Feature: Yemeni woman comes forward to help family escape destitution


SANAA, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) — Budour Lutf, a small and feisty 35-year-old Yemeni woman, said she’s got to do something to help her family.

Lutf’s husband works as a motorcyclist, carrying passengers around Sanaa for little money. Back in their small rental flat, there are three children waiting for food and clothes. As the war drags on and on, Lutf has realized that their life would only go from worse to worse if she does not act.

So a couple of years ago, she began to make woman’s accessories and ornaments at home and tried to sell them at a weekly fair.

The fair, sponsored by a Saudi Arabia-based charity group, is held on every Thursday on the famous Al-Tahrir Square in central Sanaa. It aims to help Yemeni families find a supplement income as hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have lost their jobs and many employees who used to be on public payroll now live on daily-wage jobs.

“Since the beginning of the war, our life has been greatly affected. And things are getting worse and worse,” said Lutf. “For our family, even 100 ryals (about 0.4 U.S. dollars) mean a great deal. So we try everything to survive.”

More than 50 families take their homemade products to the fair: candy, cake, traditional clothes, accessories, incenses, perfumes, pottery, and more. Every stall was packed with goods, trying to drum up business.

Particularly, Lutf’s homemade accessories are a sight to behold. They are exquisitely crafted and stylish. Lutf said she constantly improves the shapes and designs of the accessories to woo more customers, adding that she has to run the extra mile because business is becoming worse as the country’s economic crisis deepens.

Despite Lutf’s tenacious efforts, the income from the accessories selling is not high and barely enough for her to buy food for the family. But Lutf is satisfied with what she gets because, just as she said, every penny matters at such a hard time.

“The war has dealt a blow to thousands of people in Yemen. And I’m just one of them. Some people have managed to find a way to support their families, while some others are still struggling painfully,” Lutf said, who believed she was among the lucky ones.

The protracted war in the impoverished Arab country has killed more than 230,000 people and displaced more than 4 million. The incessant bloody conflicts, in addition to the economic blockade, have pushed millions of Yemenis to the brink of starvation.

Lutf said she had given up a long time ago the hope for the war to end. Years of hardship have taught her to be realistic and focus on what’s most pressing, which is to keep alive and escape destitution.

The mother of three believes that they should rely on their own to improve life.

“In my opinion, everyone should, instead of bemoaning his or her fate at home, find a way to cope with the difficult times. Everyone has a talent… and can fend for oneself,” Lutf said. Enditem


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