Women in Classrooms
Not far away from home, she took her kids and fled the city, carrying a couple of light mattresses. She left her memories behind as well as her one acre land and a two room house. Bullets were scattered as volcano lava from everywhere and nowhere. She buried all of that behind her back as her dead husband and never looked back, heading to Aden seeking refuge. Arriving in Aden, she had no place, but a classroom to sleep in, sit and spend her entire day there with her kids.
It is a story of many women from Abyan as they became officially internally displaced people within less than a couple of days. I do not know if it is fair to say that fortunately or unfortunately schools are closed for summer holidays, but open armed to families from Abyan not for summer camp, but for fear flee. No one knows if this scenario is temporary or how long it will take or even if post traumatic effects will accompany the lives of Abyan habitants in the refuge and when they go home.
We always hinder speaking about women suffering as if priority has not been given yet to their issues. Thus, most women keep being silent-sufferers due to global ignorance and feel that it is destiny to be suffering. However, we should not hamper the efforts to raise their issues, especially in desperate situations as now. Yemeni women, especially displaced ones are in a triangulated intersectionality of poverty, illiteracy and weakness besides being a widow. As a result, they just go with the wave wherever it takes them with no consciousness.
However in terms of in kind assistance, women are given the first priority to be assisted, empowering assistances are absented from being initiated for vulnerable women. It is always down, sympathetic look to women that is virtually default in the community. On the other hand, when they are empowered, they are accused of liberation and being extorted by western glamour. For that being silent in a classroom with kids, given food and assistance and led by men to decide their situation is the ideal image for the sight viewers, claiming that it is religiously legitimated.
We cannot decide for them nor can us with bare hands, change their situation by force. The only thing that we can initiate is to build role models from women like them who wrap up the misery situation and chose to dig a grave for women who follow to women are followed. This can be done through empowering displaced women through training them on crafts such as sewing and embroidery, making pickles, baking pastries, and weaving. On this way, they will be independent, proud of themselves, well integrated in the new temporary situation and will double the chance that other weakened women will follow the lead. As the Chinese wisdom says:
"Give me a fish, I eat for a day. Teach me how to fish, I eat for a life time."
Eventually, when the need is voiced, it is heard , echoed , responded to and finally vanished to become a memorial learned lesson.