Needs help from civil servants, says Mohammed Ahmed SaeedPeace foundation answers call of poor [Archives:2004/711/Community]

February 12 2004

Arrouna and Shara'ab Assalam are two main districts in Yemen that have been in need of essential services for a long time. The civil service has neglected these two districts.
Conditions are unsatisfactory, with the most serious difficulty being poverty.
In addition to this, there are other social problems such as, lack of essential services, unemployment, shortage of health services and educational facilities.
In response, with the aim of promoting the future of those two districts, a charitable society was established and devoted its efforts for the benefit of locals.
Efforts are currently in full swing by the Charitable Social Peace Foundation members.
The foundation was founded by Mohammed Ahmed Saeed who belongs to al-Haql Aifou village, Assalam District.
He possesses a strong determination which enables him to achieve desired goals for the welfare of his citizens.
To learn more, the following interview was held by Yemen Times Bureau Chief Emad al-Saqqaf. Following are edited excerpts.Q: Could you please give us a brief account of the Charitable Social Peace Foundation?
A: The Charitable Social Peace Foundation is an independent developmental and social foundation established in July 2003. It was established with the aim of making the local people there determining their priorities and basic needs. This has enabled us to map out plans, implanting them and searching for other resources to increase the individual of low income.

Q: How did you get the idea to establish the foundation?
A: The idea of establishing the foundation came to mind through experiencing day-to-day bitter reality for the districts of Arouna and Shara'ab Assalam, such as, shortages of essential services.Our concern begua to increase in other aspects including poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and other long-term tribal vengeance.
All those issues attracted our attention and a need was felt for helping the situation. A vital and positive role in this regard has been played to work hand in hand with the locals in order to promote their living standards, and to find other resource-bearing revenues for poverty-stricken families where illiteracy has negatively affected their day-to-day lives.
All these reasons have called us to think deeply how to improve the living standards of the people for a better future away from poverty, illiteracy and diseases. The way then has been prepared for establishing the Charitable Social Peace Foundation.

Q: In your point of view, why are these two districts not developing like other adjacent ones?
A: It can be attributed to the international organizations and civil society organizations in our country. Those organizations are oblivious to the negative conditions. No interest has been paid or shown to them like other areas in Yemen.
In addition to this, a blind eye has been turned by human rights activists, civil society organizations as well as the media, for several reasons such as the spread of tribal vendettas, killings and other problems. It is also rumored among people that locals are no longer in need of the help of other people and above all, they are entirely depending on growing Qat.
All these things are wrong. Locals are simple and in need of the basic essential services for sustaining their living standards. The role of the charitable society organizations in this regard is indispensable for improving the simplest life constituents for a better future.

Q: What services that have been rendered by the foundation to Shara'ab district?
A: The charitable mission has been undertaken earlier. Before the establishment of the foundation, it was entrusted to trustworthy people where we have made contacts with poverty-stricken families. Within a short period of time which do not exceed 6-month age, the foundation could achieve the following:
– Establishing the Al-Khair Mosque in Al-Haql village.
– Establishing the Holy Qura'an Teaching School and its Sciences
– Building roads for 3 villages
– Completing its administrative and teamwork aspects
– The foundation could also train a special team including, researches.
As a result, a fieldwork survey was conducted for determining duties performed by the foundation with the aim of establishing database for knowing all there is to know about the two districts' conditions such as, poverty-stricken families, orphans, widows, physically handicapped people, prisoners and the lost ones.
– Cash financial assistance was distributed during the Holy Month of Ramadan in order to reach 5500 families.
– The foundation has also adopted the Fast Break Project at the level of individuals and families thorough distributing complete meals for each family during the Holy of Ramadan.
– Strenuous efforts have been currently underway by the charitable peace members to distribute the Eid clothes for the parentless children.

Q: What are the strategies that have been adopted by the Peace Foundation?
A: Perhaps the Charitable Social Peace Foundation has adopted a unique strategy if compared to other charitable foundations.
This manifests itself through the following:
1- The foundation does its best in order to enable its local community members to actively participate in improving their conditions as well as looking for other alternative but sustainable resource-bearing revenues.
2- Countryside surveys are also conducted in the participation of villagers for determining the basic needs for the local community.
3- Multifarious activities are adopted by the Peace Foundation such as training the poor family beneficiaries. This includes, training and making them acquire handicraft industries for promoting their living standards, such as, sewing, handicrafts, embroidery, weaving, establishing micro-shops, eradicating illiteracy, disseminating hygienic culture, household economy, caring for the topmost sons who belong to the beneficiaries, granting cash and in kind rewards in specific occasions such as religious festivities and during the Holy Month of Ramadan as well as the beginning of the new school academic year.

Q: Do you think that the Peace Foundation will be able achieve its goals through its self-centered support?
A: As a matter of fact, the Peace Foundation's goals are numerous and its ambitions are limitless.
Tasks that have been entrusted with the foundation are too big and in need of huge material as well as financial support. This also entails, the help of other international organizations, civil society foundations, businessmen and philanthropists to support the foundation in its duties.
We hope that the media could play an important role for informing the public of the districts' needs.

Q: Any last comment?
A: At the end, I'd like to thank God of what has been established so far for the benefit of these two districts. I reiterate that the two districts are still in need of other essential services to be rendered in health, drinking water, poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy, particularly among women, which has spread among families.
Those problems are not restricted to Arrouna and Shara'ab Assalam, but these two areas need attention.
Thus, I call the civil society organizations and international organizations as well as governmental bodies to cooperate with the Charitable Social Peace Foundation.
We need them to work, so the foundation can be their reference for any data or facts that have been gathered by the foundation through its field work surveys and visits.