The next generation: Where to? [Archives:2005/900/Reportage]

December 5 2005

As years of suffering for the Yemeni people pass one after another, many tend to give hope on themselves, and wonder how the next generation lives will turnout to be. Education is striving like never before in this once mostly illiterate Middle Eastern country. Parents raising their children having the ambitions that one day their children will be successful and live a prosperous life.

Developed donor countries have given a special attention to improve the everyday life in Yemen. Only little of accomplishments have been seen in this country over the past two decades. Comparing Yemen to countries that started their development strategies in the early 70's, you will notice that the majority of those countries out duels Yemen dramatically in almost every aspect of life. Countries like India, Malaysia, and the Gulf States in general, Jordan, and many other countries are only examples to compare with. These countries are now living the success and bounties of their hard work.

In Yemen for example, the government occasionally announces horrific news like the one that mentions that our oil resources are vanishing, and could dry out by as early as ten years. In addition, mentioning hard-hitting news for instance, the shortage of water in the capital Sana'a, while in return does not do enough to solve this phenomenon before its occurance. This in return gives us little hope for seeing a better future for our children, for hope is being destroyed and taken away before even being thought of.

In the early nineties, Yemeni's in general did not expect life to be as difficult as is seen today, where the poverty rate increases on a yearly basis. The latest report of Transparency International mentioning Yemen as one of the eight most corrupted nations, and in the same time poverty rates reaching an unbearable 43% this year. This number is only seen growing for the rich are only getting richer and the poor getting poorer, therefore erasing the middle class from the face of our society. “I just can't believe how sudden my life has changed! It was never this bad, I just can't imagine how the situations for the next generation will end up like”, said Ammar Saleh, a Yemeni living well below the poverty line. “I lost everything. My wife, children, and friends when I couldn't find a job to live of”, he added angrily.

Going back to the topic, many parents have a negative image of the future of their children if the situation continues as is. They use themselves as a good example who when growing past through the great victory of the revolution. They realized then that success has just opened there door. “Using ourselves as examples, we never thought that our life will turn out how it did. I hope this will reflect on our children, for its enough that we have suffered greatly”, said Mohan Nasser, a father of three.

Recently I conducted a survey with middle age teenagers in the capital Sana'a, concerning the issue of the future being brighter. Shockingly, the stats were almost identical as 47% of the surveyed had a negative thought about the future, while 42% had a positive impact for the days that lie ahead.

A little over 10% admitted that only time can tell how the future will turn out to be, and are currently undecided. The following is heartbreaking when you realize that many of the new generation have lost hope even before starting to build a future of any kind. This will definitely have its negative impact on the country in the end.

“We just have to try. Effort is the only thing we possess”, said Samar Ali, a newly registered university student. “At least when we try, we will not have our selves to blame”, she added. Quotes such as Samar's, is what's heard on a usual basis when mixing with teenagers. They want to believe that there is a chance for them, but the corruption they see around them takes them steps in the wrong direction. Situations must to change immediately if a bright future is a priority. If not, expect the next generation to live a life of dreams and fairytales, therefore losing hope for change and delaying a new era of successful Yemeni for at least another generation.