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A 100 schools for Yemen

Staff Reporter
Filed on July 23, 2013
A 100 schools for Yemen

Hewar, a small impoverished village in northwestern Yemen is home to Amina, a young woman who stands out as an exception in her community. Facing prejudice and inequality in education, Amina struggled against social pressure to complete schooling as the only girl in a class of sixty students.

She managed to finish her schooling with great difficulty but never made it to university because of economic pressures faced by her family. Determined with a drive to educate girls, she took up the challenge of providing education to other girls in her village. Unfortunately, for her, the dream was short lived because of the poor condition of schools in her village.

Today, Amina is a voluntary teacher in her village, an opportunity provided to her when Dubai Cares in partnership with CARE International in Yemen, constructed fifteen new schools in her governorate. From her own personal experiences, she understood that schoolgirls would greatly benefit from having a female teacher and this is what urged her to volunteer as a teacher.

Once the construction of the schools was complete, Amina joined a group of women who were tasked with visiting local families individually to gather feedback. They paid particular attention to those whose daughters had previously dropped out of school. The success of this group became evident when the number of girls attending Amina’s school tripled in the new school building.

“This is a completely new concept for us. It gives the young generation a new, solid foundation,” she says. With a gesture concealing her disappointment, she adds: “I wish I could go back in time and re-start my education in one of these new schools.”

Yemen is the least developed country in the Middle East with a human development index (HDI) of 151. On the gender equity scale, Yemen is rated 121 among 140 countries and recent trends in primary education still point to a lack of progress, especially for girls.

In an effort to complement the government’s commitment to ensuring gender equality in primary schools, Dubai Cares is implementing targeted infrastructure interventions with CARE International and Save the Children in Lahej, Abyan, Aden and Hajja in Yemen.

The joint Dubai Cares-CARE International primary education programme aims at increasing the quality and relevance of education to 36,000 primary age children in the rural governorate of Hajja, with special emphasis on providing girls with access to education.

The programme will also ensure the construction of nearly 100 primary schools in the under served areas, with six classrooms each. Dubai Cares partnership with Save the Children seeks to drive primary education programmes in Yemen benefiting nearly 46,000 children from 35 under-developed schools.

Additionally, in partnership with Unicef, Dubai Cares supports government efforts that promote girls’ education in rural areas, both through policy formulation and direct involvement in rural communities. The programme also aims at improving quality of education by setting standards and promoting social mobilisation at both community and the national level.

Approximately, two million children, 400 female teachers and more than 1,900 teachers of the Child Friendly Schools will benefit from the Dubai Cares-Unicef joint programmes in Yemen. As part of the programme, school kits including notebooks will be distributed to children in the 6-14 age group throughout the country, providing them the basic tools and materials required for school.

muaz@khaleejtimes.com


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