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16. December 2011

Yemeni Girls Race In A School Yard © Amnesty International

Yemeni Girls Race In A School Yard

Yemen Kurier 16-12-11

YEMEN: Women Power for the New Democracy

The psychologist Bilqis Jubari takes care of oppressed women who suffer from poverty and violence in Yemen, her home country

By Karoline Krause Kurier, 16.12.2011 Yemen – When a Yemeni woman travels across Europe and brings her husband to press conferences to take care of their two-year-old daughter when she fusses, you can only call this emancipation. Bilqis Jubari, the only female psychologist in Yemen with a PhD, and her husband, the economist Mohammed Al Maitami, want to show that their country has more to offer than Al Qaeda and pirates. This husband and wife team, who are currently visiting Vienna, are actively contributing to change in Yemen. In early 2011, Bilqis opened the first psychological counseling center for the people of Yemen. In this entire war-wracked country, there is only one psychologist per 500,000 inhabitants. But the political crisis, the situation of women – which is one of the worst in the world – oppression, poverty and domestic violence underscore the urgent need for such support. The road to the Center that Bilqis founded is not always an easy one to travel. Many women may only leave the house when accompanied by a male family member. For this reason, Jubari has established a toll-free hotline with the support of Women without Borders’ SAVE Initiative, which people across the entire country can call. (Donations: Women without Borders “Yemen”; Account Nr. 52085371101; BLZ: 12000). Extremist Influence Yemen is regarded as a base for Al Qaeda due to weak government control. Al Maitami says that engagement by the international community will strongly influence the ways in which terrorist organizations will develop in the country. In this critical transition phase, Yemen is vulnerable to external influences. Extremists who are financed by the Gulf States could build schools and mosques, through which they can reach the youth and the poor segment of the population. Investment in jobs, education, and security could prevent the youth from falling prey to the extremists, say Jubari and her husband. The country is currently being governed by a transitional council composed of representatives from the old regime and the opposition. A president will be elected in late February. The president to date, Ali Saleh, has stepped down, but will remain the “honorary president” until the election. Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi is in charge of day-to-day affairs. Saleh has been assured freedom of passage out of the country; he has been accused of ordering forces to shoot on unarmed demonstrators. In late November, Saleh returned to Sana’a from Saudi Arabia.


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