Early in the morning, Alia Abdullah (60 years old) packs her work tools and goes on foot towards the nearby agricultural lands to bring clay to her house, where she uses it for the making of local "mud stoves" which she sells to earn some money for living and feeding her kids.
Hajja Alia spends most of the day, digging, piling dirt and transporting it, in a tedious and tiring process, to which she was forced to resort to as a source for living after the passing of her breadwinner and the insufficient salary of her deceased husband that did not exceed 20 thousand riyals.
Since March 25, 2015, the war in Yemen has left no choice for Yemeni women to stay at home to take care of their children, in light of poverty and famine, the interruption of salaries, and the loss of the sole supporter for many families due to the war and the ongoing conflict which has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, as described by the United Nations.
Alia told Khuyut that she is exhausted by her tough profession, but she has no other choice. She spends most of her days between fetching mud from agricultural lands and fetching animal waste which she mixes with water to make a tandoor (mud stove).
'The process of producing a single "tandoor" takes about three days, as it has to be exposed to the sun at every manufacturing phase in order to dry and harden without any defect.'' Alia explained.
Alia added that: "despite all these arduous production process, it is always difficult to sell my products if I haven’t received prior orders from my clients let alone the humble price of the tandoor which is sold at approximately 7 thousand riyals only. I believe that this price does not correspond to the effort that goes into making the tandoor." Said the struggling woman sadly.
Yemeni women are considered the most affected segments of society since the broke out of the conflict in 2015, as the living circumstances led to imposing a heavy burden on women. In fact, the outcomes of the conflict led to the obligation of a new reality on women, and forced them to play different roles and ways of living. Women have found themselves in the midst of a difficult experience, facing great challenges that are beyond their natural capabilities, in order to preserve the economic and social cohesion of society, in addition to their responsibilities in social peace, and their participation in achieving peace in general.
From the leaves of palm fronds, the sixty-year-old Fatima Saleh weaves the threads of survival and living for her children, after the heavy burden fell on her shoulders following the death of her husband. She began to suffer hardships, going to the palm trees to cut the fronds, as it is the only collar and hope for obtaining a little money to meet the requirements of life, even if it was small returns
Women in Yemen face many challenges and difficulties resulting from the consequences of the ongoing conflict and war, which have affected almost all aspects of their lives.
Similarly, Mrs. Alyah Al-Lahji, struggles for life by selling the bread she prepares in the markets of the city of Al-Houta, in order to provide her with a living and medicines as she suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure.
Age and disease did not discourage her, nor did it affect her determination, as she refuses to depend on anyone but herself. She endures the scorching sun in the middle of Al-Houta Street in Lahj (southern Yemen), in order to earn a living and receive between (10-12) thousand riyals per day.
Mrs. Alyah stated, in her interview with "Khuyut", that she wakes up early every morning and goes to the market on a motorbike that she rents in order to buy the flour every day in appropriate quantities. However, the ingredients cost her more than she can afford. Therefore, she resorts to selling firewood to earn as much money as possible to help her meet the needs and costs of the inputs needed for preparing bread.
Selling in the high mountains
From the leaves of palm fronds, the sixty-year-old Fatima Saleh weaves the threads of survival and living for her children, after the heavy burden fell on her shoulders following the death of her husband. In order to get an average of 500 riyals, the price she gets for selling a manual “broom” or “cover” of palm fronds, this woman needs to exert hard efforts and cross up rugged roads to reach remote mountainous areas, to sell what she produces and manufactures from palm fronds.
Fatima produces, through her profession that she learned from her mother 30 years ago, according to her interview with "Khuyut" - tools for storing food and eating, in addition to mats and "hats". Although it is a difficult occupation that requires effort and focus, but she believes it is a journey of struggle and a challenge to the imposed unbearable reality in order to live a decent life.
The United Nations Development Program confirms that the conditions of war, the loss of a breadwinner, and the interruption of salaries have prompted many women to work in various professions to provide for a living, after many of them have become the only sponsors for their families and children.