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Akhdam, Arabized Blacks in Yemen

Akhdam, Arabized Blacks

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Akhdam, Arabized Blacks in Yemen map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,457,000 Arabic, Taizzi-Adeni Spoken Islam 0.00 % 0.00 % Not available   

Akhdam, Arabized Blacks in Yemen

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Introduction / History
The Akhdam are a marginalized group in Yemen. In fact, though their name means "servant", they prefer to call themselves "Al-Muhamasheen" -- "the marginalized ones." They live on the bottom rung of a supposedly abolished caste ladder. The 1962 revolution allegedly did away with that societal hierarchy.

It is believed the Akhdam are descendants of Ethiopian soldiers who moved into the area to conquer. Unsuccessful, they were expelled at the start of the Islamic era in the region. Those who stayed behind when the army left became slaves, hence their name. This version of their history has been denied by Hamud al-Awdi, a professor of sociology at Sana University. He concedes that they are probably descendants of people from an African country, but he will add little more.

The people are shorter and darker than typical Yemenis. A study found they were more apt to have sickle-cell anemia, a characteristic attributed also to the Veddoids of South Asia.

Where are they located?
Akhdam mostly live in slums in the big cities, primarily in Sana. Sana's Sawan area does have government housing available for the Akhdam. Other cities include Abyan, Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla, Lahij and Ta'izz. The US State Department's human rights report on Yemen for 2011 lists their population there at 440,000-1.1 million.

What are their lives like?
They live in fierce poverty, discriminated against and helped by only a handful. Many of the men work as street sweepers when work can be found. The women and children collect cans and bottles for income and beg. Almost none of the children attend school.

There are constant reports of mistreatment of the workers by their supervisor. Such treatment almost never brings punishment, even if Akhdam are killed as a result. Recently the group has had a modicum of success in making their voice heard in the political arena. There has been a small increase in their daily wage and they have been able to stage protests against their unfair treatment and low pay. Still, the workers have no vacation at all.

A New York Times article indicates that their life of poverty may be ongoing: "Part of the problem, many members of the community say, is that most of the Akhdam have internalized their low status and do not try to better themselves, find real jobs or seek an education. Much of their meager income goes to buying qat, the plant whose leaves many Yemenis chew for its mildly narcotic effects." (NY Times)

What are their needs?
They desperately need better living conditions, clean water and sanitation. Education and lack of employment opportunities are a problem.

Prayer Points
* Pray that the effects of the Arab Spring of 2011 may serve to lift the group out of poverty.
* Pray for protection of workers from mistreatment from their supervisors.
* Pray that the increasing information in the media about this group will spur action to enable the community to improve their state.
* Pray there will be an opening for Christian aid workers to share the gospel with them.
* Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.


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Country: Yemen
Continent: Asia
Region: Middle East and North Africa
Persecution Rank:9 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Widespread.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
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Country Map:Political map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Akhdam, Arabized Blacks
People Name General: Arabized Blacks
Alternate People Names:
Black, Arabized
ROP3 Code: 117014
Joshua Project People ID: 10380
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 1,457,000
Population all Countries: 1,886,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
People Cluster: Arab, Arabian
People Name General: Arabized Blacks
Ethnic Code: NAB61
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Arabic, Taizzi-Adeni Spoken (1,457,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): acq    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam100.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Yes
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsArabic Bibles Online
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Arabic, Taizzi-Adeni ...
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Akhdam, Arabized Blacks in Yemen

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Arab, Arabian     Middle East and North Africa    
      Arabized Blacks Yemen    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Akhdam, Arabized Blacks in Yemen          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Arabic, Taizzi-Adeni Spoken  
    All Religions                              

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