Ye­meni teacher turns his home into school for 700 stu­dents

Taiz has been at the cen­tre of a three-and-a-half-year of civil war

The Gulf Today - - MIDDLE EAST -

TAIZ: Out­side the home of Ye­meni teacher Adel Al Shorbagy the queue of chil­dren lin­ing up for ed­u­ca­tion keeps get­ting longer.

Al­most 700 come daily to his house which he con­verted into a school in the government-held city of Taiz, which has been at the cen­tre of a three-and-a-hal­fyear civil war that has left mil­lions on the brink of famine.

Al Shorbagy opened the school fol­low­ing the out­break of war say­ing he had nowhere to send his own chil­dren. How­ever, 500 boys and girls aged be­tween six and 15 signed up for les­sons in that irst year.

“All the schools closed down and we had a prob­lem that our kids were on the street,” Al Shorbagy told Reuters.

“We opened this build­ing as a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive. It was my na­tional and hu­man­i­tar­ian duty to­wards my neigh­bour­hood.” Inside the house, fa­cil­i­ties are ba­sic, with ex­posed brick walls and big gaps where win­dows should be. Ripped cur­tains are used to di­vide up space for class­rooms.

Un­de­terred, the ea­ger chil­dren ind any space they can on the loor, with barely any room to move, let alone write. They share do­nated books and fol­low what one of the 16 vol­un­teer teach­ers writes on a bro­ken white board.

Classes in­clude maths, sci­ence and English, with Al Shorbagy say­ing he fol­lows the pre-war Ye­meni cur­ricu­lum.

De­spite the ram­shackle set­ting and lack of fa­cil­i­ties, the school is over­sub­scribed in a coun­try where ed­u­ca­tion has been dec­i­mated and ac­ces­si­ble, free school op­tions are lim­ited. “I came here to regis­ter... in the school and the prin­ci­pal told me that it is too crowded and re­jected him,” said the mother, who de­clined to be named.

File photo/reuters

Stu­dents at­tend a class at the teacher’s house in Taiz, Ye­men, on Oct.18.

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