Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 July 2019

10-year old Josef just wants to finish school so he can become an engineer

Josef's parents fled Ethiopia to escape persecution and conflict, only to find themselves caught up in Yemen's civil war.

The 10-year-old is one of more than 280,000 refugees in living in the capital, Sanaa, and has suffered many traumas during his time in Yemen.

Since the fighting broke out in Yemen in 2015, Josef's father passed away, his school was shut down, and he himself was nearly killed when a shell landed near him.

Yet Josef is "cheerful, unfailingly polite and looks for all the world like a cherub in a painting by a Renaissance master" said Shabia Mantoo, spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency in Yemen.

He is now at a new school, enrolled through support from an UN-supported programme in the Yemeni capital.

Other than the chance to keep learning, he makes no demands on anyone, said Ms Mantoo.

“When I hear the explosions I get scared but when I’m in the classroom I feel safe," Josef said.

" I just want to finish my schooling so I can become an engineer."

Updated: September 12, 2017 09:57 AM