A house full of warmth, the smell of freshly baked cookies, colouring books with the loud voiced of children fighting over the colouring pens, and laughter filling the rooms with enthusiasm and happiness. This is a common dream for most people who hope for a big family and many children, without putting into consideration the main effects of having more than one child.
Although the population’s growth rate affects its financial and social situation, getting married and having many children is a widespread expectation in Egypt, regardless of what might affect their upbringing.
The chairman of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Abo-Bakr El-Gendi said population growth is 52%, according to STATE MEDIA.
This number is double the rate of population growth in developing countries, and four times that of developed countries.
El-Gendi affirmed that the country is in serious need of raising the social and economic rates to no less than three times the current rates. This would fulfil the basic demands of the citizens for health, educational and housing services, and their other basic needs.
The fast growing rates are not being met with high responses from the people.
“I only have two children, but I planning on having more soon,” said art director Abdel-Azim Saafan, 34. “I always dreamed of having eight children, and growing up to find that it would be almost impossible, my dream was reduced to four.”
Saafan believes that children are the joy of life and the greatest gift anyone can ever have. “The only thing that’s keeping me from currently having my dream is the heavy responsibility my wife is bearing by raising the two children, as I’m mostly busy with work.”
Worrying about appropriate financial standards is not his biggest concern: “My salary was doubled when my wife was pregnant with our first baby, then it was re-doubled during the second baby’s pregnancy period as well. It’s all in God’s hands.”
Saafan is not the only person who believes of the beauty of having lots of children.
“I deeply regret having only three children. If I were to go back in time, I would definitely have at least two more,” said Nashwa Mohammed, a staff affairs and financial manager.
Both interviewees confirmed that having a house full of love and purity is there the one and only lasting dream.
“The fast growth of population is not necessarily a crisis, there are a lot of countries with a mass population that manage to be productive, and direct their citizens into development, like China,” said Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, head of a crises and disaster management sector.
Abdel-Rahman sees that it is the role of the country to either utilise the population for development or backwardness.
On the other hand, Samia Khedr, a sociologist, believes that it is both the responsibility of the governments and the people, and sees that the rating indicates that we are heading into a serious crisis that would lead Egypt to be one of the poorest countries in the whole world, regardless of the huge amounts of natural resources it has.
A poor man can manage to raise a child well, but it would be impossible for him to do so with five children, said Khedr. Aside from the responsibility the Egyptian government holds, people should be aware that things cannot all be left in the hands of God, and their minds should work in parallel with their beliefs.
“Recently, the only role Egyptians have been playing in their lives are eating, sleeping and having kids. We ‘re hitting a disaster,” she continued.
Khedr finds that the worst mistake the government is making is not creating enough awareness campaigns for the masses. “For a small period of time, they directed media into showing the disadvantages of having many children, and that the whole society has to pay for it, like in the films ‘Afwah w Araneb’ (Mouths and Rabbits) and ‘Al-Hafeed’ (The Grandson).”
The campaigns include programmes, movies, series and a drama, sending positive and effective messages, and that’s the furthest thing from the content the media produces nowadays, said Khedr.
Also, she sees a problem between the connection of the country and the people. Though it has been providing multiple methods of birth-control, the country has not yet found a way to convince people of using them.
“At least that way, it would reduce the damage of such a disaster that would appear at its worst in 15 years,” Khedr concluded.