OP-ED

Creative Female Students Showcase Talents

National Yemen

Creative Female Students Showcase Talents

Asma al-Mohattwari

Creativity is important. It does not only require administrative adoption, upkeep, and provision of all the elements and learning methods it requires. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education does not encourage, or even really care about, creative Yemeni students. However, there are individual efforts made by the teachers themselves. For example, an exhibition at one of the girls’ schools in Sana’a was made by the initiative of secondary school teacher Balqis al-Motaher.

The exhibition is an excellent model for encouraging many young people, especially women, to be distinguished and creative. Al-Motaher says that it was the result of serious work, effort, and ambition by the students. The students came with new and beneficial devices to meet community needs. Their ideas included a flying car, a magnetic train, a solar-powered water pump, and various devices that can be used in homes and farms.

“Through the exhibition we wanted to emphasize that women and girls have innovative minds, ideas, and distinct inventions. Ideas and projects need the recognition and encouragement of community members, as well as civil and governmental institutions.”

The exhibition caused surprise and interest among all visitors, be they parents, social figures, or educational leaders. The project supervisor explained that her students presented some ideas and with the help of their teacher, the team started to collect materials, and step by step, students began to bring their ideas to life.

“The devices are produced from very simple materials that are mostly available in public life. The students produced devices which were made physically, and if the ideas are adopted and implemented by manufacturers companies, they would be a start for large-scale projects and serve the development process.”

Al-Motaher hoped that there will be more efforts to find creativity in the minds of young people, especially girls, because even though women are trained to look for men who are capable to producing and inventing, they can be better than men if they are given the chance.

“In this stage of Yemen’s history, we need minds that can produce, innovate and think to build. We need minds in which we can reflect on the country and take it out of its difficulties. I hope that there will be supporters for these creative minds.”

Al-Motaher warned that even though all work has obstacles, it can be especially destructive if reactions of dismissal come from a creative person’s closest friends and family, and also from wider administration like the school or government.

“In this case, creativity may get destroyed. Also, what frustrates creativity is ignorance, neglect, and the denial of all uniqueness that makes a creative person. This destroys them, makes them restricted, and prevents them from doing anything. The loss is significant for the creative person, and also society in general.”

Al-Motaher’s only wish was that such exhibitions could showcase students’ products for more than a day, and that they had more room.

“In the future, I hope we can supporters who are interested in such activities to provide us a hall, so we can show students products for more than a day, and allow the largest number of visitors to see them.”