Khawla School - Now a safe place to learn

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, October 6, 2021
New boundary wall at Khawla School

In Abyan Governorate, Yemen, thousands of children, especially girls, do not have reliable access to education. 

Many schools have been badly damaged by armed conflict and girls who want to attend school risk being harassed and even attacked.   Families, fearing for their safety, are often hesitant to send their daughters to school, inadvertently furthering already existing educational gaps.

Established in 1999, Khawla School provides primary and secondary education to 653 girls. Parts of the Khawla School, including the boundary wall and classroom roof, were damaged by the ongoing conflict, but the school lacked the funding for repairs.  Additionally, the school’s water network was inoperable and there was no shaded space for school events.

One day, Haila Ali, a high school student at Khawla School, was sitting with her classmates during a break enjoying some fresh air, when a boy outside the boundary wall threw a rock at her.  

“I was sitting with my friends by the wall.  Before, the wall was low and sometimes when boys walked by they would harass us and throw rocks.  One day, I felt a rock hit my head and I started bleeding,” said Ms. Ali.

In response to Khawla School’s needs, the USAID-funded Yemen Communities Stronger Together Project (YCST)  rehabilitated and raised the height of  the school boundary wall, installed a steel portal frame for shade,  upgraded the water network, and repaired the school’s roof. At the same time, USAID installed a solar water pump and disability-friendly ramps for restroom access.

USAID’s efforts increased safety and security at the school as well as   improving the learning environment for students, resulting in increased enrollment and retention. Parents no longer have to be afraid of their daughters being harassed or injured while they attend classes.  

USAID also facilitated the local authorities' capacity to respond to educational needs in the community.  The project benefits the entire community by lessening tension over access to quality education and providing a safer environment for girls. The project helped improve relationships between local government and the community by enhancing local service provision, repairing not only the facility but relationships and trust that was lost during the conflict. 

“Now that the fence is raised the students are comfortable going back to school,”said Ms. Ali, reflecting on how happy she is to be back in school with her friends.  



Last updated: November 19, 2021

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