Saudi official’s gesture brings smile on Yemeni child’s face

The winning bid was $10,000.
  • Handmade ‘goggles’ made by refugee boy bought for $10,000 by MD of Kingdom’s project for landmine clearance in Yemen

MAKKAH: The story of a child in a refugee camp in Yemen who made a pair of spectacles from a metal coat hanger so that he could sell them to buy Eid clothes for his family caught the imagination not only of the Yemeni media but also international humanitarian groups.

When Yemeni journalist Abdullah Al-Jaradi heard about the youngster’s creativity, he took up the cause and arranged an online auction to raise as much money as possible. His efforts were widely embraced on social media by international charities.

The winning bid was placed by Ousama Al-Gosaibi, the managing director of the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance in Yemen (Masam).

“The proceeds from the spectacles, which amounts to 2.5 million Yemeni riyals ($10,000), will be allocated to buy clothes not only for the child that made the glasses, but for all the children in the refugee camp,” said Al-Gosaibi. “This comes as part of the Saudi humanitarian efforts in Yemen. “The whole idea began with a competition launched by a journalist on social media. He displayed the glasses and they went on sale for 2 million Yemeni riyals. This initiative aimed to promote the humanitarian efforts and support, meet the needs and lift the spirits of the Yemeni people as Eid approaches, particularly the children.”

A team at Masam, a project launched by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in June 2018, researched the auction to ensure it was genuine and legal before making the winning bid, he explained.

Journalist Al-Jaradi suggested that representatives from MASAM should document the distribution of aid and clothing to the children and make sure the funds are correctly spent. Work on this is now underway.

Masam is a charitable project that forms part of the humanitarian efforts being made by the Kingdom to aid the Yemeni people and help them rebuild their lives free from the Houthis’ terrorism and oppression.

“The project comes within the framework of the humanitarian projects implemented by Saudi Arabia along with the relief projects in Yemen,” Al-Gosaibi said. He added that the aid provided through the auction is an extension of MASAM’s projects in Yemen, as part of the Kingdom’s role in providing assistance to the country in the form of humanitarian aid, food and relief services.

The situation in Yemen remains very difficult, according to Al-Gosaibi. After working there for almost two and a half years, he said he can see the misery in the eyes of refugees as a result of the actions of the Houthis, including the placing of landmines.

Masam has helped tens of thousands of refugees return to their villages on Yemen’s western coast after clearing the region of mines. Others, however, are still not able to return home.

“The number of refugees in Marib, which was the safest region in Yemen, reached 2 million people,” said Al-Gosaibi. “We helped clear landmines from some of its lands, on which the refugee camps were built. We also cleared villages, orchards and agricultural lands. This allowed tens of thousands of people to return to their homes.”

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