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Samiha: A story of hopes and dreams from Abyan

Story by Ansar Rasheed, Communication for Development Officer, UNICEF Aden Field Office
Photography by Yassir Abdulbaki and Ansar Rasheed

Abyan, Yemen, 11 October 2018 - Samiha is a young displaced girl, determined to fulfil her dreams, living in Abyan, southern Yemen. Back in 2013, she was one of the children who took part in a photography initiative organised by UNICEF. She was 11 years old at the time when she participated in the “My World Through My Lens” UNICEF project. The workshop aimed at supporting and providing vulnerable children with technical guidance to express themselves and share their stories of hope for the future through photography and movie making. Since then, UNICEF has been following her and documenting the story of this strong and resilient girl who, despite all the challenges she had to face, never gave up on her dreams.

Samiha comes from a poor family, living in Al-Amodyah village in Abyan governorate: “I was 10 years old in 2012 when I ran away with my family in the middle of the night. We lived in a classroom at Lottfi Amman school in Aden, with other displaced families, for two years before being able to go back home. Then again in 2015, we had to leave our home for the second time. Being displaced became our lifestyle.”


“My participation to “My World Through My Lens” completely changed my life. It gave me confidence to pursue my passion for photography. With the UNICEF camera in my hands, I discovered a new world, outside of the classroom where we were staying with my family. I used it to document what was my life about, as a child living in a conflict zone, deprived from his basic rights. Before, I wanted to become an actress but now I decided to be a lawyer to help and protect vulnerable people, to be their voice and fight for their rights, using the law to give their dignity back.”


Samiha was the happiest student when she went back to school in October 2015. “Samiha is smart and wise. She is doing very well at school and takes actively part in social activities,” says the UNICEF volunteer advocating for girl education in Samiha’s village. “She is also strong education advocate. She launched a contribution to collect funds and allow poor children to remain at school.”


Samiha posing with her father and brother on examination day in May 2016. “I am so proud of her and I will do all I can to help her fulfilling her dreams.” Abdullah, Samiha’s father says.


Samiha playing cards with children after giving them Arabic lessons. “Even as a displaced child, I never gave up. I was helping younger illiterate children and I kept doing for two years until they were able to read and write. I hope are all in school now.” Even now, Samiha spends her time supporting other children in her neighborhood with their homework, giving them classes in science, Arabic, math and English. 

 

 
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