New Bank Accounts for Marginalized Children in Taiz

National Yemen

A journalist making an interview with Marginalized family

By Saddam Abu Asim

Khuzaamah, a ten-year-old marginalized child, tries hardly to save a good amount of money each month in order to deposit it at the nearest branch of Alamal Bank in Taiz. She competes with her two friends to collect money through useful activities with the help of their marginalized families, or Akhdams, as it’s called in the local dialect.

Khuzaamah, studies in the third level of primary school, she doesn’t know about the importance of saving money until she participated in a project implemented and supported by UNICEF in cooperation with Alamal Bank and the Social Welfare Fund in Taiz. The projected was designed to train marginalized families on basic of financial concepts.

 Najla Kamel, executive staff at Alamal Bank said, in the first phase of the program, about 32 children and 35 mothers from marginalized families were trained on financial concepts and the importance of savings and loans.

“By the end of the training, we had opened current accounts and savings accounts for the participants and put about 750 YR in each account for the trained marginalized children,” she said.

The project, which is named “Financial Inclusion,” aims to gather marginalized children’s’ money for school fees and nutrition and health services.

Bilal Galies, another staff of Alamal Bank, said the bank is keen to activate financial activities for youth and children from all segments of society, the bank is targeting 5,800 marginalized families in Yemen.

“When UNICEF suggested the project for the bank, we liked it because it’s quite appropriate to the bank’s goals. The project is targeting financial inclusion for 12,000 children and 9,200 mothers from the marginalized class and costs 645 million YR,” he continued.

Khuzaamah’s mother confirmed that the money helped her daughter to overcome difficult economic conditions to continue her education.

Jamila Salem, a mother, lives with her eight children and husband who is suffering from liver hypertrophy in a small two-room apartment in Taiz. She is considered herself a lucky person compared to other marginalized families who live in slums.

In the same region, there are many women who have made a good  benefit from the loans provided by the Bank.

Najat Hamid, a participant in the training course, said that she benefited a lot from the course and started teaching her eight children and neighbors the importance of saving and preparing a financial budget for the family as well as how to invest it in useful projects.

Hamid’s neighbor Wafa was happy with her small home, which she could build with a loan from the bank of 50,000 riyals.

According to the reports by UNICEF, most marginalized children are suffering from bad nutrition due to poverty and the pollution of water and poor sanitation services.

Despite the attempts to mix marginalized people with society, they still find discriminated against in society, where people believe that marginalized people have caused a bad situation for themselves through the lack of interest in their appearance, education, and life in general.

This situation was one of the motives to implement the Financial Inclusion project to help marginalized group plan for their daily lives.

Choosing Taiz province to implement the project was a result of the high rate of marginalized people living there.

According to the branch manager of UNICEF in Taiz, Dr. Khalid Al-Shaibani, the proportion of the marginalized in Taiz reaches 10% of the rural and urban populations.

“In coordination with the Social Welfare Fund and Alamal Bank, we have developed three steps. The first is to survey marginalized communities, then implement the project of social protection, and finally add eligible cases that are on the waiting list or didn’t benefit from the Social Welfare Fund,” explained Al-Shaibani.

Director of Social Welfare Fund, Qasim Shahara, said that in the survey, which targets nine directorates, they used modern technology which has reduced the errors and made the results more accurate and credible, pointing out that the marginalized people who have been counted in directorates are 55,000.

Shahara confirmed that this marginalized category is ready for any intervention to be integrated into society and they will continue implementing their project to make them an important part of society.