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The New Arab

Yemenis raise funds for teachers struggling amid war

Fighting has put 1,640 Yemeni schools out of service [AFP]

Date of publication: 5 April, 2017

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Hundreds of thousands of young Yemenis have been forced out of school since fighting escalated with a Saudi-led intervention against Houthi rebels two years ago.
Local residents and businessmen are collecting money to support teachers in Yemen's Taiz as schools struggle amid the country's war.

Hundreds of thousands of young Yemenis have been forced out of school since fighting escalated with a Saudi-led intervention against the Houthi rebels two years ago.

The Yemeni government says it is struggling to pay public sector wages in Houthi areas because rebel-held provinces refuse to send incomes to Aden's central bank.

But in government held areas, such as Taiz, the government has also stopped paying public sector employees.

In response, local volunteers have launched a fund-raising campaign to support teachers, with up to 40,000 out of work.

One initiative has raised over 5.2 million Yemeni rials ($20,780) in local donations, which has paid for 100 teachers to return to school for two months.

"We did not pay [the] salaries of teachers, rather we paid 50,000 Yemeni rials for each teacher so they can buy food for their children," a volunteer told The National. "We are trying to collect [more] to pay other teachers."

Teachers in government-held areas have held regular protests since February, with the government yet to respond.

"I am so happy that there are some initiatives [that] work in the midst of war to help people, and I respect those volunteers for their efforts to help us," one teacher also said.

The war in Yemen has halted the education of nearly two million children, on top of the 1.6 million already out of school before the conflict, UNICEF says.

Fighting has put 1,640 Yemeni schools out of service, with 1,470 destroyed or damaged and others converted into refugee shelters or barracks for fighters.

The Saudi-led coalition has initiated 212 direct attacks on schools, including airstrikes that have killed pupils, UNICEF says.

According to the UN, the conflict in Yemen has left more than 10,000 dead and 40,000 wounded since the coalition intervened on the government's side in March 2015.

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