IOM YEMEN: AGENCY AND RESILIENCE: RASHAD HELPS HIS FAMILY GET BACK ON THEIR FEET
٠٩ سبتمبر ٢٠٢٣
Written by Haithm Abdulbaqi | IOM Yemen Media & Communication Assistant
Rashad was content with the life he had back home in Hajjah. He was a hardworking family man who cared for his wife, children, and elderly parents. Before the conflict, he used to regularly shuttle back and forth from his home in northern Yemen to Saudi Arabia where he could earn a decent living. But when armed clashes began to intensify, he could no longer access the nearby country where he made the basic income needed to care for his family.
Rashad had to make the hard decision to travel to another city in Yemen far away from his home to look for a job, leaving his parents and family behind.
“My father had lung and heart diseases. His medicine costs YR 270,000 every month. I could no longer provide for that, so I had to travel to look for work in Sa’dah,” explained Rashad.
Rashad thought that he would be able to work and go back home, but he was stuck due to the armed clashes. Eventually, he also ran out of money and could no longer afford to move away.
“Luckily, I found a kind-hearted person who offered to take me to Ma’rib for free. To my surprise, he even gave me money to eat something after we arrived there.”
When he arrived in Ma’rib, Rashad faced immense challenges. He had no money, no shelter, and was far away from his family and sick parents. At that moment, Rashad felt helpless for the first time.
“I had nothing, not even a tent or a blanket, but the people there were so kind and lent me blankets and a tent and told me to return them when the organization helps me.”
“The community there also loaned me some money to pay for the transportation fees to bring my family and parents from Hajjah.”
After Rashad was united with his family, he learned about services offered in Al Jufainah displacement site by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
With support from the Yemen Humanitarian Fund, IOM supported Rashad with Rapid Response Mechanism Kits which include tents, mattresses, blankets and food items. The aid also included cash that was given to Rashad in three installments.
Approximately 1,834 internally displaced people have received these essential items and cash assistance through this initiative since last September.
“The cash assistance project aims to enhance the livelihoods of people who have become newly displaced by conflict or disasters,” said Mohammed Abbas, IOM field assistant in Ma’rib.
“Cash assistance allows them to make the best decision on how to use the money, whether that’s for food, medicine, shelter, or even education.”
“With the first installment, I bought an oven and a gas cylinder to be able to make meals at my shelter. I also bought cement to build a room and spent the rest of the money on groceries for my family,” Rashad recalled.
This assistance allowed him to cook warm meals and secure shelter for himself and his family, providing them with some comfort they had not had since they became displaced.
Later, Rashad used the second round of cash assistance to buy materials to improve his shelter. He and his family now live in a small but cozy space that offers them a sense of stability, privacy and belonging.
The last round of cash brought imminent relief to Rashad, as he used the money to buy food for his children and provide his father with the necessary medicine that relieved him from pain and made him feel better.
“I am so grateful for this support. We had nothing before it came,” he concluded.
Rashad still wishes to build a separate kitchen to cook safely outside their shelter.
In the face of adversity, Rashad chose not to be defeated, but instead embraced the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of his family. His story serves as a reminder that even in the darkest times, there is always room for compassion and resilience.