By Asma Al-Mohattwari
Prior to revolution in September 1962, girls did not have the right to learn and go to school. Female education has improved day after day since the revolution and now, even girls in remote areas have the opportunity to enroll in Sana’a University. A major reason that has enabled the attendance of rural women at Sana’a University is the establishment of dormitories. The dormitories at Sana’a University house nearly 500 students and enable them to attend university from far away provinces such as Taiz, Hajja, and Al-Hodeida. The dormitories were built with the support of the State of Kuwait. In their prime, they were 168 rooms stocked and equipped with the best materials. However, support for the dormitories slowly came to a stop during the nineties. Now, the dormitories are decaying and are overcrowded with too many students. The state of the dormitories is well known, and many students are beginning to complain. “Each room should include only two girls but the administration of the housing puts three girls in every room, the room is very small and we can’t even move in it,” one of the residents said. Many of the things students’ require are not available adversely affecting their studies. “Water, electricity and gas cut are shut off constantly. Once water was unavailable for more than three months,” another student said. It’s not just the housing facilities that are bad. Many students report being treated poorly by the housing administration. Salwa, a chemistry student, said that if a student requested to join university housing, she will be treated as if she is a beggar. When an administrator was asked about this issue, she replied by saying that, “housing is very crowded and there is little room so we only accepts girls who are in a real need for housing.” Students responded to the administrator’s answer and dismissed it. Salwa noted, “if you have a walk in the housing suites you will find girls 35 years old or older and they are not enrolled in any university in Sana’a.” Many protests were held in front of the office of the Sana’a University’s president to complain about the cut electricity and water. Sometimes they take their demands into a consideration and sometimes they ignore them, students say. In the last protest they demanded electrical equipment, but they were simply ignored. Amal, a graduate student who lives in the dormitories, said that there are a lot of donors who provide the housing with many things to cover the facilities’ shortfall, but they are not given to the students. “One evening there were many trucks inside the housing yard taking the donations from the basement, when suddenly the girls prevented them and closed the basement. The girls then distributed the donations amongst themselves. The donations included things like washers, refrigerators, and other things that we are in need of,” Amal recalled One student said that there is a partnership between the administration and the university’s head office and use the donations for their own benefit. Unsurprisingly, the students took to protesting again and demanded the resignation of the housing administrator and demanded equal treatment among students in the housing. They also demanded that the bathrooms, kitchens and the studying room be repaired. Until their demands are met, all they can ask is who is responsible for all this?