An interview with Amar Haza’ al AbsiIs one kids magazine sufficient in Yemen? [Archives:2003/685/Culture]

November 13 2003

Mayasa M. Gawad
Children learn in the processes of childhood letters transferred into words when grown up. Educating the child does not stop within the limitations of the house and what he learns from his parents, however, it extends to contain the school, the books he reads, the way he understands his readings and how the family together with the school exert efforts to educate the child and enrich and develop his ability to express his ideas and feelings. The child is a real blank page on which knowledge, customs, morals, and principals can be written.
A creative work depends largely on the efforts exerted to enrich and develop child creativity and his way of thinking in the community. Creativity requires reading, knowledge and a special time for reading and having books and magazines, exercising hobbies, and developing talents. Reading comes to be the first thing of human interests and the main way by which the child explores the environment around and enhances his own ability of creativity.
Child magazine is the ground on which he\she plays with his thoughts , and the way to transfer his creative ability . Child press role lies in developing , directing and scouting talents either to participate publishing his ideas in the magazine or just to read . Child magazines should have a message and an idea useful in the processes of educating the child in a very simple language he or she understands.
But where are they? “al Hudhud,” was the first comic child magazine; “Wadah,” was published by Education Ministry, Aden; “ Nashwan,” by Dar al Hamadani, Aden; “al Hares al Sagir;” and “ al Bar’em.”
All were published for ten issues in the eightieth and then stopped. “al Yemen al Saeed,” “ Thi Yazen,” “ Nadir,” and “al Tofola,” whose editor in chief was Najeeba Hadad were published in the 1990s, all stopped for financial reasons .
“Osama” is Yemen’s only youth magazine published till now since 1991, though irregularly. In 1995 it was adopted by the Islah Social and Charitable Society and since that time it had been come out once a month regularly.
As the only Yemeni youth magazine, we have to shed light on it and leave it to the concerned bodies to support, and raise its state and the similar magazines needing to come into existence and to have their states in the Yemeni childhood library. What are the aims of the magazine , what does it consist of and how does it help the Yemeni children in developing their creative ability and talents? We get the answer from Amar Haza’ al Absi, Osama magazine editor-in-chief.
Q : What does the child need and how does Osama magazine help to develop his\her abilities?
A: The child needs many things for psychological and mental development. He looks for knowledge and asks about any thing around him. He needs to get the religious and moral values, and for this we use the tales and stories composed of the good morals and behaviors in a loveable and high cultural way.
He needs to develop his mental abilities throughout thinking and to satisfy his need for technology and science. In Osama , the child can find the puzzles, adventure stories and discoveries. And what the child really needs is enjoyment, getting everyday capabilities, and traditions of his community. In our magazine, we put puzzles and give awards, for the child needs to do some works and to be awarded. The magazine includes various chapters coinciding with the very interests of the children among which are schools and top students; knowledge; games and entertainment; quiz of the issue; stories and paintings; the pens of the children (their writings); girl-related issues, and others .
Q : What is the role of the magazine in distributing and developing the child awareness and culture?
A: Child magazines have a great effect on the development of the children mentally, emotionally and socially. They are the right equipment of directing them, satisfying and developing their artistic taste. The effects of our magazine are the following:
1. It is a suitable way to enrich the child language and mind and to develop his\her reading, culture and science skills.
2. It helps the child to get new experiences regarding life and community.
3. It helps the child to spend his spare time in doing the useful things.
4. It represents a way of connection between the child and the community for it is the outcome of the community and his people.
Osama magazine comes to reach many of the governorates and the number of the publications reaches 12,000 copies .
Q: What do the child magazines really lack in Yemen ?
A: Child magazines lack writers specialized in child literature, education and psychology so that he can understand the child and his psychology for writing for the children is a difficult art of writings. The financial support is among the needs of the child magazines to continue publishing. Many child magazines were published in the 1980s and 1990s, but unfortunately stopped for financial reasons such as Nashwan, al Tofola (childhood), al Gawhara , etc. The male dominance is the reason behind the absence of the girls magazines. They need the support of the child specialized establishments interested in the literature and education of the child such as the ministry of culture and ministry of media .
However, we are optimistic that the concerned bodies will help in the publication of the child–related books and magazines.

On the way to creativity
In Taiz, there are some 4-5 pages publications prepared by young boys aged 10-14 years old. They receive the writings and photos of their friends, select it carefully and publish them. Their small editors in chief, as they call themselves, and write in the first page in the list of the publication staff, take the information and writings, rearrange and type and design their small publications in the computer. Some interested bodies take the responsibility of printing and distributing them. This makes us trust the talents and creativity of the new generations of children and youths, the promising future awaiting them and the way of thinking they try themselves to raise.
Will we adopt and show interests to some of the child creativity and talents? Will we direct them, and help the child to make his own culture?! Here lies our responsibility.