We lead a desert life. Girls do not study - at all”, says an inhabitant of a village in northwestern Yemen, who has eight children including an eight-year-old girl named Khairiah. But this is changing. Dubai Cares, in partnership with CARE International in Yemen, recently constructed fifteen new schools in the area. The new schools are slowly changing the long-standing gender norms in the region.
Now, when Khairiah wakes up in the morning in her one-room mud hut, she still washes her face in the only bucket available for her family and the cattle, but it marks the start of a new daily routine for her, which includes going to school. “If the new school wasn’t built, I would not have any access to education,” Khairiah states, her eyes gleaming with excitement and hope for a better future.
The new school buildings have shown the local community the potential of modern education in improving the security and hygiene of their children. In the village, access to education has soon not only become a reality but a matter of prestige for the community.
Khairiah glows with happiness as she sets off to school with her brothers and neighbors. Her mother hears her talking about the new school, the availability of running water and bathrooms, blackboards, tables and chairs; simple amenities not found in their own home. She is proud that her daughter gets an education while she herself was denied one.
Khairiah’s father says that since God has given them such a wonderful school, it is his duty to talk to other families and convince them to enroll not only their sons but also their daughters in the new schools. He is grateful that his children can now look forward to a much brighter future, saying, “We thank Dubai Cares for this school which protects our children, and we pray for them from the bottom of our hearts.”