A family shelter made of sheets

A story of hope from UNICEF Emergency Cash Transfer project

By UNICEF Yemen
Faisal and his son feeding the sheep.
UNICEF Yemen/2018

14 July 2019

One house for eight souls. Actually, only one room hosts Faisal Al Yafaei and his family. A room that doesn’t protect them from neither summer heat nor cold of winter. And because the walls are incomplete, Faisal used sheets to put a roof over his family’s head. On each wall, clothes are hanging. In the back of the room there is a small place to cook. When it rains, the rain passes through the sheets and the whole room becomes wet.

Faisal and his family in their house which consists of one single room with a place to cook and to sleep.
UNICEF Yemen/2018
Faisal and his family in their house which consists of one single room with a place to cook and to sleep.

Faisal, 42 years old, is a father of two girls and four boys. The family lives in Dhamar city in Yemen. Faisal and his wife try to raise their kids with love. Faisal had worked previously in a brick factory but because of the war, "the factory closed down, and we couldn’t find anything to do", says Faisal.

Faisal remembers with a heavy heart losing his five-month-old son because of severe malnutrition. “That was the hardest time of my life,” he says.

The rise of basic commodities’ prices added to Faisal’s family suffering.

Faisal and his wife has four boys and two girls. They lost a 5-month-old boy of acute malnutrition.
UNICEF Yemen/2018
Faisal and his wife has four boys and two girls. They lost a 5-month-old boy of acute malnutrition.

When asked about the happiest moment in his life, Faisal replied, "it hasn’t come yet. Perhaps the end of this crisis will be the happiest moment of my life." However, not all doors stayed locked in front of Faisal and his family. The Emergency Cash Transfer Project implemented by UNICEF has given him a glimpse of hope. “Although the amount is small, I tried to do something with it”, says Faisal.

Faisal receiving the cash transfer at the payment site of Dhamar city.
UNICEF Yemen/2018
Faisal receiving the cash transfer at the payment site of Dhamar city.

Faisal thought that some of his problems could be solved with the cash assistance provided by UNICEF. The first thing that occurred to him was to buy a couple of sheep to feed his young child from the milk because he could no longer afford to buy powder milk. He later decided to invest as this was the only way to generate a sustainable income for his family. Today, Faisal is grateful for this decision. Each time he got a sheep, a lamb has been delivered. In spite of the fact that the sheep take away some of his sorrow, Faisal still struggles with the increasing prices.

“Nevertheless, we must continue to be strong until this crisis is over,” Faisal concludes hoping for a better future for his family.

Faisal holding one of the sheep he bought to sustain his family thanks to UNICEF cash transfer project.
UNICEF Yemen/2018
Faisal holding one of the sheep he bought to sustain his family thanks to UNICEF cash transfer project.

In Yemen, the UNICEF ECT project is being implemented thanks to the contributions of the World Bank’s International Development Association, the United Kingdom's Department for International Development and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs of the United States Department of State.