Being a Young Person During the Worst Humanitarian Crisis

While young adults normally search for high ranking schools to pursue future goals, Yemeni youth tend to search for any escape from their recently ranked “worst humanitarian” crisis for two years in a row as per the IRC reports. Witnessing losses of both present and future, instability of now and uncertainty of later, that is how Yemeni youth spend their days. Destruction of schools and an increase in the number of dropouts in addition to hunger altogether lead young adults to neglect education- which is a basic right- to survive and help their families survive too. In other words, the crisis in Yemen has pushed the youth to redirect their efforts and skills.

Due to the current difficult circumstances such as closed airports, diseases, and poverty, it became a lot harder for people to find opportunities inside the country nor leave to seek what is abroad. Moreover, Yemeni youth abroad fear coming back home – if they have the chance to in the first place – as everything seems very uncertain and the situation might escalate at any time. As for the psychological aspect, demotivation and discouragement are definitely expected after going through this seemingly endless circle of traumas and losses of people and property. According to the UN latest reports, the fear, insecurity, and violence they undergo throughout that experience will definitely leave marks on their mental health. How are we expecting our youth – which are over 20% of the population – to take charge and lead the country in the direction of peace and prosperity if they are left behind with no support, education or even protection?

Viktor Frankl, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, says that meaning and purpose are essential for humans to survive. However, many Yemeni youth are distracted from finding meaning in themselves as they are busy trying to protect their lives and shelters; they are captivated in their only daily concern: survival. In other words, how would a person take time and try to understand the meaning of life if theirs is threatened?

Yemen is trending now on social media and initiatives for humanitarian assistance are being taken. However, these will only solve some problems temporarily. What Yemeni youth really need is development and education as they are the tools that can actually guarantee sustainable impacts on their lives. Flexible programs, such as WYA’s Certified Training Program, can help create life-changing opportunities for empowering youth who do not have enough access to education. For instance, the CTP promotes freedom for excellence, solidarity and the meaning of common good and self-gift, all of which can help Yemeni youth cope with their crisis and find a way out. The point is that our youth have great potential that is buried under the war wrecks and all they need is just a hand to lift them up. They will then find their way to success with their well-known hard work and resilience.

Published: July 23, 2020
Written by Doa’a Al-Shahary, a WYA Middle East Online Intern from Yemen