This activity gingerbread houses for peace in Yemen is supporting Framfylkingen organisation with their campaign to raise awareness of the atrocities happening in Yemen. It was originally part of a campaign at the end of 2020, but you can still get involved, learn about what is happening in Yemen and make some delicious gingerbread houses.
What is the current situation in Yemen?
Yemen is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, with more than 24 million people – some 80% of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than 12 million children. Since the conflict escalated in March 2015, the country has become a living hell for the country’s children. Now COVID-19 are spreading rapidly and Yemen is facing an emergency within an emergency. Before COVID-19, around 2 million children were out of school. Because of the pandemic, all schools are closed, and now 7.8 million children are unable to access education.
Read more about the situation in Yemen.
The campaign objective:
The campaign is being facilitated by Framfylkingen. The group are part of IFM-SEI and organises recreational activities across Norway for children and families. Its fundamental values are of freedom, equality, and solidarity. They also consider it important to teach children to love and take care of nature. Framfylkingen is a political organisation because they speak up for and fight for the influence and rights of children. who want to put focus on the forgotten humanitarian crisis in Yemen caused by the war. We want people to start to be concerned about Yemen. We want to put pressure on politicians to be driving forces for peace in Yemen.
Why gingerbread houses?
Many children In Yemen live in fear of the ongoing war every day. Their homes and schools are being bombed. The buildings in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, look just like gingerbread houses. They bring us back to the fairytales. By using our tradition for baking gingerbread houses to create houses like the ones in Old Sanaa, we will build a bridge between the two cultures. We believe it will have a positively surprising effect for the participants to experience this very tangible blending of culture and politics.
Making your gingerbread house
Here are some real houses from Old Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. If you google ‘Houses in Old Sanaa’ you will find more. Be inspired and make patterns for your ginger bread houses.
First – Use card or a side of a cereal packet to make the stencils for the walls of your houses. Try to cut straight edges as this will make the assembling of the walls easier.
Place some baking paper on a flat tea-towel and roll out the dough to fill the sheet of baking paper, covering as much of it as possible. The towel will prevent the paper from moving.
Next, roll your dough to be around 2-3 mm thick.
Place your stencils on the dough and cut out the walls with a pointed, sharp knife (younger participants may need a bit of help with this). Avoid pulling the edges and try to keep the sides as straight as possible.
Cut out as many walls as the dough allows. Remember to leave some space between the shapes as they will grow a little bit when they are baked in the oven.
Bake in the oven for as long as your recipe (or video above) tells you to. Once cooked cool the walls on a wire rack.
Use home-made or shop bought royal icing to decorate the walls. You may want to practice on a piece of paper before you start on a wall.
Use icing or baking glue (using a melted sugar solution would make the houses stronger, but it is very hot and may cause burns so please only use this method with full adult supervision). Place glue or icing along the edges (be generous) and press the walls together. To help it set best don’t move the house for a while and allow it to dry.
Take it further
Take photos and videos of your gingerbread houses, share them on the social media, and wish peace for Yemen. Use the hashtag: #1000pepperkakehusforJemen. You could also join Framfylkingen in writing letters with demands to the government and the parliament.
If you found this activity a good way to learn about peace around the world you could try making a Milk Bottle Dove to symbolise peace around your home, school or local area.