English now, Arabic laterYemeni youth newsletter is a hit [Archives:2005/809/Community]

January 20 2005

By Peter Willems
Yemen Times Staff

During his visit to his native country, Alaa Qasem, who is currently a college student in Canada, took advantage of his time in Yemen to promote the online newsletter Shabab Yemeni, or Yemeni Youth.

Shabab Yemeni, which can be found on the website of Yemeni Students Association Abroad (www.ysaa.org), was established in May 2004 and aims at helping to encourage the youth in Yemen to be involved in positive changes for the future of the country.

“Our objective is not for the newsletter just to be read, but for the Yemeni youth inside Yemen to see what the activities of the youth outside the country are and what resources have been given to them,” said Qasem, Editor of Shabab Yemeni and a student at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary.

“We are hoping that the youth in Yemen will become more active and contribute to positive changes for the development of the country.”

Most of the members of his organization are Yemeni college students in Canada and others living in England and Yemen. And one reason Qasem started the newsletter is because half of the Yemeni population is made up of the younger generation which is less than 15 years old.

“We noticed that the Yemeni society is getting younger and that the Yemeni youth are in need of more resources,” he said. “Somebody should help to bring the resources and encourage them to become more active.

“We are involved in filling the gap, such as using ideas, concepts, and ideas of projects that could be carried out by the youth in Yemen. From our experience around the world, we can give what we have learned to the youth to get involved in developing the country.”

One of the sections of the Shabab Yemeni is A Yemeni Abroad which talks about a Yemeni sharing experiences living overseas and includes positive experiences, difficulties one might have to face, and suggestions to other Yemenis planning to spend time in other countries.

Another part of the newsletter, titled Yet Another Youth Organization, which offers information about other youth organizations based in other parts of the world. It focuses on the purpose of the organizations, how to get involved in them and ways to use them as models to start other youth organizations in Yemen.

The Free Zone is analysis, and often constructive criticism, of what is happening in the Arab world, the Muslim world or Yemen itself.

Small Actions ig Impact introduces ideas that are passed on to the younger generation in Yemen that can be projects that require no capital but are able to help the development of the country.

“We have found that there are limits and restraints in Yemen for the youth to generate useful projects,” said Qasem. “Small Action ig Impact focuses on small projects that would not require establishing an entity, and the small projects could break through the restraints and possibly make a big difference in Yemen.”

Qasem said that one of the primary targets of the newsletter, which is released on a monthly basis, is university students. “College students probably have more awareness of what our goal is and a better understanding of issues we are discussing,” he said.

During his visit to Yemen, Qasem, whose family is originally from Taiz and has been studying information system development at the university in Calgary for two-and-a-half years, presented the organization's purpose and goals to students at a number of English language institutes in Sana'a.

Qasem pointed out that since the newsletter is written in English, it has a limited audience. The plan, however, is to recruit additional staff members that can create an Arabic version which can reach out to the youth in Yemen on a larger scale. The newsletter also plans to create its own website and function independently within a year.

Shabab Yemeni has also set a goal to become the number one youth magazine in Yemen and the Middle East.