- Title: Yemen's children toil at dangerous work, not school
- Date: 9th August 2021
- Summary: SANAA, YEMEN (AUGUST 5, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WORKERS CUTTING STEEL BARS VARIOUS OF YEMENI BOY ABDO MUHAMMED JAMALES CUTTING STEEL BARS (SOUNDBITE) (ARABIC) YEMENI BOY, ABDO MUHAMMED JAMALES, SAYING: "What forced me to work is the situation. My father is unwell and can't work anymore, and I only have one brother working from time to time during the month. The situation is difficult, and our trust is in God." VARIOUS OF JAMALES CARRYING STEEL BARS AT A CONSTRUCTION SITE (SOUNDBITE) (ARABIC) YEMENI BOY, ABDO MUHAMMED JAMALES, SAYING: "Before I did not work at all, I used to study and sit and, thank God, all was good. Food and drink came easily but now it is hard and expensive, you can't afford food. The daily pay is not even enough to buy a sack of flour which now costs 18,000-19,000 (riyals) ($32 in Houthi-held areas). Before it was 5,000-8,000 (riyals) ($13 in Houthi-held areas). It's unaffordable and expensive now." VARIOUS OF JAMALES PULLING STEEL BARS, MEASURING THEM AND PARTICIPATING IN CUTTING THEM JAMALES AND MAN CARRYING STEEL BARS (SOUNDBITE) (ARABIC) FOREMAN, OMAR AHMED ABDULLAH, SAYING: "More conflict, more problems, more exhausting situations. This boy was living with his family in Hodeidah, he and his brothers were studying, but when the war began, especially in their neighbourhood, they left their house and everything behind, they moved to several villages without food without anything, his brother works in Bani Hasheesh (an area outside the capital Sanaa), and he works here, God is generous." SANAA, YEMEN (FILE - JULY 5, 2021) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF A METAL WORKSHOP VARIOUS OF WORKERS WORKING AT METAL WORKSHOP (SOUNDBITE) (ARABIC) YEMENI BOY, ZAKARIA NAGUIB, SAYING: "What makes us work this job is the situation, we no longer get jobs, so we returned to a craft to earn our living, and the situation does not allow us to work (in business), sticking to this craft is better for us." VARIOUS OF WORKERS WORKING AT WORKSHOP OWNER OF METAL WORKSHOP SADAM AL-AHDAL TALKING TO CUSTOMER (SOUNDBITE) (ARABIC) OWNER OF METAL WORKSHOP, SADAM AL-AHDAL, SAYING: "During the war we trained 10 people. As a result of the war there are no salaries, no work opportunities, theyâ€™re learning to secure a living." VARIOUS OF SHOP SELLING CHICKEN VARIOUS OF YEMENI BOY HARITH MANSOUR WORKING AT CHICKEN SHOP (SOUNDBITE) (ARABIC) YEMENI BOY, HARITH MANSOUR, SAYING: "I had to take on this job because my father cannot cover household expenses by himself. There isn't enough for school or other things." MANSOUR HANDING A BAG OF CHICKEN TO CUSTOMER MAN STANDING IN THE SHOP
- Embargoed: 23rd August 2021 11:56
- Keywords: Child Labour Conflict War Yemen
- Location: SANAA, YEMEN
- City: SANAA, YEMEN
- Country: Yemen
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Middle East
- Reuters ID: LVA001EPK662V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Instead of attending school, 15-year-old Harith Mansour spends his days wringing chickens' necks, plucking feathers and bagging up fresh meat for customers of a small shop in Yemen's capital Sanaa.
He is one of an unknown number of Yemen's children working to keep their families fed and housed as the toll of six years of war pushes the country ever deeper into poverty and hunger.
"I had to take on this job because my father cannot cover household expenses by himself. There isn't enough for school or other things," said Mansour, who stopped studying at eighth grade.
Elsewhere in the capital Abdo Muhammad Jamales, also 15 and clad in sandals and a shirt, cuts long steel rebars in the street for use in concrete structures.
Fighting in his home city of Hodeidah in western Yemen displaced his parents and eight siblings to the nearby countryside two years ago. With his father unwell and unable to work, Jamales and his brother moved to Sanaa.
Jamales earns 3,000-4,000 riyals ($6-7) a day but more than half goes on food and accommodation, with little left to send home.
"Before I did not work at all, I used to study and sit and, thank God, all was good. Food and drink came easily but now it is hardâ€¦ The daily pay is not even enough to buy a sack of flour which now costs 18,000-19,000 (riyals) ($32 in Houthi-held areas). Before it was 5,000-8,000 (riyals) ($13 in Houthi-held areas)," he said.
Price inflation in the war-battered economy is a major driver of Yemen's persistent hunger crisis. The cost of a minimum food basket in Yemen has risen more than 20% this year, according to U.N. data.
Before the latest conflict erupted in late 2014, Yemen was working with the United Nations to reduce child labour. The minimum age for work was 14, and 18 for hazardous work.
But children's organisation UNICEF says the war has more than doubled the number of children out of school to 2 million.
With family budgets at breaking point, girls are being married at earlier ages, boys recruited as soldiers and children sent out to work. More than 3,600 children were recruited into armed conflict in the past six years, the U.N. has said.
Zakaria Naguib, 16, started working in a metal workshop in Sanaa two years ago.
"What makes us work this job is the situation, we no longer get jobs, so we returned to a craft to earn our living, and the situation does not allow us to work (in business), sticking to this craft is better for us," Naguib said, as sparks from grinding steel flew around his unprotected face.
(Adel al-Khadhr, Nusaibah al-Mualemi, Abdulrahman al-Ansi, Rula Rouhana, Lisa Barrington, Raissa Kasolowsky)
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