DUBAI // Although more than 50 people came forward to offer help to the Mwikamba family in Kenya after their sole breadwinner was killed in Dubai, aid has yet to reach them.
Esther Mwikamba, 26, was beaten into a coma outside the Crown Plaza hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road in February. She never recovered consciousness and died a month later.
Her assailant, a 24-year-old Emirati, was sentenced to four years in prison for assault and sexual harassment.
After Esther's family spoke to The National about their plight last month, the Kenyan Welfare Committee said it was flooded by calls. "The support has been overwhelming. We received more than 50 calls from people who want to help the family," said Mike Ogolla, secretary of Kenya Welfare Association.
Initially, the Kenyan Embassy in Abu Dhabi volunteered to act as a go-between and funnel donations to the Mwikamba family in Mombasa, but instead it handed over the responsibility to the Kenya Welfare Association. An embassy official explained: "Regulations are complicated in terms of donations in the UAE."
Mr Ogolla added: "We are not a registered society and cannot collect funds on our own so we passed on the phone number of the mother," he said.
Esther's sister Lucy Wanjiru said they received a few calls but help was yet to materialise. "We are trying to survive, but things are very difficult. My mother is not keeping well," she said.
The family, including Esther's mother, two sisters and a brother, sold everything they could and moved into a single, windowless room in Mombasa to pay for Esther's treatment, repatriation and burial.
Lucy has appealed for any assistance to help them tide over a difficult time. "It's been hard on us ever since Esther passed away. She used to send us money every month but there is no one now."
She says she is ready to relocate to Dubai if someone offers her a job. "I want to work and support my family," she said.
Her mother Hanna was previously employed in Kenya, but she has not been able to do anything since she suffered a stroke in Dubai at Esther's bedside.
Simply getting a day's food has become a challenge for them.
CP Matthew, co-founder of Valley of Love charity organisation which has raised money to repatriate deceased expatriates in the past, agreed the best way to help the Mwikambas was to deal directly with the family.
"There have been warnings issued by the Awqaf department from time to time on this matter," he said.
For Hanna's bank account details, or to offer other forms of help to the family, contact Lucy directly on 00254 71 533 0538