Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Qat chewing increases among Yemeni young girls

Observed by: Mr. Alaa Isam

The practice of chewing Qat in Yemen between men and women an existing-phenomenon found in Yemeni society and even become ingrained in which no one can deny this phenomenon, but a truly amazing is the spread of this phenomenon among young girls and even their command to give an atmosphere unique to Qat sessions attending all alone and with her beautiful hand bag in which she carries shisha and other supplies.

Hanan, a Yemeni girl, at the age of 21 years, believes that this age take a lot from her life by community vision for marriage for girls in Yemen, and she is now a graduate of a nursing schools in Sana’a and is working in a hospital, in spite of the cumbersome work, which requires the presence in the work before the 7 am and leave after 2 pm. Accordingly, she made for herself with other female of her friends in the same age a special world of their own.

“Qat chewing, is one of the happiest moments that, at least from my point of view, I have in my life to spend. It lets me forget a lot of concerns that are perched on my chest if I am alone in my home,” said Hanan.

As she kept on taking, she said that with her elder sister they got out for the same purpose, chewing. “My sister and I always try to find a solution to convince our parents to go out and chew. We just gave them deceptive convincing justification,” Hanan added.

She said that she chew from three to four times a week.

A Yemeni study has warned of the increasing use of Qat among Yemeni women, especially university students. The study showed that approximately 85 per cent of Yemeni women Qat-chewing, most of whom bought the best types of it.

Qat prices starts from about 3 dollars reaching 50 dollars.

Hanan added that the Yemeni women now started to think that this habit is one of their rights, and now a university students in particular, can not find anything wrong with handling of Qat and they think as they chew Qat they practice their rights because the man practices and therefore believes that it is normal.

Dr. Mohammed al-Hadad, a lecturer of social science, attributed this phenomenon to many reasons some of which are the non-existence of other good opportunities to fill the void, the imitation of young to old in families and unemployment which al-Hadad considered as basic serious factor leading young girls and boys to chew.

“Before this period, you will not find girls less than the age of 30 chewing Qat but now it is completely different. Carelessness and lack of parental control at home led to the persistent chewing Qat in addition to the lack of alternatives. Because people tend to form social bonds with others in their societies,” al-Hadad added.

He, furthermore, pointed out that this social phenomenon involves a large segment of people in Yemeni community which no one can deny. “We should take a positive step towards eliminating this phenomenon according to each individual potential in their respective work fields,” he declared. A recent academic study in Yemen confirmed that Qat plant causes a sexual impotence to 80% of men.

The study, which United Press International has a copy from, made by the President of Dhamar University, Ahmed al-Hadrani, stressed that the above mentioned statistics occurred to people who are at the age of 40 and after. He also explained that the study focused on the impact of Qat on the sexuality of women and men.

In the past, mothers or grandmothers are the ones who chew Qat but now it is different. Qat has become at the reach of girls, whether married or not. But it is surprising that there is no denying of this phenomenon or even attempts to reduce it.

“I have been chewing Qat for more than a year,” said Rabab Mohammed, 20, a secretary at a charitable foundation. “I chew Qat once every month. I am just doing this only to change the boring routine of life in addition to make social relations,” Rabab added.

Randa Abdu, 25 a house wife, said she chew Qat when she leaves home to her friends homes and some times with her husband.

“My husband’s work is out of the city which we live in. so when he comes back from travel spending a long time out I chew with him. I ding so only to meet his desires,” she added.

Some chewers of Qat say that Qat brings them the strength and a good memory in order to study well.

Recently, Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC) announced that it completes producing documentary film on the risks of Qat in Yemen for chewers targeting youths. The produced film is in partnership with the Third Ayes Center and in cooperation with the World Bank (WB).

The Chief of the Center, Mustafa Nasser, clarified that the documentary film includes an overview of the most social, mental and health negative effects of Qat on individual and society. The film, in addition, includes a real supported scenes demonstrated with scientific evidence of damaging health.

He, furthermore, added that the film will be displayed in dozens of high schools in the Secretariat in order to lessen the phenomenon of the spread of Qat chewing among Yemeni youths.

The Film scenario and preparation is Mohammed Manna and under the supervision of Hana al-Adimi, the President of Third Eye Centre and Mustafa Nasser, Chairman of SEMC.

But at last, a serious positive step should be taken towards in order to eliminate this phenomenon according to each individual potential in their respective work fields.


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