Yemen's orphans suffer as war rages

Yemen's orphans suffer as war rages
Feature: The country's orphans are being badly affected by cuts in funding and support as Yemen's war continues, reports Hamdan Alaly.
3 min read
11 May, 2015
Food is scarce in government run orphanages [al-Araby].
Yemen's orphans are being badly affected by the war, with funding cuts to government and non-government run orphanages across the country. 

Individual donations and initiatives have also dried up.

Yemen has 30 institutions caring for orphans. Ten of these are government-owned and care for about 40,000 children.

Single-parent families are also suffering.

In Yemen, there are an estimated one million orphans and children who have lost a parent.

Hamid Ghalib used to receive $250 a month from an anonymous private donor to look after his dead brother's wife and four children, but the money stopped coming two months ago.

     There are an estimated one million orphans and children who have lost a parent.

Ghalib does not earn enough as a labourer to support his brother's family who are now living on the kindness of neighbours and relatives.

He does not know why the donor stopped sending money, and he has tried unsuccessfully to contact him several times.

The Mercy Foundation for Orphans is the biggest non-governmental charity housing orphans in Yemen. It is one of the few institutions that houses orphaned girls.

The foundation was forced to relocate 150 children from its headquarters in the capital, Sanaa, to Ib province in central Yemen. It did so to save their lives after the international alliance intensified its aerial bombing. The children were aged between one month and 13 years old.

Ashwaq Abdullah, who is responsible for the orphans at the foundation, argues they are facing a crisis because of the lack of funds.

They could only find transport for orphans under 13, and were forced to leave the older children behind.

When the children arrived in Ib province they were temporarily housed in a half-finished building provided by a donor. However, the building needs to be completely renovated, and they are suffering from a lack of food and other necessities, Abdullah explained.

Muhammad al-Hudhaifi, an administrator at Sanaa's government-run orphanage, says many orphans and some teachers have gone to stay with relatives in villages and remote areas.

Hudhaifi told al-Araby al-Jadeed the orphanage was suffering from a lack of resources. They cannot properly feed the children because the contractor supplying the food is owed $10,000 by the finance ministry and has limited the amount of food it sends the orphanage.

Cooks in the orphanage are being forced to use wood from doors and chairs for fuel because the gas supply has stopped.

The 800 children left in the orphanage are terrified of the continuous bombardment. Teaching also stopped after the ministry of education announced education was being suspended across the country because of the war.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.