Unemployed University Graduate Finds Hope in Cultural Heritage

Wagdy Mahbob, a thirty-year-old Yemeni from Aden, is one of the young people who have tasted the bitterness of the war in Yemen. 

"Because of the current conflict, our situation has worsened," said Mahbob. "In the present state, we work multiple jobs."

Graduating with a Bachelor's degree in accounting, Mahbob could not find a job to fulfill his family's needs. His previous salary from working as a contractor in the Engineering faculty was only 18.5 USD. 

"Personally, this is not enough," he said. "As a young man in the current situation, it is extremely difficult."

Mahbob is among many young Yemenis finding it challenging to generate an income due to the collapsing economy and high unemployment rates in Yemen. According to The World Bank, unemployment among youth in Yemen amounted to 24.8 percent in 2019. Mahbob's financial situation only improved when he joined rehabilitation works in Aden, Tawila Tanks, as a part of UNESCO-EU funded project, "Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen."

My financial situation has improved, or rather, it became much better.
Wagdy Mahbob - Young worker

The project provides young Yemenis daily income of 8 to 12 USD per day to rehabilitate historical sites in Aden, Sana'a, Shibam, and Zabid. The project promotes social cohesion by combining social protection and urban rehabilitation to protect Yemen's rich heritage and provide livelihood opportunities for the youth. As of August 2021, the project has employed 2,993 Yemeni workers and rehabilitated 161 buildings across the four cities. 

"I thank the organization for motivating young people and giving them the chance to work," said Mahbob. "We thank everyone who supported us."