Photo: Haja Fatima and her grand-children. Action Against Hunger
As Yemen enters its fourth year of war, 22 million people ─ more than 80 percent of the population ─ are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Nearly 10,000 people have lost their lives and millions of others have been uprooted as a result of the conflict between Al Houthi forces and government forces supported by an international coalition. The conflict has contributed to the collapse of the economy and basic services, as well as an elevated risk of famine and a massive cholera epidemic. Today, living conditions in Yemen are tougher than ever, and more than 8.4 million people are on the brink of starvation. Learn more here.
HAJA FATIMA’S STORY
“We owned a small farm, where we grew corn and wheat, as well as some vegetables. We harvested several times a year and lived in a big house with my son, Ali, who is a math teacher, and his family, including my six grandchildren,” says Haja Fatima. In her sixties, she remembers a time before the war had not yet ravaged their village and chased her family out forcing them to go into exile.
“Ali taught in the mornings and joined us in the fields in the afternoon. Our lives were stable and safe. This was two years ago, before everything changed, and we found out how painful it is to live in exile and leave our home.”
When the war began, Haja Fatima and her family picked up items necessary for their survival and fled their home. They moved from place to place, and eventually they settled in the town of Al-Qanawis a few months ago.
« We rent a small house for 6,000 Yemeni rial – about $15 – a month. That sum may not seem like very much for many people, but it is a lot of money to us,” says Haja Fatima. “Every month, we find it hard to scrape the rent together.”
Since they arrived in Al-Qanawis, Ali has been looking for a paid teaching job, but the government has not paid civil servant salaries for some time now. In a situation where the job market is compromised and faced with the urgent need of supporting his family, Ali accepted a scholarship in India and has been gone for two months now.
Ever since, Haja Fatima has been taking care of the family by herself, supported by financial assistance from Action Against Hunger: “I work in one of my neighbor’s fields, but the aid given to me by Action Against Hunger is my main source of income. I can pay my rent, buy flour, and can finally pay the water bills that have been accumulating.”