Determined for Hope: Manal al Amal


“What if this war claims our lives too?”

Manal Qaed Alwesabi, a Yemeni journalist, has witnessed the four years of war in Yemen cut the lives of too many children short.  As a mother, she now sees her 11 year old son in all the faces of Yemen’s youngest generation that have already known too much hunger and suffering, with as many as 85,000 children estimated to have died from starvation. “The war changed my life,” says Amal Al Yarisi, another journalist, “I covered stories I never imagined I would witness in my country.”

Determined for Hope is filmed by Manal and Amal in Aslam, Hodeidah and Sanaa as they document the unfolding stories of Yemeni children and mothers at the heart of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Over the course of a month, we follow the children undergoing treatment for malnutrition, getting a closer look into the emotional toll it takes on the family.

The stories of Yemenis suffering from the war are intercut with the narration of Manal and Amal. Wandering through their memories, they recount happy moments of their pre-war Yemen lives, and add important context to the image of what world knows now only as a country in the Middle East torn by war.  Despite the things Manal and Amal have witnessed, they remain true to the meanings of their names: Manal (in Arabic: ‘determined’) al Amal (in Arabic: ‘hope’), as both are determined for hope and refuse to give up on Yemen’s future.