Old Clothes Transform Lives in Yemen

Unwanted clothing donated to TIC International is used to generate funds for a variety of humanitarian projects across the globe, including in Yemen. Here, money from items such as old sweaters and jeans provides a route out of poverty for over 5,800 of the country’s most vulnerable people.

Yemen is amongst the ten most water-scarce countries on earth, with an average person living in its mountainous areas having less than one quart of drinking water a day. With the highest water exhaustion rate in the Middle East, the country’s groundwater levels are falling by ten to 20 feet each year – posing a serious threat to agriculture and leaving major cities without adequate safe drinking water. Within the next decade, Sana’a could be the first capital city in the world to run dry.

We bring water from a distance of seven kilometers on donkeys,” says Mohammed Saleh , 46. The farmer tells us that the task of water collection usually falls to women and children, which significantly affects their health and other life-chances.

“Mostly, girls in this area do not go to school because their families ask them to collect water every morning.”

TIC funding is transforming futures for families like Mohammed’s. The cash is funding an innovative project that empowers six vulnerable communities in the Bani Matar district of Sana’a to save rainwater, to use at home and for their livestock. New water ponds and water channels are to be constructed in the scheme, and poor people will also gain better access to the local market as roads are improved.

“If we have water ponds close to the village we will have the water we need for ourselves and for our sheep,” says Mohammed.

Almost one third of people living in Sana’a governorate are severely food-insecure. By teaming-up with the World Food Programme (WFP) – over 7,000 people will receive regular food parcels. Nutritious food will also be provided to many vulnerable groups.

The project offers short-term employment to hundreds of Yemenis, as they help to construct the new infrastructure – which is seen as key in conserving dwindling water resources. In addition, training sessions on hygiene, nutrition, and basic healthcare will enable them to improve their health.

Islamic Relief has been working in Yemen since 1998, and delivers a range of development and emergency relief programmes designed to reduce poverty and suffering in the country.

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