Aisha Ayash lives in the village of Al-Hareeq, in Yemen, with her husband, sons and grandchildren. This is what she told us about life in a remote village in Yemen:
“Our work here is burdensome. We work under the hot sun in hot temperatures. We work in this climate from the morning when we wake up to pray, prepare food and clean the house.
“We also go to bring fodder for livestock from the fields which we carry on our heads or on donkeys. We clean our animals’ area and milk the cows so the children may have milk. We prepare lunch at noon under the heat of the sun in an open place as you see now.
“Women have many responsibilities here. We cook, clean and collect animal fodder and firewood. If there is no diesel for the water pump we must go very far to collect water for ourselves and animals.
“Our children are uneducated and their fathers have gone abroad to search for a living. They have no work here; agriculture has stopped due to lack of rain, and because the cost of animal fodder has become very expensive.
“My sons have houses nearby, but they moved out after getting married. They have gone to Saudi Arabia illegally to work, because agriculture is no longer productive. However I help care for their children…
“Before we had the well it was really hard. [Progressio partner organisation, Abu Musa Al-Ashari, drilled a water supply well and provided a diesel pump.] We had to carry pots of water on our backs from very distant places. They were very heavy.
“The children also had to help us to carry water for ourselves and our animals. Children didn’t study because there wasn’t a school at the time. We thank Allah that we have a water supply project and now we have a break from that fatigue. We suffered a lot of back pain from carrying those heavy water containers but today, praise Allah, it is now OK.
“Some children (mostly boys) now attend elementary school. We only have an elementary school but in the past we didn’t have that. All praise is due to Allah that they built a new elementary school.
“However many girls do not attend the school because it is mixed and parents want a school for girls to be built. We need to teach our girls to eradicate illiteracy and teach them crafts like sewing.
“Our fathers and grandfathers come from here. The place is beautiful and despite the difficult circumstances we face we are accustomed to it and we don’t have money to move anywhere else. We only have our health (and nothing else).
“We thank all the organisations that help and do projects in our country – thanks to them for listening to our needs and providing important projects like water projects.”
Interview and photos by Progressio development worker Derek Kim.