Children in Yemen are living through the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world. The conflict not only threatens their safety and wellbeing but has also severely damaged education services and schools throughout the country.

According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), at least two million Yemeni children are out of school and around 2,000 schools have been partially or completely destroyed. And when schools are functioning, particularly in safer areas, displaced students are often unable to enroll due to sheer demand.

Al Noor School, Assaeed Educational Complex School and 14th of October School are in poor, densely populated areas of Al Mukallah city in Hadramaut governorate. By the end of 2018, these schools were barely left standing. Despite their poor conditions, they still served thousands of young people each year.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), with funding from the State of Kuwait, rehabilitated the three schools this August, just in time for the new school year. Thanks to the rehabilitation, cracked walls, broken roofs, damaged water pipes and poorly functioning electricity networks were repaired in the three schools by the time students to start class.

Al Noor School was in a massive state of disrepair before IOM’s intervention. Photo: IOM 2019

Approximately, 4,000 students, teachers and administrative staff have benefited from the improved infrastructure.

“The school had two damaged bathrooms, one was completely unusable, so we totally fixed the school’s sanitation system,” said Nawwar Al Namri, an IOM engineer based in Hadramaut governorate, speaking about the 14th of October School.

In the two other schools, IOM improved the water and sanitation systems, fixed building structures, replaced broken furniture, railings or doors, and gave the walls a fresh coat of paint.

In Al Noor Elementary School, located in Al Mukallah’s old city, the Organization completely reconstructed the school’s roof. Now students can keep themselves and their books dry when it rains. And in Assaeed Educational Complex School, to stop copious amounts of dust and dirt from entering the classrooms, project teams replaced damaged windows.   

The leaky roof in Assaeed Educational Complex School, which caused damage to many a student’s books. Photo: IOM 2019

“IOM’s work was conducted in collaboration with the authorities and local community; they helped choose the schools based on the city’s needs,” said Mohammed Abdalla, the IOM project officer in Aden, who helped manage the rehabilitation.

A man paints the walls of Assaeed Educational Complex School during IOM's school rehabilitation project. Photo: IOM 2019

“This project was a massive undertaking made successful through community leadership. We were proud to have helped the students start the new school year in refurbished classrooms,” added Abdalla.

In Al Mukallah, current and future generations of Yemenis now have three more schools where they can securely study and learn.

A classroom in the 14th of October school, Hadramaut, Yemen, under rehabilitation by IOM. Photo: IOM 2019

Across Yemen, IOM supports transition and recovery efforts which set the foundation for political, social and economic development that is inclusive and sustainable. To improve the livelihoods of vulnerable families and maintain peacebuilding gains in more stable areas, IOM builds capacity of local stakeholders to own and sustain public services. This includes IOM’s implementation of locally-driven public facility rehabilitations of schools, hospitals or water points.