Free meals aim to keep Yemeni students in school

With malnutrition rampant in wartime Yemen, a Yemeni aid agency is working with the country's food bank to provide meals to students to encourage impoverished families to keep sending their children to school.

YEMEN (REUTERS) - Malnutrition is rife in wartime Yemen, but this aid agency has launched a campaign to distribute food to school children.

Mona Agency is working with the country's food bank to provide meals to students to encourage impoverished families to keep sending their children to school.

"Unicef numbers state that there are more than two million students who drop out of school because of their parents' inability to pay their tuition or to pay for their daily school meals," said Mr Fatek Al-Radeeni, an aid worker at Mona Agency.

"The project targets more than 10,000 students and we at Mona agency are participating as the executive partner of the Yemeni food bank."

To reach the target, teams are working tirelessly - slicing up loaves of bread, spreading cheese inside and handing out sandwiches.

In November, Unicef said 1.8 million Yemeni children are malnourished.

More than 400,000 of them suffering from severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition that leaves them skeletal with muscle wasting.

 
 

Yemen's nearly four-year-old civil war has burdened people financially because of the non-payment of salaries.

That means that food supplies have dropped countrywide.

The United Nations says about 14 million people, or half Yemen's population, could soon be on the brink of famine in a man-made disaster.

The country is embroiled in a proxy war between the Iran-backed Houthi armed movement and a Saudi-led coalition.

The UN is trying to implement a ceasefire and troop withdrawal from Yemen's main port of Hodeida, where most of Yemen's imports come from.

But violence continues to displace people in other parts of the country, and cut access routes for food, fuel and aid.