Khadija's Story

Thursday 26 January 2017





Summary– Hajja Khadija*, 60 years-old, is from Bani Khoheel village, in Bani Qais district in Hajja governorate in northern Yemen. She has three sons; two of them are married and have children. Her family comprises ten people. Her husband Hajj Musleh*, 55 years-old, has no job and hence has no salary. Hajja Khadija and her family are totally dependent on sheep breeding and producing fodder to feed the animals, as the only source of income for the family. Hajja Khadija used to suffer a lot from bringing water from the old well which is outside the village. For many years she and other people in the village suffered from diseases such as diarrhea and vomiting because the water they were drinking from that well was polluted. The well was not even safe and unfortunately four girls from the village died (they drowned) when they were collecting water. Two months ago Save the Children, with the support of the Dutch Government, rehabilitated a well inside Bani Khoheel village, and constructed a well cover and a water point with an automatic solar system which empowers the people to access water 24/7 in an easy way. No water-borne diseases have been recorded since then.


Hajja Khadija* tells her story in her own words:

“I have three sons and three grandsons and one of my daughters-in-law is now pregnant in her seventh month.


There is a well inside my village that wasn’t working so I used to bring the water from the old well which is very far away from my house. To get there I used to walk between 30 minutes to one hour, and when no water was found in that well I would go to a further one which is one hour and half away from my village.


For a long time, I used to carry bottles of water on my head. This was really tiring. Then I saved some money and bought a donkey to carry the water. In the past, sometimes I had to stay at the well from the evening until the next morning waiting for my turn to access the water because there were many people around the source. I was really suffering to bring water, although the amount was not enough for my family. I could only bring 60 liters a day maximum.


I use bottles of 20 liters to collect and store the water and we do not use open containers because it can cause sickness. We use the water for drinking, watering the sheep and chickens, washing pots and clothes, and for cooking.


The water in the old well was not clean and was unhygienic. I could even see the larvae and the mosquitoes in the water and the well was always open and not protected, so my family was suffering from sickness like diarrhea and vomiting. When one of them got sick we had to take him or her to the health facility which cost us around 1000 YR for transportation only (around 3 USD).


Two months ago Save the Children constructed a water point with an automatic solar system and rehabilitated the well inside my village. We can see a big difference between the old well outside the village and the rehabilitated one: the water is clean, we are healthy, and the people can easily access the water any time day and night. We don’t longer need to collect water from the old well anymore!


The water tank is full of the water and I spend only fifteen minutes to go to the water source, collect the water and go back to my house. The water source is only 100 meters away from my house that I can even see it from my window!


Our life has totally changed for good. It has become easier and I feel like I am a human being now because the water is the most important thing in life and when accessing it easily, life becomes easier! We haven’t faced any health problems since the well inside my village was rehabilitated. I can bring now 200 liters per day without any difficulties, which is more than enough.


I wish the water point always continues to work because our life totally changed for the better and we thank Save the Children.”


Abbas*, Bani Khoheel village leader, tells the story in his own words:

“I am the Sheikh of Bani Khokeel village and also a member of the community committee. In the past when people were bringing the water from the old well, they were constantly suffering from diseases because the well was open and the water was contaminated.


The people were unsatisfied because the water amount was not enough. Some of my village’s people were going to further away wells to bring water – some of them were walking for 5 kilometres to access the well, while others were buying  water trucked from the district center, which used to cost about 18,000 YR (72 USD) for 5,000 litters. The old well was not even safe and unfortunately four girls from my village died (they drowned in the well) when they were collecting water.


The water in the rehabilitated well is pure, clean and accessible because it’s near all the village’s houses. In the past the women were spending more than two hours to bring the water from the well to their houses. Now it takes 15 minutes to bring the water to people’s houses”.


Project information and major issues:

Save the Children is working in Hajja Governorate in northern Yemen though different programs. Reducing child mortality and morbidity from water-borne diseases was the general objective of WASH interventions in Hajjah governorate for IDPs, returnees and host communities. Save the Children, with support from the Dutch Government, has reached 110,417 individuals in Hajjah governorate through the following activities:

  • Rehabilitation of water and sanitation facilities in 13 children schools and 14 health centers

  • Construction of 19 water distribution points

  • Distribution of 2325 WASH NFIs packages for 2325 households (this package contains water ceramic filter, family hygiene kits and water storage tanks)

  • Conduct hygiene promotion activities in targeted districts

  • Provision of spare parts (fast moving) and basic maintenance tools to the water committees

  • Establishment and training of Water Committees for regular operation and maintenance and the overall management of the water supply schemes

  • Distribution of plumbing toolkit to each health facility rehabilitated


Other programme activities by Save the Children in Hajjah governorate include child protection through Child Friendly Spaces and Mobile Units Teams to support the children affected by the conflict where they can access structured learning, play and receive psychological support that enhance their resilience and the opportunity to get back to a sense of normalcy. Children in need of specialised support can access appropriate services, through the Save the Children referral mechanism and individual support.


Save the Children also provides health and nutrition support to people living in remote areas where even the most basic health care services are not available because they have been affected by the ongoing conflict. Medical Mobile Teams reach different areas to provide communities with treatment and required medicine. We refer cases that need specialised support to hospitals.