Yemeni youths: Increasing awareness is the best solution to early marriage [Archives:2008/1150/Reportage]

April 28 2008

Hatem Qubati and
Abdullah Al-Riashi
For The Yemen Times

Early marriage has been and remains one of the main topics occupying public opinion in Yemen. This subject also involves non-governmental organizations and national women's organizations, which attempt to highlight the situations and sufferings young girls experience through such marriages.

However, without a law to prevent the spread of this phenomenon, and with increasing poverty in Yemen, which can be heard as an excuse by those fathers who force their daughters to marry, any solutions still seem far off.

Sana'a University students share their thoughts and possible solutions to early marriage in Yemen.

Nabil Ghailan, 24, Faculty of Arts, English Dept.

“In my opinion, the best way to solve [this problem] is to educate parents so that they'll have an idea about marriage and the suitable age to marry their daughters off in healthy way.”

Alia'a Qahtan, 23, Faculty of Languages

“We first must ask ourselves why there's a bad phenomenon like this in our society. The problem is that parents don't know it's a problem, so if there was social awareness about the dangers and hazards of this problem, that would be a good way to solve it.

“Parents should know that girls aren't ready to marry at age 11 or 12 – neither physically, mentally nor psychologically – so social awareness is the first and best solution to this problem.”

Dhafer Mohammed Abduljalil, 22, senior, Faculty of Languages, English Dept.

“I think the best solution to prevent this situation is to give people a general idea about what are the effects and damages resulting from early marriage. If people [parents] knew the effects upon their daughters, they would try to stop marrying them early.”

Nermeen Ma'amoun, 22, Faculty of Arts

“The best solution is [for people] to know the advantages and disadvantages of early marriage.”

Maisa'a Al-Aqil, 22, Faculty of Languages

“I think the [Yemeni] government and Parliament primarily are responsible to solve this social problem because this is how Yemenis think and it's not going to be solved unless the government and Parliament create actual laws to stop this dangerous phenomenon.”

Nafi' Al-Musa'edi, 21, sophomore, Faculty of Languages, Translation Dept.

“The media plays the biggest role in solving this social problem by presenting good awareness programs on television, radio and in newspapers.”

Saif Hamoud Mas'oud, 22, junior Faculty of Arts, English Dept.

“I think the [Yemeni] government should create and increase awareness, especially in rural areas, informing parents about the effects upon girls who marry early.”

Abdulmughni Al-Sabri, 24, graduate, Faculty of Languages, English Dept.

“I think education is the best way to solve all social problems and the key to reducing all bad phenomena like early marriage.”

Ahmed Ali Saleh, 26, senior, Faculty of Languages, English Dept.

“The first responsible party is the government, which should enact strong legislation against those who force their daughters to marry early. The second responsible party is the family itself, which should allow their daughters at least to complete their university education and gain enough knowledge about marriage and the relationship between husband and wife.”

Wafa'a Ghulais, 21, junior, Faculty of Education, English Dept.

“Early marriage is a bad phenomenon in Yemen that has spread in rural areas. I think the responsible party is the government, which should educate the public by broadcasting radio and television reports that early marriage has effects upon and damages girls.”

Ahmed Al-Faqeeh, 24, junior, Faculty of Languages, English Dept.

“The economic system is our nation's the biggest problem, so if that was solved, then all social problems, such as early marriage, would be solved.”

Lura Sasmigha, 24, from Spain

“I suppose that the best solution is education, especially in rural areas where this phenomenon is spreading more than in the cities. So, education and making girls complete their education before marrying is very important in order to teach them how they should care for their children and live their lives in a good way after they marry.”

Wazir Al-Sabri, 22, junior, Faculty of Education, English Dept.

“The best way to solve this problem will come through wise individuals, who should advise families and societies via television programs, informing parents about the problems both partners may face after marrying early.”

Mohammed Saleh Al-Muqri, 22, junior, Faculty of Education, English Dept.

“I think a good way to face this phenomenon is to spread knowledge among fathers, as well as daughters, so that they'll have information and know the disadvantages of this practice.”

Arwa Ahmed Al-Saithi, 19, Faculty of Education

“I think [this problem] can be solved by encouraging girls to complete their education, which will delay marriage temporarily. Then they can be married after completing their education.

“Seeking employment is also a good idea because some parents force their daughters to marry early in order to get money, so if they have good jobs and salaries, their parents won't marry them off early.”