In August 2016, the salaries of teachers in the areas controlled by the Ansar Allah group (Houthis) were stopped after the transfer of the Central Bank to the city of Aden, which affected thousands of employees who used to receive their monthly salaries from state institutions.
The teacher, Omar Abdul-Aziz, works as a mathematics teacher in a school in Sa'ada Governorate, and as soon as he heard the decision of the salary suspension, he kept thinking about how he could support his family, which consists of six members, in addition to his father who lives with him in the same house while his mother died of cancer five years ago.
Omar chose to go back to his school, entered the first session, then tried to attend the second session, which was in the ninth grade, but he could not, so he decided to leave the school and go home, and he retired there for a whole week, doing nothing.
After about a week, the school principal contacted him, and threatened him that if he did not come to practice his work, he would be dismissed and replaced. The teacher replied that he would think about it, and because he is the only teacher of mathematics, pressure increased on him to return to teaching, and the principal promised him to collect some money from the students as monthly incentives for him.
The teacher continued teaching until the end of 2017, after that he decided to go into self-employment. That is, selling used clothes in front of the gate of Al-Salam Saudi Hospital. However, as soon as he started practicing his business, the municipality asked him to obtain a work permit and pay fees for using the place, and because he did not have money, he had to sell his wife’s gold ring so that he could pay the fees and resume practicing his business in buying and selling secondhand clothes.
He used to earn about two thousand riyals daily from selling used clothes, but this amount did not meet his family obligations. A year later, the municipality issued a decision banning any commercial activity in front of the hospital gate, and those who were working there were transferred to the new Al-Salam Market, on the southeastern side of the hospital.
Because he could not pay the rent for the new site, the teacher decided to go home; sometimes he works in selling clothes that he hang on his shoulders and carry them around the streets, but he rarely gets a customer, and at other times he works in other jobs such as repairing washing machines, or as a porter for the Red Crescent Society.
Luckily, in 2017, his son Osama graduated from high school with a high score of 96 percent, so he received a scholarship to Jordan, where he studied for four years in the major of civil engineering. After graduation, the son returned home in 2022, and was employed with the Public Works Office in the governorate, and began helping his father with the living expenses.
The teacher Omer, still hopes that the day will come when his salaries will be paid, so he has decided to go back to school and continue teaching his young students.
Published in cooperation with Mwatana for Human Rights