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A fathers fight for his family's future

A.A.Q. is wanted by the Houthi militia group. For his safety, I have removed identifying details from his story.


I met A.A.Q. at a mutual friend’s house just before the call to prayer. After praying, he explained the meaning and routine of the prayers. Despite limited English, we managed to communicate without fully relying on Google Translate.


A.A.Q. moved to Yemen at a young age and was raised there. He married and had three children. Life was normal and happy until 2006, when disease struck his family, claiming his only daughter. Before the war began, his wife contracted HIV and passed away in 2013. A.A.Q. himself began experiencing heart problems.


Despite his fears, A.A.Q. volunteered as a “social activist,” speaking out against government injustices. This activism made him a target for the Houthis.


As the Houthis pillaged cities, social tensions rose. “Racism was imposed on people due to sectarian fanaticism,” A.A.Q. said. Bombing made it unsafe to leave home, but necessities forced A.A.Q. to risk his life. “You needed to be extremely careful,” he explained.


His children stopped attending school, prompting A.A.Q. to make the difficult decision to leave Yemen. “It was a very difficult moment when my family parted Sana’a,” he said. In 2015, he remarried, but his wife stayed in Yemen to care for her sick mother.


After a three-week wait, A.A.Q. was accepted as a refugee through the UN. However, life remained challenging. The camps were primarily for Syrians, and finding housing was nearly impossible without UN aid. Restricted from working, A.A.Q. relied on a monthly UN stipend, which recently ended. His youngest son’s severe HIV added to the financial strain, with hospital visits, medications, and operations.


Financial support came from friends and the Muslim community. Unable to work formally, A.A.Q. fixes electrical problems in people’s homes. His youngest son is not able to attend public school in Jordan due to his illness, so A.A.Q. taught him at home.


During our conversation, A.A.Q. passionately detailed the difficulties he and his sons face in their new home. Through organizations like the IOM and Save The Children, he was able to find some support. In 2023, the Jordan Ministry of Health approved intensive treatments over four months. A.A.Q. showed me a thick folder of paperwork documenting medical records, UNHCR documents, and lab tests.


Living on hope, A.A.Q. dreams of resettling in another country with UN support, knowing he cannot return to Yemen. He longs for his wife to join him and their children in Jordan.


For an hour, A.A.Q. explained his son’s severe medical problems and his struggle to pay bills without legal work. His bravery and love for his children surpass any self-centered desires. Everything he does is for his children’s future and the hope of reuniting his family.


A.A.Q.’s story is unlike any others I’ve heard thus far. For nearly two decades, his family has faced life-threatening challenges. He has been persecuted for speaking out on humanity’s value in a country that kills its own people. Resettlement has not alleviated their hardships but made them more difficult. A.A.Q. is one of many refugees in need of financial independence and the right to work.

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