On Yemen: In Memory of Sultan Iqbal Faqeer

June 24, 2015

Dear AMIDEAST Friend,

In Yemen, it is hard to overestimate the importance of education in the best of circumstances.  Today, due to the current conflict, nearly two million Yemeni children are deprived of their right to attend school, and thousands of youth are barred from pursuing their university studies and vocational training. Around the country, learning opportunities are frozen due to bombing, heavy street fighting, lack of fuel for transportation, internal displacement, and damage to educational infrastructure. According to a recent UN report on the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Yemen, 86 schools around the county have been damaged, 186 are occupied by internally displaced persons, 60 have been occupied by parties to the conflict, and 3,600 are closed due to insecurity.

With the prolongation of fighting, it was just a matter of time for AMIDEAST that tragedy would strike close to home. On June 16, we were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Sultan Iqbal Faqeer of Dengue fever, a disease that has become far too common in the deteriorating living conditions in Aden. Sultan was one of the first Yemenis to graduate from the English Access Microscholarship Program, a two-year U.S. Department of State-sponsored program that has made an enormous difference for underserved youth like Sultan, enriching their education in ways that their families could never afford. With its emphasis on English language training, community service, and other activities, the Access Program opened doors to new opportunities. Sultan earned a coveted Nexen scholarship to pursue his college studies in Canada. After recently completing his degree, he decided to return home to Aden, where he hoped to make a difference.

Sadly, Sultan is one of far too many casualties in the war in Yemen. In the spirit of the Holy Month of Ramadan, we should all take time to reflect on the unnecessary hardship that the hostilities are inflicting on the Yemeni people and on the dire consequences of continued conflict on young and old alike.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Theodore H. Kattouf

President & CEO