Volunteers in Sana’a ready to clean streets
Ashraf Al-Muraqab (writer), Ashraf Al Muraqab (photographer)
“Yemen starts from here,” is a youth-driven initiative in Sana’a, which embodies the idea that change starts with individuals, homes, streets and neighborhoods, all cooperating to turn negative ideas into positive ones that serve the society.
Currently, the group is preparing to launch a national cleaning campaign in Sana’a called “Sharik”, scheduled for Dec. 12. Under the slogan, “My contribution builds Yemen,” the event will target a 22 square km. area, cleaning streets, facilities and administrative departments across Sana’a. It will be held in cooperation with the secretary of the capital and aims to link students, military men, partisan leaders, members of parliament, the Shura Council and public and private sector workers. The campaign is meant to unite participants under a common goal.
Abdulqader Helal, the secretariat of the capital and the head of the Supreme Preparatory Committee for the campaign, told Yemen Times, “Cleanness and waste removal remain a big problem in the capital due to misconduct and a lack of public awareness.”
Doctor Amaal Ahmed Al-Awadhi, the secretary-general of the group, said that Sharik aims to revive the values of Yemenis and challenge the distortions of Yemen in the international media.
“Through this campaign, we aim to change this stereotype of Yemenis and also prove to the world that Yemen is a civilized and peaceful country,” she said.
Al-Awadhi raved that the campaign will allow Yemen to enter the race to break a Guinness World Record with over 200,000 volunteers, cleaning a designated amount of space in a short amount of time. She added that the volunteers will also pledge to keep the capital clean by signing a large Yemeni flag. The project aims to reflect the aspirations of Yemeni youth for the future.
The campaign will be accompanied by several awareness programs for public and private institutions, with the participation and support of prominent businessmen, authors, academics , youth and imams. By holding preparatory meetings with the directors of districts, educational areas and various concerned departments in government the event will introduce the goals and values of the campaign to a broad and influential audience.
To maximize impact, the campaign will be preceded by awareness activities about public cleanness in all public and private schools of Sana’a, as well as meeting with imams to specify their role in the campaign.
Doctor Arwa Haider, projects coordinator for the group said, “We aim to promote a culture of cleanliness amongst Yemenis and make it a goal for all residents in Sana’a to keep the capital clean.”
Haider is ambitious that the campaign will reach a regional level through the efforts, dedication and cooperation of social stakeholders and civil society organizations.
She added that the campaign’s program will accommodate more than 200,000 male and female volunteers in Sana’a. They will provide them with 200,000 hats, flannels and gloves decorated with the slogan of the campaign as well as 300,000 brooms and spades to collect waste across Sana’a and its ten districts.
During a meeting with imams and the mass media, Helal expressed his willingness to support the campaign for cleanness.
Helal also revealed that the secretary of the capital is exploring the idea of health insurances for street cleaners to show his appreciation for the great services they provide for society. He pointed out that they are planning to change the name of street cleaners to cleaning engineers to boost their moral.
Jamal Juhaish, a director of the cleaning project, told the Yemen Times that Sana’a produces between 1000 and 1200 tons of waste each day.