Yemen is currently home to the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. A brutal civil war has left nearly 10 million people at risk of starvation.
Behind the big numbers, there are millions of smaller stories. Tales of ordinary families, trying their best to cope in a far-from-ordinary situation.
Here are three personal stories of how families are finding ways to cope with the crisis.
Thanks to our partners providing food supplies to families in most need, these are stories with slightly happier endings...
Samed and his family are Muhamasheen – Yemenis of African descent. Muhamasheen are considered second class citizens by many other Yemenis.
Samed hasn’t been able to work because he suffers from severe scoliosis – a sideways spinal curvature. His wife works as a domestic servant and earns only $50 US a month.
The couple live with their four sons in one room. They struggle to make ends meet. Samed and his wife were forced to send their children out begging. They were so ashamed by this but they felt they had no other option. They desperately needed money to survive.
Then our local partners registered Samed and his family on their food security project. This means that they can be assured of a regular supply of basics like flour, beans, sugar and salt.
It may not sound like much, but now the family can survive and even save a little. ‘We have our dignity back,’ says Samed. ‘And I thank God that our children no longer have to beg’
‘We have our dignity back. I thank God that our children no longer have to beg’
Hamud was living with his wife and two children. However things were tough for them. He didn’t have a job and there was little chance of work.
Hamud couldn’t save money for basic household needs. Relations with his wife, Munira, became strained.
Finally, Munira left the family home and returned to her parents. This is commonplace in Yemen when a marriage is in trouble, but Hamud was heartbroken.
However, help was at hand: Tearfund’s partner group in Yemen could see that the family were in serious need. They gave Hamud the first food basket for his family. Although these were basic supplies like flour and beans, they made a big difference.
Hamud decided to take courage in both hands and save his marriage. He went to his wife and asked her to move back into their house. Munira agreed to return and now the family is reunited. Whatever obstacles they face, they can face as a family – confident that the family will now have enough to survive. It’s a big deal and it’s enough to keep the family together, fighting for the future.
Sami’s daughter, Hibdah, has a serious bone disease. The family has struggled to pay for her treatment and it has left them in serious debt.
The debt burden has meant that they couldn’t afford similar treatment for Sami’s wife, Nisma. She has herniated discs in her back, causing her unbearable pain.
Without treatment, she just took sedatives to dampen the worst of it, but she was still unable to do any housework or even get out of the house most of the time.
However, things have changed. After receiving regular food supplies from Tearfund’s partners, Sami and Nisma were able to start saving again.
This has meant that Nisma has just travelled to the capital to receive treatment for her back. There’s enough struggle to contend with when you live in Yemen, at least it will be good to be free of pain.
Thank you God, that even in the darkest of circumstances, you find ways to reach in and offer hope.
I pray for the families who are currently being reached by Tearfund’s partners in Yemen. May you continue to keep our partners and their families, safe from harm.
And thank you, most of all, for hope. May we always remain hopeful and be, ourselves, bringers of hope.
You can support this work by giving to Tearfund’s Yemen Appeal.