“This is the only hope we get to face the harsh life we are going through”

Ali is the only son of his father and mother and the sole breadwinner of a family of ten.

By UNICEF Yemen
Ali and his family having dinner.
UNICEF Yemen/2018

15 July 2019

On the sound of the dropping beads of his father's rosary, Ali Nasser Al-Zaidi introduces himself: 38 years old, from Amran governorate in Yemen, married, father of five daughters and one son. Ali is the only son of his father and mother and the sole breadwinner of a family of ten. He dropped high-school to take care of them.

Sitting in their humble home, one can’t but notice Ali’s 84-year-old father, on whom both age and illness have left their marks, Ali’s mother and the rest of his family sitting around him trying to show strength and patience. The war has had a significant impact on them, especially because they lack a regular source of income. Like Ali’s family, about 70 per cent of the villagers are living in poverty.

Ali’s father health condition keeps worsening and he depends on medication to survive.
UNICEF Yemen/2018
Ali’s father health condition keeps worsening and he depends on medication to survive.

When asked about how he manages the expenses of medication, Ali sighs deeply and re-plies that he borrows from his friends in the village. The increase of prices is another bur-den on his shoulders. "We cannot do anything. We were poor before the war and now the tragedy has worsened,” Ali says.

Ali and his father queuing to receive cash transfer from UNICEF project.
UNICEF Yemen/2018
Ali and his father queuing to receive cash transfer from UNICEF project.

Although Ali and his family face many difficulties, the amount they receive through the UNICEF Emergency Cash Transfer Project makes their life easier.  Ali uses the money to cover his family’s basic needs, including food items and medicine for his father. The meals they have at home are usually very limited, and they go to bed most of the nights without having dinner. When Ali gets a bit of chicken for lunch, they all have a reason to celebrate. With the ongoing economic crisis, the family is satisfied with whatever is available. 

“I often have to choose between buying food for my family or medicine for my father,” Ali says.   

Thanks to UNICEF-support cash transfer project, Ali bought food items at the grocery for the family.
UNICEF Yemen/2018
Thanks to UNICEF-support cash transfer project, Ali bought food items at the grocery for the family.

Despite all this, Ali has a strong will that enables him to face the harshness of life and cru-elty of the conditions resulting from the conflict. He says: “We do not have options but be patient. The cash benefit we get from UNICEF helps us pay for the daily expenses of food and medicine”.  With the money Ali received from the Cash Transfer Project, Ali bought half a sack of flour and, a small bag of sugar, and another small bag of rice. Ali also used part of the money to repay a small portion of his debts which stand at YER 75,000 (about USD 300 ). “When my father needs medicine, I have no option but to borrow from friends and neighbors.

The happiest moments of Ali’s life are those when he goes to receive the cash benefit pro-vided by UNICEF. 

“To many poor people, this is the only window of hope that helps them to face the harsh conditions they are going through today,” Ali concludes.

Ali and one of his daughters in Dhamar city.
UNICEF Yemen/2018
Ali and one of his daughters in Dhamar city.

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.