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>> Its books have been looted and walls blown out but this school in southern Yemen is hopeful for a brighter future. The head of the AWWA School in Taiz says there's been stability in recent months. Teachers are being paid again and people are returning to their former homes due to a de-escalation of fighting amid UN led peace efforts.
Government held Taiz has been at the center of an almost a four year war. Its pitted the Iranian aligned Houthi movement against a Saudi led coalition trying to restore the internationally recognized Yemeni government. The war and ensuing economic collapse has left almost 16 million people, 53% of the population, facing severe hunger and struggling to access basic goods and services.
But the heads of this school are determined to fight against that.>>
> Thanks to our will and the teachers' capabilities, we try to bring hope back to this school and bring back the students.>> AWWA's teachers have previously been volunteering without pay. Yemen Central Bank split into two rival head offices has struggled to pay public sector wages as foreign exchange reserves dwindle.
Displacement, poverty, and false conscription have disrupted children's education. Some of the students and many teachers have been forced to go to the war's frontlines, but AWWA is setting an example. While sections of the school are unusable and all books, equipment, and chairs have been stolen, there's now hope that more pupils will join the 700 already there.