The popular proverb “For, the Prophet’s sake, a daughter and a son,” has often been heard in As-Suwayda over the past few years, in reference to the ideal typical family, as birth-control has become prevalent in the community of As-Suwayda for many reasons, mostly economic.
“I feel embarrassed when my mother asks me why I still have no kids to date. She always says ‘I want to see my granddaughter.’ At first, I was convinced that we should be patient about the idea of having children, at least after I pay off the wedding debts and get rid of the financial burden. However, nowadays, whenever I discuss this topic with my wife, we come to the conclusion that we cannot bear that responsibility, as we can barely secure our minimum needs," said Raja Safadi, an employee who married his co-worker about four years ago, to Rozana.
He added: "The child is like a project that requires funding. Since the first day of pregnancy, the mother needs doctor visits, medicines, tests and clothing. After childbirth, there are many needs for the child and it even becomes necessary to install a fireplace in winter and secure fuel oil, while in the past years we have been obliged to warm up for a few days using blankets to save a little fuel oil."
"I worked as a teacher in a school in the eastern rural villages in As-Suwayda, and at an educational institute in the afternoon. My husband turned to working in mobile phones shop. We have barely been able to secure our needs, and we have often been forced to borrow money. The bigger problem today is that I am pregnant and I will give birth in a few weeks. We could not take the decision to abort the baby, although we were totally against the idea of having another child as long as our situation is not improved... Today, I’m living in a state of anxiety and constant tension whenever I think about how we will manage our life after giving birth to the baby," added Jumana.
Nashat, 40, a university graduate, employee in As-Suwayda and a married man with twin boys, said in an interview with Rozana: "I wish I had a daughter, but due to my financial situation, I can barely secure the needs of my two sons. I cannot even think about having a new baby, as nowadays, parents who want to secure the future of their children must think about it since their birth."
"My brother has four children, two of whom are in university. His family is facing a real crisis, as each of his university children needs at least 35,000 Syrian Pounds a month, in addition to the needs of his two school children. This leads to a failure to meet their needs and their deprivation of opportunities to develop their skills. Therefore, I do not want to fall into the same crisis, as we, the poor, have only our graduation certificates to get a decent job," added Nashat.
It is noteworthy that a report issued in August by the Urban Center in As-Suwayda Governorate showed that about 20,800 families in the governorate had no children, about 23,750 families had one child, while about 34,500 families had two children.
The report also showed that 25,300 families had three children, 10,350 families had four children, while 6,000 families had five or more children. Families with two or less children constituted about 65 percent of the total number of families in the governorate, while families with three or more children make up 35 percent of the total families. The report further indicated that the population growth rate declined from 1.7 to 1.2 between 2011 and 2019.
The average per capita income in Syria’s public or private sectors is about $ 100 to $ 160, according to a study conducted last year by Jusoor for Studies Center.
A study conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics in February revealed that the average estimated expenditure of the Syrian family for 2018 amounted to 325,000 Syrian Pounds a month, equivalent to more than 700 US dollars. This indicates the high poverty level, according to Syrian newspaper Tishreen.
Syrian regime President Bashar al-Assad has recently issued two decrees to increase salaries and wages, with the first including civilians and soldiers and the second including pensioners.
According to the page of the Presidency of the Republic of the Syrian regime, Decree No. 23 of 2019 provides for an increase of 20,000 Syrian Pounds on the monthly salaries and wages of soldiers and civilians, after the integration of the current living compensation with the lump-sum salary basis to be part of it.
As for Legislative Decree No. 24 of 2019, it provides for an increase of 16,000 Syrian Pounds for military and civilian pensioners, also after the addition of living compensation to their pension.