When back to school is cool

Child EducationCommunity EmpowermentYemen

What a privilege. To laugh at a string of tweets from parents jokingly relieved to send their children back to school. To smile at the funny comments of children who would prefer not to swap their entertainment of choice for uniforms and lessons.

I have to admit it made me giggle. It sounds like my house. No, my kids don’t really hate school – and I don’t really hate my kids, but there’s a funny solidarity in mums and dads counting down the last days of holiday.

And it’s almost required behaviour for the school-going people in my house and their friends to moan at the idea of homework and Maths and school uniforms (most of which will have been lost within the first week.)

What a privilege to have these jokes and groans.

No joking matter
For Amir* in Yemen, all he wanted was to go back to school. To have the life a 13-year-old boy should.

Amir’s mother passed away and his father is bedridden after an accident left him crippled. As the eldest child in the family, it fell to Amir to take care of his father, his brother and three sisters.

At 13, someone should still have been taking care of him.

But for Amir, this wasn’t an option. He had to do what he could – a giant, adult responsibility for a boy who wasn’t yet a man. If he didn’t provide for his family, who would?

Amir didn’t have much, but he had a wheelbarrow.

Every morning he would fill it with a crate of eggs and a pot of potatoes and wheel it around the village, trying to sell the contents for enough money to feed the family. It was all he had, but his father’s condition was worsening and his brother and sisters needed to eat.

Hey, teachers, (don’t) leave them kids alone
Then Amir came to the attention of one of our partners who run a food security project in the area. They saw his need and stepped in to offer support, providing food and giving him back his days – freeing Amir up to return to school.

A local community initiative supported by Tearfund gave Amir a backpack filled with school supplies like books and pencils.

Now Amir is doing what a 13-year-old boy should be doing. Spending his days with other 13-year-olds. Learning. Being given a future. Having the freedom not to worry about how to provide for a whole family. Hopefully he’s laughing. Maybe he’s even enjoying the privilege of groaning with his friends about homework and Maths… I hope so.

PLEASE PRAY

  • Praise God for Amir’s new hope – for the fact that his story is being transformed and that he has the freedom to build a better future.
  • Pray for children who are carers. Pray for strength and courage for them and that God will provide people to see their needs and step in to help.
  • Pray for our partners in Yemen and for the communities they are empowering. Pray that they will be blessed, protected and refreshed as they go about their work.

*Name has been changed to protect identity

Tarryn Pegna

Tarryn has worked her way around the building in Teddington on temp contracts at various times and in various (and very varied) teams at Tearfund over the past 11-odd years. She’s finally settled in the copy team as it marries her love of words, people and Tearfund. (She also loves her kids, coffee and chocolate – but, for safety reasons, has no immediate plans to join up those particular entities!)