Ramadan

Eid fuels temporary job market for Yemeni youth

By Abu Bakr al-Yamani in Sanaa

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Yemeni women buy nuts from a sidewalk vendor in Sanaa ahead of Eid al-Fitr. [Abu Bakr al-Yamani/Al-Mashareq]

During the final days of Ramadan, demand surges for nuts and Eid al-Fitr clothing in Yemeni markets, creating seasonal jobs for the youth and the unemployed in particular.

Teenager Mohammed al-Qattah sells accessories from a sidewalk spread in Sanaa's al-Balqa market to help his family make money.

"A friend of my father's gave me 20,000 riyals ($80) to buy these goods so I can earn a living, help my family and repay him from the profits," he told Al-Mashareq.

Al-Qattah said he has already repaid his father's friend, and takes advantage of the pre-Eid period every year to try and turn a profit.

Ayman al-Hubeishi, a 15-year-old student, also has a sidewalk spread from which he sells men's underwear, as he does every year with the encouragement of his father.

"I sell men's underwear at cheaper prices than similar products in shopping malls, so they are in demand by customers," he said.

"Yemenis buy raisins and nuts in droves in the periods preceding Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha," said Hisham al-Jaridi, a student who sells these items in al-Safiyah market during those two seasons every year.

"What I earn from this temporary job, which ends on the eve of the Eid, helps me buy Eid clothes for my brothers," he said.

Peak demand for goods

Yemenis' demand for Eid-related food and clothing reaches a peak in late Ramadan, economists told Al-Mashareq.

"The difficult economic conditions faced by most Yemenis have shifted their focus to providing the necessary sustenance," said economist Abdul Jalil Hassan.

"Students and the youth are working these seasonal jobs to cope with these conditions and help their families during this difficult period," he told Al-Mashareq.

Most families are preparing for Eid by buying clothes, nuts and sweets, but the quality of the products they buy varies according to their budget, Hassan added.

Even amid hardship, there has been an increase in spending during Ramadan as there has been disbursement of zakat to the poor, he said.

"The holiday season, being a religious occasion, prompts Yemenis to prepare for it, each according to his financial ability, especially in regard to the purchase of clothes," said Yemeni Consumer Protection Association chairman Fadl Mansour.

There is an abundance of products in the markets, he told Al-Mashareq, noting that the wide variety offers buyers a choice based on their financial ability.

"A positive aspect of the consumer season is the high number of temporary job opportunities that some wait for from year to year," he said.

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