisting of only one room so that she and her daughters could live together alone as a family.

“We live in this room and we use my aunt’s bathroom and kitchen as she lives next to us,” she says. “I struggle to provide my daughters with the things they need especially clothes and school materials.”

Khadijah does not have an education herself but she hopes to see her daughters graduate from university one day. 
“No one knows our suffering”

She says that before the war people could help each other because food prices were cheap and men used to have jobs.  But now things are worse.

“Before the war, men used to travel to the city and work. But now they travel to the city and can’t find work,” she says. “My brothers can’t help me as they have families and don’t have jobs.”

“Life is difficult, sometimes we have enough food but most times we have only one meal a day. No one knows our suffering.”
The Norwegian Refugee council (NRC) with support from the UK government started providing people in Khadijah’s village with cash assistance

Khadijah started receiving money from NRC.  With her first cash transfer she was able to buy enough food to ensure that she and her daughters could eat three meals a day instead of one.

“NRC helped us to meet our basic needs and reduced our suffering. I can see families in the village are now happy,” she adds.

“If someone in the village is sick, we go to visit them and take juice and fruits with us.  But before the cash transfers we didn’t visit sick people as we couldn’t take anything with us.”

New source of income
Khadijah hopes to earn a source of income to provide for her family when the aid stops so she has started to keep goats.

“I used some of the money I received from NRC to buy two goats as raising goats may help me in the future to provide for my family, Khadijah says.”

Khadijah hasn’t raised goats before but has received support from her neighbours who have experience of raising goats. “My neighbours sell goats for a good price before Eid so I’m planning to do the same.”

Khadijah believes that receiving cash assistance is better than receiving food baskets because she can use the money freely to buy what she needs.

She hopes that her daughters don’t have to suffer like she has in her life. “I didn’t witness many happy moments in my life, I’ve suffered a lot. I work hard to make sure my daughters can have a better life.”

*name was changed as per the interviewee request.

Text: Nasser Abdulkareem/NRC
Photo: Riona McCormack/NRC
Read caption Khadijah’s house consists of only one room where she and her three daughters live. Photo: Riona McCormack/NRC

Before the war, people could help each other because food prices were low and men used to have jobs. But now things are worse.

“Life is difficult,” says Khadijah. “Sometimes we have enough food, but most times we only have one meal a day. No-one knows our suffering.”

“I struggle to provide my daughters with the things they need, especially clothes and school materials.”

From one meal a day to three

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), with support from the UK government, started providing people in Khadijah’s village with cash assistance.

With her first cash transfer, Khadijah was able to buy enough food for at least two months. This also meant she and her family could have three meals a day instead of one.

“NRC helped us to meet our basic needs and reduced our suffering. I can see families in the village are now happy,” she says.

“If someone in the village is sick, we visit them and take juice and fruits with us.”

Raising goats

Khadijah believes that cash assistance is better than receiving food baskets because she can use the money freely to buy what she needs.

She hopes to develop a source of income to provide for her three children when the aid stops, so she has started to keep goats.

“I used some of the money I received from NRC to buy two goats. Raising goats may help me to provide for my family in the future,” she says.

Khadijah* is a divorcee. She is the mother of three daughters who live with her in one room in Taiz’, Al-Mawaset district. She has been the sole breadwinner for her family ever since she was divorced eight years ago.  She used to receive some support from her father to help her with her children.

“More than five years ago my father was diagnosed with diabetes. He couldn’t work anymore because of his condition so I had to find work to provide for my daughters and to help them complete their studies,” she says. 

Khadijah worked with farmers as daily wage labourer. She also helped women in her village gather firewood from the mountains. She usually earned between YR500-1,000 (around one USD) per day.

She adds: “I have a problem with my spine.  I can no longer do any hard labour. I had to stop working and started relying on generous people and charitable organisations to help me.”

Khadijah used to live in her father’s house together with her brothers and their families. One year ago she moved to another house consisting of only one room so that she and her daughters could live together alone as a family.

“We live in this room and we use my aunt’s bathroom and kitchen as she lives next to us,” she says. “I struggle to provide my daughters with the things they need especially clothes and school materials.”

Khadijah does not have an education herself but she hopes to see her daughters graduate from university one day. 
“No one knows our suffering”

She says that before the war people could help each other because food prices were cheap and men used to have jobs.  But now things are worse.

“Before the war, men used to travel to the city and work. But now they travel to the city and can’t find work,” she says. “My brothers can’t help me as they have families and don’t have jobs.”

“Life is difficult, sometimes we have enough food but most times we have only one meal a day. No one knows our suffering.”
The Norwegian Refugee council (NRC) with support from the UK government started providing people in Khadijah’s village with cash assistance

Khadijah started receiving money from NRC.  With her first cash transfer she was able to buy enough food to ensure that she and her daughters could eat three meals a day instead of one.

“NRC helped us to meet our basic needs and reduced our suffering. I can see families in the village are now happy,” she adds.

“If someone in the village is sick, we go to visit them and take juice and fruits with us.  But before the cash transfers we didn’t visit sick people as we couldn’t take anything with us.”

New source of income
Khadijah hopes to earn a source of income to provide for her family when the aid stops so she has started to keep goats.

“I used some of the money I received from NRC to buy two goats as raising goats may help me in the future to provide for my family, Khadijah says.”

Khadijah hasn’t raised goats before but has received support from her neighbours who have experience of raising goats. “My neighbours sell goats for a good price before Eid so I’m planning to do the same.”

Khadijah believes that receiving cash assistance is better than receiving food baskets because she can use the money freely to buy what she needs.

She hopes that her daughters don’t have to suffer like she has in her life. “I didn’t witness many happy moments in my life, I’ve suffered a lot. I work hard to make sure my daughters can have a better life.”

*name was changed as per the interviewee request.

Text: Nasser Abdulkareem/NRC
Photo: Riona McCormack/NRC
Read caption Khadijah started to raise goats as a new source of income. Photo: Riona McCormack/NRC

“I haven’t witnessed many happy moments in my life. I’ve suffered a lot. But I work hard to make sure my daughters can have a better life,” says Khadijah.

Khadijah is not alone. The war in Yemen has taken a terrible toll. An estimated 80 per cent Yemen’s population – 24 million people – currently require humanitarian or protection assistance, including 14.3 million in acute need.

*The name has been changed to protect the interviewee’s identity.