Local teenager’s fight against the war in Yemen: Jamal Elaheebocus, a student at Wilson’s School, has been campaigning for the last six months to raise awareness for the war in Yemen and highlight the immense human suffering that it has caused and continues to cause. Yemen has been trapped in Civil war since March 2015, with an estimated 67,650 civilians and combatants killed since January 2016. Furthermore, UNICEF estimates that 13 million are at risk of starvation due to the famine caused by the war, along with 20 million lacking access to adequate healthcare and 18 million with insufficient access to clean water. However, despite experiencing what many are calling “the world’s worst man-made humanitarian disaster”, there has been a shocking lack of mainstream coverage of the issue.

Disillusioned by this lack of exposure, Jamal decided to take things into his own hands. He created the Instagram page @lcsyemen (last chance to save Yemen) to spread awareness of an issue that many had never even heard of and, at time of writing, has 698 followers. Regularly posting updates on this ongoing catastrophe, he encourages his followers to give whatever they can to charities such as Islamic Relief, who have provided food to more than 2.5 million people as well as equipping 21 hospitals across the country with doctors and nurses to the estimated three million suffering from acute malnourishment.

Jamal describes his biggest achievement as “raising £600 from my half marathon for Islamic Relief”, completing the race in 2 hours 48 minutes at the Woldingham half marathon on the 25th of August. Additionally, he also strives to raise awareness about other conflicts currently occurring across the planet – from Syria to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an estimated 61 million live in extreme poverty following former President Mobutu stealing $12 billion in aid from the country, to the Central African Republic where 46 civilians were massacred by fighters from the 3R group in March 2019.

Some may question the possible impact of one teenager fighting for the lives of millions in an international conflict on the other side of the world, but if more people in the world were like Jamal, constantly campaigning for the human rights of everyone, the world would undeniably be a more peaceful, happy place. If he has managed to startle just one person out of their blissful ignorance towards the suffering Yemenites, then he will have made an immeasurable difference. Everyone has the power to make a change for the better, and raising awareness is the key to bringing about real, meaningful change.

Toby Saiban, Wilson's School