A study of street children in Yemen
By Abdul-Aziz Oudah
Jan 16, 2007, 17:07
About 5,000 children are forced to live on the streets in four Yemeni governorates, according to the results of the first stage of a new comprehensive survey of street children. This first stage began on December 4th and ended last week. It was carried out by the Supreme Council of Motherhood and Childhood, in cooperation with the Arab Council for Childhood and Development Support in the Yemeni governorates of Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, and Hodeida.
Dr. Fou’ad al-Salahi, a sociology professor at Sana’a University, the head of the team, said that this survey is the largest survey in Yemen of street children. The implementation of the first stage carried was out in Yemen’s four main governorates. The second stage will start next week, and will be carried out in Hadramout, Ibb, Dhamar, and Hajja. The survey initially focused on Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, and Hodeida because they are the most populous. They also draw many people from the countryside to their cities, so there is much internal migration, according to al-Salahi.
The survey aims to create a comprehensive picture of the situation of street children in Yemen. This will hopefully lead to amendments designed to protect these children and to determine the factors associated with street children and their families, and their economic, social, and cultural rights. Al-Salahi said that the team was keen to identify the problems of street children by speaking directly to them, to find out their social status and ages. This information will help services to be put in place to help reduce the number of children on the streets. The first stage was accomplished by a team composed of 20 researchers, four supervisors, and a team leader.
In a related subject Mohammed al-Ahwal, the Yemeni ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said that the number of children arrested during the last year in Saudi reached 900. Ali Saleh Abdullah, the Deputy Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, said that child trafficking across the border subsided recently as a result of the efforts between the two countries. An agreement between Yemen and Saudi Arabia to cooperate in fighting against children trafficking is expected to be signed this week.
Abdullah said that a work program will be signed in 2007 with the Saudi Social Affairs Ministry and Labor Ministry. He said that the program mainly addresses social security, handicapped people, and children in various fields, in addition to the development of private associations’ work in the two countries and coordination of their activities. Saudi Arabia has opened shelters for trafficked children in Mecca, Medina, and Jeddah.
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