After almost a decade of the ongoing war in Yemen, there has been some hope for negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. However, in this entire tenure of conflict, there have been several aspects of Yemen that were severely impacted. Firstly, the conflict caused approximately 400,000 deaths and one-third of Yemen’s population requires food and clothing assistance and experiences extremely poor sanitation. Along with all these factors, the education system has been primarily affected. According to UNICEF, “Over two million children are out of school, over four million need support to access education, and over 20 per cent of all primary and secondary schools are closed.”
Due to frequent bombings and strikes, most educational institutions have either been destroyed or damaged. The military forces have also exploited the schools as private detention facilities and training areas. The ratio of students to teachers expanded rapidly as a result of the lack of wages for teachers throughout the conflict, and many teachers opted out of the profession because of the necessity for secure jobs and the high rates of unemployment.
During this crisis, there are also extremely high percentages of children who fail to enrol in school; girls aren't permitted to go to school due to safety concerns, and many of them are also being forced to marry at a younger age due to financial burdens and the requirement for somebody to provide support for the households.
Young boys are either recruited as child soldiers to serve in the conflict or sent to work to support their families. Mansour, a 16-year-old boy, enjoyed going to school and aspired to be a neurologist one day, but after his father was killed in the conflict four years ago, he was forced to drop out and work in a factory to support his family. During his work, he even injured his spinal cord, leaving him paralysed for the rest of his life. It’s heartbreaking to see that at a young age, children are put in situations where they must choose between their innocent dreams and the responsibility of being the breadwinner of the household.
Ahmed, a 17-year-old from the city of Taiz, stated, “My previous school was on the frontline. I had to change schools and now have to walk an hour and a half to reach my new classroom every day. One time, my classmate was shot dead on our way to school. I was with him, and it was horrific. I was covered in his blood and didn’t know what to do.”
These young children's tales are completely horrific, and the events they had to witness so early in their lives have permanently traumatised them for the rest of their lives.
What is your opinion about the devastating consequences of the conflict?