The United Nations children’s fund decided to pay at least 100,000 teachers in Yemen, the UN said Sunday, as two million children go without education in the war-torn country.
UNICEF has disbursed the equivalent of $50 per month to more than 97,000 eligible teachers and school staff and aims to increase that figure to 136,000.
The UN estimates that out of seven million school-age children in Yemen over two million are not being educated as infrastructure has been destroyed or repurposed to house those displaced by the four-year conflict.
Salaries for teachers were suspended in 2016 as the war between the country’s rebels and a government backed by a Saudi-led alliance brought the economy to a halt.
“The situation of Yemen’s education sector is daunting,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“Without a regular salary and due to the conflict and the ongoing economic crisis, teachers have been unable to commute to their schools or had to look for other livelihood opportunities to sustain their families.”
Rights groups have warned the loss of education poses a major threat to the well-being of children, who are at increased risk of being recruited into militias, forced into labour or married off young.
Yemen’s Huthi rebels, linked to Iran, in 2014 drove the government out of the capital Sanaa and south into Aden, hometown of beleaguered President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.