Psychosocial and learning support helps Ashraf overcome disability

“I love the centre and the teachers. I can practice my hobbies and play football with other students” - Ashraf.

UNICEF Yemen/2018/Aldobhani
06 February 2019

6 February 2019, Sana’a, Yemen – Ashraf Aref Al-Hammadi is in grade 8. He was born in Sana’a in 2001 with a disability caused by a neonatal disease, which affected his physical mobility and his hearing and speech abilities. Ashraf’s parents didn’t have the financial means to send their son to a specialised institution, so the young boy completed his education in public schools until he reached his 15th birthday. When his father, who is a math teacher, heard of the UNICEF-supported learning centre opening near their house at Ibn Majed School, he tried to convince Ashraf to join the activities. Although he was first scared of meeting new children and having to make a lot of efforts to integrate, Ashraf felt safe as soon as he entered the centre. “I love the centre and the teachers. I can practice my hobbies and play football with other students”.

UNICEF Yemen/2018/Aldobhani
Ashraf learning maths with his father thanks to a lamp board developed at the innovation lab to ease the learning process

Ashraf became an active participant in all sports and cultural activities, while receiving a personalised psychosocial support by his teachers.

The particularity of the learning centre of Ibn Majed School is that, sciences play a crucial role and the school has opened an innovation lab where students are encouraged to develop their science skills. Ashraf participated in several science projects, such as an electric board used to teach the multiplication table, with the help of his father. “I am very proud of my son and I am happy to see that he became more active after spending some time at the learning centre”, Ashraf’s father says. “I would like to thank all the social workers and the teachers who supported Ashraf and who gave him the psychological support he needs to live as any other child.”

UNICEF Yemen/2018/Aldobhani
Ashraf playing chess with his friends at Ibn Majed learning centre in Sana’a.

At least 2 million children are currently out of school in Yemen. With the support of its partners, UNICEF continues its emergency response to facilitate access to quality education for children across the country. In addition to supporting learning centers, UNICEF launched 35 summer camps last year in Amanat Al-Asimah (Sana’a city), Sana’a, Marib, Dhamar, Al-Baydha’a and Amran governorates to enable vulnerable children to pursue their education and benefit from educational and life skills classes, psychological assistance and counselling and extracurricular activities, to foster their abilities to cope with the traumatic experiences they faced in the past.

The German Development Bank KfW and the Swedish International Development Agency Sida have been long-term partners of UNICEF in providing quality education to displaced and conflict-affected children in Yemen. Thanks to their support and to other donors, 41,700 school bags were distributed to schoolchildren and some 157,400 children accessed education services in safe learning spaces in 2018. UNICEF and its partners will continue their education interventions in 2019 to make sure than at least 639,000 children will be able to continue their education and be given a chance for a brighter future.