By: Maram Alabassi
“Yemen Starts from Here” is a cleaning campaign which was launched in early January of 2012. A group of doctors and academics, who don’t belong to any political group, started the event with nothing more than a vision in their minds. Simply put, the vision amounted to “a clean and healthy community.” The campaign was funded by the founders themselves.
The initiative mainly targets youth. The founders aim to spread health awareness, resolve negative attitudes towards the environment and motivate youth to cooperate in working towards clean communities. These aims are intended to be carried out by way of cleaning campaigns throughout Sana’a, finding fundamental solutions to issues concerned with cleanliness, awareness for students in environmental health, personal hygiene and the launching charitable clinics for the poor.
Under the umbrella of the campaign, there are many projects; one of them is “Cleanliness is Our Responsibility.” This project aims for awareness, and painted pavements and walls. Seven events have been carried out – the last cleaning campaign was undertaken in Al-Sonainah on January 17th and 18th, 2013.
Another interesting project is “Cleanliness is My Attitude.” This event is intended for schoolchildren and their parents. The awareness is going to be carried out through morning assemblies, workshops on learning how to recycle garbage into useful things and most importantly the fingerprint promise. In this fingerprint promise, student would stamp one of their fingers on a piece of cloth and say “I will not throw garbage in the street; I am Muslim; and I am clean.”
This is carried out over three days’ time; the first day is devoted to voting for scouts to supervise the cleaning process. On the second day, the morning assembly is going to be about cleanliness. On the third day, students worked alongside volunteers to clean their school and plant seedlings.
Some garbage and seedlings are given to school management to help them devise practical solutions on how to replace garbage-strewn sites with areas where trees can be grown.
Many other projects are held such as “Our Clean Mosque,” which was launched the previous Ramadan. This event urges mosque attendees to keep their places of worship clean.
Also, constructive competitions represent one of the campaign’s important aspects; in the competitions, young people compete to clean, raise awareness aware and create solutions for dealing with accumulated garbage in their neighborhoods.
“10 neighborhoods have participated in this event and Abdulqader Hilal, the Capital Undersecretary, attended the event, which led to the idea to make December 12th a national cleaning day,” said Yousef Ahmad, the campaign’s media official. On December 12th, “I will Participate” was among the activities organized as part of this campaign; to this day, more than 500,000 have participated.
“There is always hope and we hope that we will get through all of the difficulties and challenges, “said Yousef.