Yemen, Poverty, and its Children: A Letter from a Stranger
Hey. How are things out there in your country? I hope you are doing well. I do not know you personally but I wish you can spare me a few minutes of your time. For once, I wanted to be a voice for a whole country, but mostly, for children like me.
The truth is as you read this, there is still a fear that aircrafts would fly around and bombs would explode anywhere. My dear country, Yemen, has been dealing with a civil war since 2015 and I am scared that if any battle commences, my younger siblings would have to run for their lives to find a secured shelter. And if we try to run, would our body endure kilometers with an empty stomach? I wish I could carry all of them behind my back with the help of my mother but she is not around anymore. The last time I saw her, she was thinner than usual. I knew something was unusual when a group of men wearing masks and bodysuits rescued her and tried to tell me that they will bring my mother to somewhere where she can be treated. He then advised us to stay at home and that they will get back to us after several days. They said my mother contracted a “virus”.
It has now been five years since the start of the war, five years since my father got included in the battle and lost his life there. I wish I could have lost my innocence in a different way, rather than being forced into maturity after hearing my mother sob and seeing the look in my siblings’ eyes. The look of shock due to my mother’s mourns, without even realizing it also marked the day they became fatherless. Sometimes, dreaming of us being complete and all together helps with thinking about when was the last time we ate, or if we are even hungry. Sometimes, other things can serve as distraction like what I am doing right now- writing to someone I just befriended minutes ago.
Oh, I have to go. My youngest sibling just woke up and he is crying right now. He is just a baby. My other sister, who is five years old, is also complaining about how her tummy aches. My brother, on the other hand, is no longer responsive. He has been coughing since then, and now he is just lying on the floor, pale and stiff. And then there’s me. I wish I could do more as the oldest, but I am also too weak now. I hope you can tell my mom I wrote, that we missed her so much, and that I hope she gets better soon. I hope the world does, too.
If a child in Yemen can only write a letter to the world, this is how it would probably look like.
No certainties, since we are not in those shoes, but this is the type of poverty they are struggling to deal with every day. Almost 80% of Yemen’s population is living with poverty, and the country itself is considered suffering with the worst humanitarian crisis due to the civil war and now intensified with the pandemic.
But the narrative does not need to end there. You can do something. Your fifteen dollars can actually save 10 lives in Yemen from hunger. Together, let us all unite to raise money in feeding and empowering the victims of this crisis.
Yes, the world may be harsh enough but we don’t have to be the same.