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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 October 2018

Baby abandoned at birth in Dubai is reunited with mother in the Philippines

Baby girl Shamsa was cared for by officials of the Community Development Authority

Baby Shamsa has been reunited with her mum in the Philippines after a united effort by officials in Dubai. Getty Images
Baby Shamsa has been reunited with her mum in the Philippines after a united effort by officials in Dubai. Getty Images

A baby girl abandoned in Dubai has been reunited with her mother in the Philippines - after a concerted campaign to make her life "brighter".

Shamsa, whose exact age is not known but is believed to be about eight-months-old, has been cared for by officials from the Community Development Authority (CDA) since being found abandoned in Deira last year.

The infant’s name is derived from the word shams that means sun. CDA officials named her hoping that it would be the start of a brighter future for the child.

There are no details about who found the child but she was later taken to Latifa Hospital for an examination as part of the legal procedures in the country.

The CDA worked with the police and court officials to trace the mother.

Shamsa was accompanied to Manila on Friday by an escort provided by the Philippine Consulate in Dubai.

It was only once the mother was arrested and deported to the Philippines recently and her DNA samples taken that the match was confirmed. Details about the cause of the woman’s arrest were not available nor the reasons why she abandoned her child.

“The girl was temporarily called Shamsa which is taken from the word ‘shams’ that means the sun. We wanted to be optimistic that her life would be brighter,” said Abdel Aziz Al Hammadi, chairman of the selection committee for foster families in Dubai and director of the CDA’s family cohesion department.

Officials who interacted with the child described her as a happy, smiling baby.

The name was given to the child to complete identity and passport formalities and can later be changed by the mother, authorities said.

The reason that time was taken to find the mother was because the Filipino woman’s DNA samples were not available with authorities and only captured after her arrest.

“The Alternative Care Team in the CDA dedicated their time to work on the girl's file. It took a lot of meetings and follow-ups and overcoming a variety of challenges. It was successfully accomplished when the girl finally travelled to her mother attended by an escort from the Philippine Consulate,” Mr Al Hammadi said.

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After the baby was released by Latifa Hospital, she was cared for in the Family Village for Orphans, that is part of the Awqaf and Minors' Affairs Foundation, by CDA officials.

They initially looked for a suitable foster family to raise her but then focussed their efforts to unite the mother and child once the DNA tests proved positive.

“This opened the hope that the child could live with her mother and in her natural environment,” Mr Al Hammadi said.

The task to reunify the family required cooperation from the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, Dubai Police and the Public Prosecution to complete the legal and procedural paperwork.

There have been some cases of infants abandoned at birth in the past. In most cases, the mothers are unmarried and abandon their children since they could be sentenced to up to a year in prison for crimes of honour under the UAE Penal Code.

Under UAE law, engaging in consensual sex with anyone other than your spouse and conceiving outside wedlock is a crime.

There have been incidents in which women have been released after four months for good behaviour but this depends on the specifics of each case.