ACCESS-MENA Success Stories from Yemen

Alternatives to Combat Child Labor through Education and Sustainable Services in the Middle East and North Africa (ACCESS-MENA) is a four-year program that specifically aims to decrease the number of young children working and increase their numbers in school. A range of efforts are focused on addressing both the direct and indirect causes that are exposing children to the worst forms of child labor in Yemen and Lebanon. ACCESS-MENA is supported by the U.S. Department of Labor. Below are some success stories from Yemen.

Rougaya Dewi, age 11

Rougaya had spent the last year out of school for a year and working in at home agriculture and domestic labor to help her mother. Since her home has neither running water nor a gas stove, a considerable portion of her day was spent fetching water and firewood. Young Rougaya was also responsible for collecting fodder for the family cows, goats and chickens.

Through ACCESS, a community outreach volunteer visited Rougaya at home to persuade her family to allow her to reenter school. They agreed and ACCESS helped re-enroll her using matching funds collected through outreach efforts with businessmen and prominent members of the community. (Of the 87 students receiving support at her school, 40 were enrolled using community contributions garnered through these outreach efforts.) ACCESS has also supported the addition of a resource room to the school that is dedicated to remedial education. Rougaya said she was very happy to be back in school and hopes to become a doctor when she completes her studies.

Kamal Mohammed, age 13

Kamal Mohammed, age 13 Kamal dropped out of school when the fees and supply costs for him and his 11 siblings became too great for his parents. While the enrollment fee in Yemen is low (around US$1), books and uniforms end up costing close to US$10 per student, which proves beyond the financial capacity of many poor Yemeni families. Kamal had dropped out to help his father on their farm, tilling the soil and looking after their livestock.

After a meeting with the coordinator for the ACCESS program, Kamal’s father agreed to re-enroll him in school. ACCESS covered the basic requirements of his school fees and the costs of a new school uniform. ACCESS has also helped the school Kamal now attends employ a teacher trained in psychosocial support for children and introduce new methodologies in providing remedial education.

Arif Abdul Ali, age 12

Arif Abdul Ali, age 12 Arif had been out of school for a year prior to enrolling the ACCESS program. His family had a hard time covering the costs of sending six children to school, so he dropped out to help support the family. He helped his father on their farm, looking after their goats as well as helping during the harvest. During his free hours, he worked selling eggs from their farm.

Arif was re-enrolled in school after an ACCESS volunteer met with his father to find out what was needed to get Arif back into the formal education system. ACCESS supported Arif with the costs associated with enrollment and also worked directly with the area’s school to improve the quality of instruction by providing teacher trainings and infrastructure support to the school.