Pen campaign seeks to bring 1,000 children back to school [Archives:2008/1137/Reportage]

March 13 2008

BY: Saddam Al-Shmourri
For Yemen Times

The origin of the story is a smart Yemeni kid named Adel Al-Shibami. Once a Kuwaiti lady visiting Shibam and Kawkaban asked him what he needed and he told her that he needed a pen.

With some initiative from a small group of Kuwaiti ladies, named Iqbal Al-Hilali, Khawla Al-Ibrahim, and Aziza Badria Hashim, 900 schoolbags and 500 pen sets were sent to Shibam with the aim of brightening the future of a child who spoke so spontaneously and frankly.

This child became the inspiration for the first Pen Campaign, which is implemented by a number of local non-governmental organizations, including the Ibhar Foundation, Al-Itqan Association, the Shawdhab Foundation and the Yemen Mobile Company.

The campaign targets students who have dropped out of schools due to their families' inability to afford school supplies, as well as working students who left school because they were busy making money for their families.

Unlike campaigns that distribute school bags, this campaign had a special vision for how to ingraining the importance of education in the targeted group. Not only does the program provide the prospective students with materials like bags or pens but also gives them knowledge in general through a four-day extracurricular culture program. This extracurricular education also tried to inform the local community about the problems that drop-out students face in Shibam and Kawkaban.

Ali Muqbil, the secretary general of Al-Itqan Association, said the campaign's success was due to its creativity. “Taking care of school activities would encourage students continue their education