A TRUE story Some are Born to Sweet Delight /  Some are Born to Endless Nights [Archives:2000/44/Culture]

October 30 2000

Hassan Saeed
Yemen Times

Painful facts
Children sleep in the streets and sons of officials cruise in the newest cars
When corruption prevails in one of the nations, undoubtedly social differences will appear due to the deterioration in the economic conditions.
At about two oclock after midnight on Thursday 28.9.2000 I went out of Al-Motawakel Hospital where my brother was receiving treatment and suddenly I saw a group of policemen near Sanaa Commercial Center. I also heard the loud ambulance siren. I went to see what happened. To my surpriseI found two cars one of which was a Salon Model 98 with a government plate number and the other wasa Jeep model 98 with a government plate number almost damaged. They were racing and crashed with each other. I asked, Whose cars are these ?Then a 14-year-old boy came out of the Salon and a 16-year-old boy came out of the Jeep. Both boys were slightly injured and there was also a girl with them. They were sons of two of the big officials in the government. The policemen arrested them but the two boys begged them to let the girl go and the policemen did.
A Sad Story in Hadda Street 
On Tuesday 3 rd October 2000 I went out tobid farewell to my brother who was traveling. It was about half past six in the morning and the streets were empty. It was cold. On my way back home I drove near Hadda Cinema Complex and I saw some children sleeping covered with a dusty blanket in the street. I picked up my camera, got off the car and took a photograph of them. I had some doubts about them. Maybe they are beggars and they came in the early morning to make people sympathetic to help them. To clear these doubts, I uncovered them to see whether they were sleeping or were pretending to be. There they were, fast asleep. They seemed as they were dead because their bodies seemed frozen. I awoke one of them and asked him many questions about who they were, where they came from, and why they sleep in the street. He said that they were all from one village in Raimah and that they came to Sanaa looking for jobs. They did not find any at first but then they worked cleaning cars. The average income of every one of them is 150 rials a day. He said that they sleep in the street because the inns are expensive. They charge us 100 rials and some of those who sleep there are very bad. One of the sleeping children got up and when he saw me he got shy and went away but suddenly came back to say I lost my 20 rials, my breakfast money. He started searching between the pieces of carton they used as a mattress. He found the money and went away. I continued my conversation with the boy and asked him if the patrols allow them to sleep in the street. He said that the patrol men are so kind. Whereas the street sweepers drive us away when they start cleaning, we wait until they finish and leaveand then we sleep. Some patrol men sometimes awakeus to drive us away but when we ask them if they have abetter place where we can spend the night in, they let us alone and leave.
Those people in charge should know that children and men sleep in the streets and on the pavements. They should feel that these men and children are miserable while their sons toy with the most modern cars in the streets.
They should know that somechildren sleep in the streets while their large houses and villas have empty rooms that are fullof spider webs because of not being used for a long time.
The Talk of Numbers
The report of the Ministry of Interior states that there are seven thousand child beggars in the governorate. It states that the main reasons for this problem are poverty, violence and lack of education. However, the report of the Human Development in the Ministry of Planning and Census states that 36.5% of begging children did not join the basic education and that the number of children between ages 16 and 18 has decreased. The report also states that the number of children who are beggars now was a million including two hundred male and female children. Statistics say that in 1997 the number of begging children reached a million and eight hundred thousand children. The following table shows the figure of the working and begging children.
  Age Labor force (incl. begging) unemployed working avg. unemployed 10-14 184,034 47,621 25.88% 15-19 28,6576 77,615 20.58% Thesource is Dr. Naser Ali Associate Professor in the Faculty of Economy and Administration in Aden University included in his research on Poverty and the Begging Children. He says that this phenomenon was triggeredafter the Gulf War for due tothe number of children who came back to Yemen that caused deterioration in the living and economic standards.
Another report says that 30% of begging children and women live in families that contain many wives, and 60% live with their stepmothers. The report further said that the government does not offer help or support to the 87% of those who are meant to form a range of survey, andthe charitable societies do not help 77% of them. Seventy-five percent of the begging children and women expressed their wish to give up beggary if the State ensures them alternatives and provides them with houses and jobs. The same report says that the children and girls after adolescenceare forced by their parents to work or go begging because of the difficult economic conditions.