Yemeni Children & Toys [Archives:1998/04/Culture]

January 26 1998

In the United States, children go through hundreds of toys just in their first ten years. Toys do not play a major role in Yemeni children’s lives. Some of the parents cannot afford them and others only buy them for special occasions. This problem especially manifests itself during Eid when almost all kids come out on the street to play with their new toys and show off their new clothes, much to the envy of their poorer peers. Here, we take a look at three different families with ranging incomes.
A poor family of 3 girls and 5 boys. The father is the only one who is employed.
Since we have 8 children, we are not able to buy them many toys. If we get a Ramadhan bonus or support from relatives we will buy toys for the children, if there is any left after buying clothes and food. Some of our wealthy relatives give us their broken toys for our children to play with. I usually only buy toys for the youngest child. I buy the cheapest toy that suits the child. The most I ever spent on a toy was YR200. We cannot afford toy prices with our income, they are too expensive. The poor must work hard to provide their children with food and clothes.
A middle-income family of 4 boys. Both mother and father are public servants.
My husband and I save money together so that we can buy them toys for Christmas and Eid. We buy them at least 2 toys each annually. I buy toys for all of them at the same time. We buy educational toys for the oldest and amusing toys to keep the youngest distracted. The most expensive toy I ever bought was YR800, and that was 14 years ago. Toy prices are not suitable to our incomes, since we must save up money to buy toys.
A rich family consisting of 4 boys and 1 girl. The father works in a Gulf country.
I buy toys for my children for different occasions such as birthdays, Christmas, graduations Eid and if they pass exams or if the child wants one while we are shopping. Our children get at least 5 toys annually. If it is the birthday of one of the children, I buy toys for everyone. We prefer toys with educational value, but we sometimes buy pointless toys if they really want it. The most ever spent was YR25,000 for a swing. If you go abroad, you will find new and interesting games and toys but the prices are much higher than the prices in Yemen.
Athena Al-Absy